US Navy Starts Producing Its Own Biofuels

In April, the US Navy announced that biofuels are now the "new normal" and will be incorporated into all solicitations for jet engine and marine diesel fuels.

As part of that, they are following through on building dedicated biorefineries on-site at facilities around the world, announced in 2012.

Three companies have been awarded contracts to build refineries that can produce over 100 million gallons of military grade fuel starting in 2016-2017 – at a price that’s competitive with petroleum.

"The awards support the Administration’s goals to boost and diversify the domestic fuel supply base, make American warfighters less beholden to volatile oil markets, and strengthen national security," says the Navy.   

"By advancing technologies that reduce our carbon emissions, this multi-agency partnership is demonstrating that by protecting our energy and environmental security, we will enhance our national security as well,"
says Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman. 


The drop-in biofuels will be blended 50/50 with petroleum fuel, which was successfully demonstrated at the controversial Rim of the Pacific demonstration in 2012. At the time, Republicans denounced the program because the blend cost $15 a gallon, but prices have since dropped dramatically. The Navy expects to pay less than $4 a gallon when the biorefineries come online in 2016, while running on fuels that have half the lifecycle emissions.

The Navy’s 2020 goal is to cut petroleum use 50%, source at least that much electricity from renewables and certify at least half its buildings as net-zero energy.

They are also involved in developing new technologies. One produces jet fuel from seawater and removes carbon at the same time.

Companies building the biorefineries are:

Emerald Biofuels: a Gulf Coast refinery will produce 82 million gallons a year from waste fats.

Fulcrum BioEnergy: in Nevada, a 10 million gallon a year refinery will run on municipal solid waste. 

Red Rock Biofuels: in Oregon, biomass from wood and forestry by-products will be used at 12 million gallon a year refinery.  

Read our article, US Navy Says Biofuels Are New Normal.

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