In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt instructed 16 battleships and a fleet of escort cruisers to travel around the world. Called the Great White Fleet, it was a demonstration of America’s up-and-coming power. Powered by coal, these smoke-belchers spent two years at sea sailing from port to port. They went through a lot of coal, but what if a fleet never had to come in to refuel though?
I might be getting ahead of myself, but I have high hopes. The U.S. Navy has purchased 20,000 gallons of algae fuel from next gen biofuels pioneers, Solazyme, for testing in their ships. That’s a lot of green gas!
I’m a bit of a military history buff, but you don’t have to be a five-star general to know that without fuel, an army isn’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, America relies on oil from countries I wouldn’t exactly call “friendly.” The U.S. Navy wants to get half of its fuel from sources other than oil, and algae makes a lot of sense for the Navy. I am well aware that turning algae into fuel is an intensive process. But I also imagine that down the road, it could streamlined to fit on a large naval vessel, which could theoretically never need to be refueled again, save for driving through an algae bloom.
The Navy bought the fuel from Solazyme, who also delivered 1,500 gallons of algae-based jet fuel for testing. Apparently, the U.S. Navy liked what it saw. Can you tell I am excited about this? Nevermind the military implications… a fleet that never had to refuel would be a tremendous advantage, and it is something that could make its way into commercial shipping as well. I hope to hear about more of this type of stuff down the road. Can our Navy really go green?