USA — Navy Works to Create Greener Footprint

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2010 — The Navy’s recent test of a river­ine com­mand boat is one step the ser­vice is tak­ing to cre­ate a green­er foot­print.

“It’s not just about nat­ur­al secu­ri­ty, because that’s what most peo­ple think of when they think of going green,” Navy Rear Adm. Philip H. Cul­lom, direc­tor of ener­gy and envi­ron­men­tal readi­ness for the chief of naval oper­a­tions, said dur­ing an Oct. 27 “DODLive” blog­gers round­table. “Our ener­gy pro­gram also strength­ens nation­al secu­ri­ty.”

“Our goal as a navy is to be an ear­ly adopter of new tech­nolo­gies that enhance nation­al secu­ri­ty in an envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able way,” he said. By hav­ing reli­able and abun­dant alter­nate sources of ener­gy, he added, the Navy isn’t con­fined by any one source, such as petro­le­um.

Cul­lom said the sec­re­tary of the Navy set out five aggres­sive ener­gy goals, which include hav­ing 50 per­cent of total Navy Depart­ment ener­gy con­sump­tion come from alter­nate sources by 2020, along with at least 50 per­cent of shore-based ener­gy com­ing from alter­nate sources. The plan also includes reduc­ing petro­le­um use in the non­tac­ti­cal com­mer­cial fleet by 50 per­cent and eval­u­at­ing ener­gy fac­tors.

Cul­lom said one of the ways the Navy can accom­plish these goals is by cre­at­ing a “green” foot­print.

The recent test­ing of the exper­i­men­tal RCB-X river­ine com­mand boat using a 50–50 blend of an algae-based bio­fu­el and petro­le­um was a step in mak­ing this new foot­print, he said.

“By run­ning that RCB-X at its max­i­mum pow­er and through­out that test, that was a Wright Broth­ers moment for the Navy,” he said. “That’s one of many tests that we’ll be doing over the next year to test and cer­ti­fy all of our ships and all of our type-mod­el series that fly off of air­craft car­ri­ers so that we will be able to meet the require­ments for this 2012 ‘great green fleet.’”

Cul­lom added that by going green, the Navy is more com­bat-capa­ble. By using more alter­na­tive fuels, he explained, the warfight­ers are not oblig­at­ed to use one source of ener­gy or one source of fuel.

“The less pow­er we have to pull off the grid makes us more resilient, because we can then be able to sub­sti­tute some por­tions of that with alter­na­tives and be able to con­duct and con­tin­ue our crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture that’s nec­es­sary to do our mis­sion,” he added.

Cul­lom also said the path to become green­er using bio­fu­el isn’t just a Navy effort. Navy offi­cials also are work­ing with the Coast Guard and the Air Force on a cross-func­tion­al bio­fu­els team.

As an ear­ly adopter of green fuels, Cul­lom said, he hopes the Navy and its part­ners can help spur demand in the mar­ket.

“There are chal­lenges asso­ci­at­ed with mar­ket accep­tance,” he said. “But the Navy, through its part of test and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and lead­ing from the front as an ear­ly adopter, we believe sends that def­i­nite and very defin­i­tive mar­ket demand sig­nal to every­one.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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