USS Higgins Stresses Conservation

Story Number: NNS080312-10Release Date: 3/12/2008 4:01:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gretchen Roth

USS HIGGINS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Higgins (DDG 76) recently placed 7th in the Navywide guided-missile destroyer (DDG) fuel conservation program for the fourth quarter 2007.

The fuel conservation program is designed to promote clean and efficient fuel burning and a healthy competition between the destroyers in the Navy.

"Every DDG has an average burn rate and those who burn under that average are in the running to win the fuel conservation award," said Gas Turbine Mechanic 1st Class (SW) Angelo Lobo, Higgins' "Oil King." "Part of my job is to recommend how to use our engines and when -because if we can complete the ship's mission without using all four engines we will save fuel."

Higgins uses anywhere from one to all four engines for a variety of reasons. If the ship is at General Quarters, sea and anchor detail, or in close quarters or restricted maneuvering, all four engines must be on, essentially using a lot of fuel.

"During the 2007 deployment, Higgins went through the Strait of Malacca four times and the fuel use is [comparable to] that of a car sitting on a jam-packed freeway," Lobo said. "Doing that caused us to use a lot of our fuel."

Higgins' efficiency can be credited to the Sailors who conduct maintenance and ensure the engine is running the best it can to produce cleaner emissions and burn fuel more efficiently.

"Engineering is usually the last bunch of people to leave the ship when we pull in port because we are working on cleaning the engines," said Gas Turbine Mechanic 2nd Class Earl Williams, machinery room technician. "We clean the filters and intakes and go even beyond that by using scrub pads to take away any build up inside the engine. The more you do now, the less you do later."

Lobo said one of the biggest benefits to using less fuel is fewer emissions being put into the atmosphere.

"We do a lot of things to help the environment like using bio-detergents when doing maintenance or using environmentally friendly degreasers," said Williams. "We also constantly purify and test our fuel so that only the best is being sent through the engine reducing the black smoke and harm on the environment."

"The environment is important to me and the Higgins," Lobo said. "We are always working on proper fuel burning to help preserve the environment and to help the Higgins save money."

Higgins will be receiving $33,000 for placing 7th in the fuel conservation program.

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