WASHINGTON, D.C. (NNS) -- The secretary of the navy reached out to prominent industry leaders during a Washington, D.C., summit Jan. 25, in an effort to have them incorporate the use of alternative fuels in their push for a clean economy.
During the Clean Energy Summit, Secretary Ray Mabus began his review of the effects converting the Department of the Navy (DoN) from fossil fuels to alternative fuels will have on the economy on a basic level.
"A clean energy economy supports American workers and creates new jobs," said Mabus.
Mabus continued by trying to increase understanding of the implications of fossil-fuel by discussing our country's dependence on it.
"History has taught us the competition for resources has been one of the fundamental causes of war for centuries," said Mabus.
Mabus said the dependence on fossil fuel continued to produce bad results during the time of war by endangering Sailors and Marines charged with guarding convoys bringing energy to bases and machinery. He urged that the solution to this reliance and resulting war and loss of lives is the utilization of alternative fuels.
He relayed information about DoN flying an F/A-18 with a camelina-based biofuel and a MH-60 Seahawk helicopter on an algae-based biofuel. Mabus said substitutions such as this would reduce the need for altercation caused by limited availability.
"Neither feedstock impacts the food supply," said Mabus. "Camelina can be planted in rotation, and algae – well, it's grown in a pond."
Benefits of alternative fuel extend beyond the abundance of ingredients necessary for their creation. Mabus said that implementing alternative fuels will save the American people money.
"I am very pleased that the cost of these fuels continues to decrease," said Mabus. "As more is produced – and as our demand signal grows, I am confident that price will continue to fall."
Mabus provided a hybrid-electric ship, the USS Makin Island (LHD 8), as an example of alternative fuels resulting in continued savings. During the course of the ship's life, Mabus said it will save up to $250 million at today's fuel prices, and if fuel prices increase, the savings will become greater.
The use of cotton-seed by Marines in Sangi, Afghanistan, was also presented by Mabus as an example of alternative energy at its best. Through this pilot program, Mabus said Marines have reduced the amount of fossil fuel they use by 20 percent. As a consequence, Marines utilize fuel convoys less.
"If this program can be expanded, it has the potential to achieve monetary savings," said Mabus. Even more important than saving money, fuel economy "will improve both the security and combat capability," said Mabus.
He said that increasing the amount of time between refueling ships and aircraft will respectively create more capable units and extend the range of strike missions.
"It's about ensuring the safety and the lives of our troops," said Mabus.
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