Norfolk naval base,
where the US Navy
is testing algae as
a fuel source
 
Norfolk, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 15 November 2010 – The United States military is constantly working on the energy issue by preparing for changes in fuel availability, and in the latest development the Navy is experimenting with algae as a fuel source.

Renewableenergyworld.com reports that the Navy has successfully completed tests here on a 49-foot riverine command boat powered by a 50/50 mix of diesel and algae-derived biodiesel.

In the wake of this year’s Joint Operating Environment report noting possible future scarcity of oil, the military is predicting that it may need to have assets that can run on a variety of alternative fuels. This report predicted the possibility that the world’s surplus oil production capacity might be sucked up within two years, resulting in a potential excess demand of nearly 10 million barrels a day within the next five years.

In addition to ships, the Navy’s interest in adding flexible fuel capacity has also led to bio-fuels and coal-derived synthetic fuels to power jet engines.

Military applications add a national security aspect to the basic arguments in favour of bio-fuels as part of a fuel portfolio, says renewableenergyworld.com.

It adds that while initial algae-derived bio-fuels delivered to the military were relatively expensive “’ reportedly US$424 per gallon “’ the price has already fallen significantly as production capacity responds to the increased demand.