US Navy plans Green Fleet
According to the Department of Defense News report, the Defense Department’s total energy costs for fiscal 2006 and 2007 was above $13 billion. In the year 2008, due to soaring rise in oil prices, their department’s energy bill was $20 billion. It is not a surprise when various defense departments are trying to use clean and green energy that will lessen the use of fossil fuel. Even the Pentagon is trying hard to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel. They are trying to develop jet fuels from algae, bacteria and rapeseed. The Pentagon also announced to the American Forces Press Service in June that they are trying to develop newer military vehicles with the use of lighter and stronger titanium. Titanium is better than steel as far as fuel efficiency and safety are concerned.
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus claims that the Navy will take measures to go “green” in the next few years. Mabus informed that the Navy has already manufactured a new diesel-electric hybrid ship in Pascagoula. This ship will be able to lessen the burden of $2 million in fuel costs on one simple trip to San Diego, California. Mabus shared his enthusiasm about the Navy’s growing determination to create more fuel-efficient ships and aircrafts. He also showed the keenness about the implementation of energy-saving policies and the use of fuel from renewable sources. He said, “I think my chances (of arranging green mandates for the Navy) are pretty high… It’s a strategic war-fighting thing. And the big advantage we have is that we build our ships, and we control our bases, and as we move into new energy technologies, we can design them into our ships and our aircraft.”
The United States Navy had its proud moments in “green history” because US Navy had just completed the maiden voyage of the USS Makin Island. The ship is of the WASP-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship. The honor of building the USS Makin Island goes to Northrop Grumman. This ship will be utilized during wartime and peaceful humanitarian support. It was delivered to the Navy on April 16th and the warship is going to be commissioned on October 24th in San Diego. This ship will be spending lots of time off-line engaged in rescue operations during natural disasters like cyclones and tsunamis.
This warship is the first in the world to be powered by a clean and green technology driven engine. This ship is driven by gas turbines and electric motors. This ship will enjoy the distinction of world’s first “green” naval vessel. By using this unique combination in the propulsion system, the Navy expects to save fuel of more than $250 million during its lifespan. The latest advancements in electric battery technology aren’t just being used to power cars to a longer distance at a fast speed but are also being used by massive machines such as the USS Makin Island.
On the official website of the US Navy, their daily news update informs, “We Can Get Underway Faster Than Any Other LHD In The Fleet. In An Emergency, We Can Be Underway Within Two Hours. And It’s Also A Quality Of Life Issue For Our Sailors. They Can Come In The Morning Of Getting Underway And Be Underway Before Lunchtime.”
Maybus accepted that producing the Green Fleet is a daunting undertaking but expressed confidence that innovation and the technology will come through. “The Navy, we have never backed down from a challenge, and we’re not going to back down today,” Maybus claimed.