The US Navy Will Power An Entire Fleet With Biofuel Made From Beef Fat

The US Navy Will Power an Entire Fleet With Biofuel Made From Beef Fat

The potential sources for green biofuels never cease to amaze. Now the US Navy is fuelling one fleet with a bizarre cocktail of petroleum and cow fat. The group of ships has been dubbed the PR-friendly "Great Green Fleet", a nod to Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. The vessel group is made up of an aircraft carrier running on nuclear, and escort ships chugging along on a mix of traditional petrol and a biofuel made from beef fat. Next week, they will take to the seas for the first time, departing from San Diego.

Back in 2009, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that he wanted half the Navy's energy coming from non-fossil fuels by 2020. In addition to becoming more eco-friendly, the program will also help cut the American military's dependence on foreign oil. According to Mabus, the 50-50 ratio is still too expensive for now, so the four ships setting out from San Diego will use a mix that's only 10-per cent beef fat fuel and 90-per cent petrol. Further green fuel initiatives will be rolled out throughout 2016, with aircraft and amphibious vehicles also burning biofuels like grade-A bovine juice.

Governments and corporations alike are on the hunt for emissions-cutting biofuels that can be brewed domestically. Microalgae, for example, is being eyed by the US Department of Energy, Japanese startups and international airlines. (In 2011 an algae-powered commercial United flight sent passengers from Chicago to Houston.) Researchers are still trying to figure out ways to get algae fuel costs on par with fossil fuels.

Regardless of how it's done, the US military's move towards green energy is a big deal. The US Department of Defence is the world's biggest consumer of energy, and the Navy accounts for one third of that burn. Biofuels could cut that fuel suck, though, whether they're made from fatty cow juices or slimy green scum.

[Stars and Stripes and US Navy via Associated Press]

Image: AP Photo/Gregory Bull



    78 Millions Americans, 33% of the population is obese.... OMG If America goes to war, they can power the war machine with lyposuctions and then draft them :P

    Ahh old WW2 technology, My whole family ran off of beef fat...

    Beef fat... that is not green at all given how much methane they produce.

      Would they have released any less methane if the navy wasn't using their fat?

    You could hardly call that green. Methane from cows is more harmful to our atmosphere than co2 and their hooves destroy the land they stand on. Anything that has to be burned to create power will never be green. Back to the drawing board boys.

      It's currently a waste product that just gets thrown away in landfill therefore the methane would have been released regardless of what is done with the waste products after the animal is slaughtered. There are 3 parts to being green. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This would come under the reuse heading. They are using what would have been thrown away. It most definitely is green.

        Good point and yes you're right. Reduce,reuse and recycle is the sustainability moto. I actually just learnt that during my cert 3 in telecommunications class yesterday but sustainability/green is a bit murky depending on what you're looking at and at from what angle. They're still burning petrol.

          The only option for a ship of this size other than hydrocarbons is Nuclear power which comes with it's own problems.

      Well then let's get the methane working directly, an additional "cow deck" on the ships, should give them an extra 1% (at least) energy boost AND pepee can feel all good about his savin the planet.

      Ok that's silly, lets murder all the cows, eat their flesh and give the fat to the navy for one last hurrah before we rid the world of domestic animals and all go vegan.

      At the same time we have to burn all our dwellings and nice stuff, because you know energy density, and live only in our 1 square 100m (unit of area equivalent to one hectare) with full self sufficiency, then we can watch gaia heal herself..

      If that is what it will take to "fix" the planet, we all know without "divine intervention" (aka: benevolent dictatorship) it will never happen. Newsflash, humanity with nice stuff "can't" be a carbon neutral affair. Either we need slaves, or carbon leveraging, carbon leveraging is cheaper and avoids the food and housing issue inherent in slavery (ownership is merely a matter of semantics).

      Last edited 23/01/16 2:00 pm

        Ha-ha. That's so funny. You think I want to save the planet. I gotta tell my friends that. They'll piss themselves laughing.

    gee, wouldnt want to be a vegan in the US Navy these days :P
    "We're burning 2,552 dead cows between the flight deck and Guam"

    And meanwhile back in Australia our biggest Biodiesel manufacturer has been placed in administration at least in part due to the woeful lack of leadership and vacillation from our federal government. They would rather pay people to change light bulbs and plant trees than provide any real support to an environmentally friendly, clean and green fuel.

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