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US Navy destroyer completes largest demo of shipboard renewable fuel; 20,000 gallons of 50:50 algal oil/F-76 fuel blend

The US Navy successfully concluded its largest demonstration of shipboard alternative fuel use with the successful arrival of the Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) to Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme. The SDTS is a decommissioned Spruance-class destroyer ex-Paul F. Foster (EDD 964) reconfigured to provide the Navy an at-sea, remotely controlled, engineering test and evaluation platform without the risk to personnel or operational assets.

The ship received approximately 20,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of an algae-derived, hydro-processed algal oil and petroleum F-76 from the Defense Fuel Supply Point at Naval Base Point Loma.

How can we have an impact? We can have an impact as a technology leader, highlighting and demonstrating the viability of biofuels as we are here today. This demo, the largest to date, is a major milestone for us. More than 50 percent of our fuel goes to maritime use. When this ship arrives in Port Hueneme, we will be a giant step closer to powering our Great Green Fleet and demonstrating progress toward a sustainable energy future.

—Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) Jackalyne Pfannenstiel

The ship completed a 17-hour transit to Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme using the 50-50 blend. While EDD 964 has four LM 2500 main propulsion gas turbines and four 501-K17 ship service gas turbine generators, the ship only operated on one LM 2500 and two 501-K17s during the demonstration, so 100 percent of ship’s propulsion power and 50% of service power came from the algal oil/F-76 fuel blend.

Meeting the Secretary of the Navy’s call for a drop-in fuel replacement, no changes were required to the infrastructure of the ship or fueling pier for the SDTS test. The demonstration also marked the only at-sea operational test of alternative fuels in the LM 2500—the engine found in most surface combatants—before the Green Strike Group demonstration in 2012.

From our perspective as the ship’s operators, there was absolutely no difference, whatsoever, in the operation or performance of the ship. The fuel burned just like the traditional fuel we get from the Navy and have been burning for years. We could not tell the difference. The biggest success is that a Navy ship with engines identical to those in commissioned warships operated successfully on an overnight transit with the alternative fuel without a glitch in anything. Operationally, it was absolutely a success.

—Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division’s Mike Wolfe, underway project officer

The alternative fuels effort supports the Navy’s overall energy strategy to increase energy security and safeguard the environment. Recent and upcoming maritime vehicle alternative fuel testing include ongoing Yard Patrol boat demonstration at Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and a Landing Craft, Air-Cushioned vessel demonstration scheduled for early December at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Panama City, Fla.



quite an endorsement


Navy is a convincing supporter of alternatives and demonstrates vision that other branches of government have yet to adopt.


This positive Navy approach to alternate fuel is surprising.

Meanwhile, the Army pays no-bid contractors $100s a gallon to move fuel a few hundred miles inland.

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