I did a post a few days back about Paul F. Foster, the US Navy’s experimental ship and how it’s been used to successfully demonstrate the ability to run on bio-fuels for an extended period.
This morning, CDR Salamander has an excellent post about the US Navy’s long-term plans for developing and using Bio=Fuels for the fleet.
That piece is here: Go read it all, and if you don’t have CDR Salamander on your blog roll, you ought to.
I never really got all that worked up about the quasi-political “Green Navy” pet project by the SECNAV. Afterall, I like concept demonstrations on a small scale to try things out. Bio-diesel isn’t a new concept for anyone.
The Navy seemed a little silly getting all worked up about it – kind of like the teenager who thinks they discovered s3x – but that is OK; I gave us the benefit of the doubt as I have a bit of a weakness for the Knight-Errant vibe of it all.
That was then; this is now.
We have huge problems with our budget. We are impacting the lives of thousands of our Sailors because we claim to be in a money crunch. In times like these, any normal organization has to take a serious look at where it is spending its money. You have to get rid of most all “fun to have” and get rid of or scale back the balance of “nice to have.”
The Navy’s experiment with bio-diesel was interesting in a way – behind the technology curve and a bit blinkered – but worth a demonstration just to confirm that military systems can do the same thing civilian systems … silly, but OK.
Now, I’m afraid, it is out of control. It has become a vanity project, tone-death to the financial crunch that the actual operational side of the military is under. It just jumped the cost-benefit shark.
For the record, AW1 Tim is not at all opposed to the US Navy taking the lead in new fuels, new technology. If we can do it well, and do it for the same or less than current fuels/tech, then have at it, as long as their is a stable logistical tail and source for it.
What I AM opposed to ios the US Navy being used as a petri dish for ever social welfare/engineering/tech/whatever experiment that some congress critter or administration hack gets up their skirt.
As the good CDR rightly points out, these are times of austerity, which is amazingly naive and terrifying given that we are in a war. A real honest-to-goodness shooting war.
I am glad our Navy can do this, in one sense, because it totally pisses off the greenies and causes no small amount of hand=wringing when the Navy actually does what they are only preaching. For example, the MV Esperanza, flagship & showboat of Green Peace, still runs on fossil fuels, despite all their own “green” energy experimentations.