In a move the service says is part of its strategy to float a “Green Fleet” by 2016, the US Navy demoed for media today a boat that runs — in part — on algae.
The so-called Riverine Command Boat — Experimental, or RCB-X, runs its engines on 50 percent “algae-based” fuel and 50 percent F-76 diesel fuel.
From a strategic perspective, we are reducing reliance on fossil fuels from unstable locations. Tactically, efficient use of energy resources extends our combat range and use of non-petroleum fuels assures multiple supplies are available.
The RCB-X has a total of 1,700 horsepower with its engines and is manned by four crew. It’s been operational since at least June but the first alternative fuel version was tested in October.
According to SecNav Mabus, the RCB-X is the latest in a host of green fuel initiatives for the service…
I am excited about what we’ve done with biofuels, because I think this has the potential to make a big, long-term dent in our fossil fuel usage,” said Mabus. “We conducted a supersonic flight of the Green Hornet in the spring on a 50–50 blend of camelina-based biofuel and JP-5. Biofuel testing has continued, and last week the first operational test of an algae-based biofuel was conducted on a Riverine Combat Boat (RCB-X) in Hampton Roads. In both cases, for the Green Hornet and the RCB-X, the engines didn’t know the difference.
Seems like something that makes sense to me for a service that consumes a huge amount of fossil fuels. But the Navy’s goal to have an entire strike group fueled by “green blends” deployed by 2016 (they’re calling it the Great Green Fleet) smacks of over confidence.
But hey, at least someone’s trying to save the planet, nevermind the organization doing it has enough firepower to get pretty close to destroying it…