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By Robert Rapier on Oct 28, 2010 with 19 responses

The U.S. Navy and Biofuels – Part II

In Part I of my recent interview with Tom Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Navy (Energy), we covered the nature of what the Navy is trying to achieve (and why) with respect to incorporating renewable energy into their operations. Part II begins with a discussion of why coal-to-liquids (CTL) is presently off-limits, and why GTL may be as well. Incidentally, I mention Shell’s Bintulu GTL facility in Malaysia below. I have just spent my entire morning inside their facility, and will have a report up on that visit next week.

The editor of Consumer Energy Report, Sam Avro, joined me in this interview and our questions below will be denoted as “RR” or “SA”. Mr. Hicks’ responses are “TH”. (Links to: Part I, Part II, Part III)

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The Secunda CTL facility in South Africa is the largest in the world, with a production capacity of 160,000 barrels per day.

RR: When I look around the world at synthetic fuel facilities, the only ones that are proven to be able to run at tens of thousands of barrels per day are the coal-to-liquids (CTL) or gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants. South Africa is running CTL at that scale; Sasol’s Secunda facility produces 160,000 bbl/day. I think Shell’s GTL plant in Bintulu is at 15,000 barrels per day and their Pearl GTL project in Qatar is planned for 140,000 bbl/day. So we know that those can operate at large scale, but they are obviously not renewable. So what’s your view on those? Are you open to working with CTL?

TH: Without addressing that specifically, let me give you something that is a federal requirement. As we look to replace petroleum; fossil fuels, from our usage, I think it’s within EISA 2007 (Energy Independence and Security Act) is a provision called Section 526. What it says in general is that any petroleum fuel that we replace with an alternative fuel, must have equal to or lower overall greenhouse gas emissions. Generally speaking, CTL falls on the wrong side of that. There are some notions that CTL combined with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – that may have some promise. But we haven’t built any CCS sites in this country, so at this point it is probably more theoretical until those get built. That’s a guidepost for us; we have to comply with it. We can’t arbitrarily decide what’s green and what’s not. So meeting Section 526 is on the forefront of our minds. And just to be clear, it is DLA Energy that is required to meet it; it is their burden to bear.

SA: That would seem to conflict a bit with a statement (see here) I read the other day from the Chief of Naval Operations, who said “It’s more than simply how green we can be seen; it really is an operational issue for us…. The Green Hornet and the path to a green fleet are not public relation gimmicks.” So I am just wondering, why is it the Navy’s responsibility in reducing their dependence on petroleum – which is obviously an operational issue; a strategic issue; why do they at the same time have to ensure that they are becoming green? I am all for it, but I just wonder if they have something like CTL that can reduce our dependence on foreign oil – why wouldn’t they be able to go for that?

TH: It’s not a choice. This is a federal requirement that we have that we meet Section 526. And CTL as they are currently being delivered; my understanding is that they don’t fall on the right side of the line in terms of being equal to or less in terms of their overall greenhouse gas emissions. That’s it primarily, but there are also issues of wanting to be good environmental stewards and have or created unintended consequences by solving one problem and creating another.

SA: So basically you are saying that it is an outside requirement, where the Navy’s main focus is to reduce their petroleum usage, but obviously they are bound by federal law requirements that may prohibit them from reducing it in certain cases where it won’t be seen as becoming greener, as is the case with CTL.

TH: The objective in this, we don’t want to replace a fossil fuel with another fuel that has worse environmental attributes. Period. Fortunately, that’s what Section 526 tells us, but it’s what we believe as well; it’s the right thing to do. That’s not a direct comment on CTL, we are hearing of applications where CTL with other technologies can get across that threshold, and thus they would be viable considerations for DLA to purchase.

RR: In my position as CTO, I hear pitches from people every week. Some are credible, some are half-baked, and some violate the laws of physics. So I spend a lot of time on due diligence. I would imagine that you get many more; people must be knocking on your door all the time. How do you filter out the credible from the non-credible? I think Solazyme had an interesting story; they said they were able to deliver a barrel of fuel for you to test. Is that the metric; tell people to go produce some fuel and then you will talk to them?

TH: Well, I think that one worked in that case. For me, there is a range of things. We do get a fair amount. Fortunately, we have the federal procurement process that talks about how we go about doing these types of engagements. So we can’t get too far along. But in terms of just evaluating them, if it’s an area I am not quite sure of, I will send it over to our Office of Naval Research (ONR) and have them take a look at it. They may have already looked at it in the past, they may be working on it with another company, or it may be something they have looked at and said “it’s just not going to work for the Navy.” I usually rely on the ONR quite a bit, especially on some of the newer technologies that aren’t common in the public domain.

RR: Is your budget that is devoted to biofuel development public information? Is that something you can share?

TH: It is, it is in the president’s budget, PB11, but honestly I couldn’t tell you what that number is off the top of my head. We have some people who could. Obviously the FY12 budget is before Congress and is pre-decisional at this point, so there is no point in commenting on that. I can say this; what’s in FY11 budget, and what’s proposed for FY12 and beyond supports the testing and certification program and will support the sailing of the Great Green Fleet and local ops in 2012 and the deployment in 2016. So that’s all programmed in. Again, that’s all pre-decisional and hasn’t been approved, but as planned those things are covered.

RR: If you look at the prices that have been paid, clearly much higher than fossil prices. Solazyme’s CEO clarified that some of that was for R&D. I don’t know about the camelina deal; it looked to be $67.50 a gallon there. Maybe that’s because nobody is really producing camelina; I don’t know. But what is your long-term view on biofuel prices? Do you expect them to become competitive with current oil prices (presently $80/bbl)?

TH: Well, I think they have to get competitive with oil prices. I would choose not to use the word current, because today we are looking at $2.85 a gallon, and what did we pay three years ago? It’s very cyclical; it changes frequently, but I think long-term it has to be competitive with fuel prices. The quantities we are buying today, there’s R&D that goes into that, there’s a lot of testing and certification that we are buying, and these are very small batches. We purchase as the Navy roughly 32 million barrels of fuel per year, so that’s 1.2 or 1.3 billion gallons of fuel, and the quantities you are talking about here are pretty small; 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 gallons, which is pretty small relative to that. And to an extent, you pay for that lack of economy of scale at this point. But again, it’s working toward a testing and certification program, we’re not purchasing those fuels for operational use. I think that’s a really important thing to consider.

RR: So those products they are delivering, those are finished products? For instance, they are doing the hydrocracking and refining to turn them into JP-5, for instance?

TH: I believe that what we get is the mix; the 50:50 blend; 50% algae-based or camelina-based plus JP-5 or F-76 as the case may be.

RR: Besides algae and camelina, which have been pretty public, are there other oil-based crops that you are looking at that people have been able to supply for testing?

TH: I will probably have to defer to someone down at our testing facility to tell you which ones they are looking at. But I know from a feedstock point of view – and I don’t know if these discussions have resulted in us testing the fuel – but there are discussions around jatropha, around bagasse, maybe some sugarcane and some others that seem to have the right environmental attributes. And again, going to the Section 526 compliance piece would be a big part of that.

RR: When you mention bagasse, I presume you are talking about producing ethanol? I guess you could go gasification and produce Fischer-Tropsch liquids. But are you also looking at gasoline replacements, or are you strictly looking for diesel and jet replacements?

TH: Are you talking specifically for our commercial vehicle fleet?

RR: Yes.

TH: So there we have about 50,000 vehicles in our fleet and we have a churn rate of about 10,000 vehicles per year; we buy and lease all of our vehicles through GSA (General Services Administration) and we return about 10,000 per year back to them. As of today, 35% of the fleet is alternative fuel-capable; so they can take B20, E85; it varies obviously by vehicle type. We have CNG, we have a number of all-electric vehicles that we are pilot-testing; even some hydrogen ones as well. And certainly we have flex-fuel and hybrid electrics, and so we have a wide range of different ones. Our goals there are to reduce our petroleum usage by 50% by 2015. From 2003 to 2009 we reduced it by over 30%, and so we are going to go another 50% beyond that. And we are going to do it by purchasing and leasing alternative fuel vehicles through GSA.

RR: So those vehicles you mentioned, do CNG and hydrogen meet Section 526? I think CNG would have a lower greenhouse gas footprint, but I am not sure hydrogen would in its current configuration where it is produced mostly from natural gas.

TH: In a pilot effort, it is more about testing the capabilities of it. Longer term, we still have to go through the compliance path to make sure the overall environmental attributes of that fuel is better tha the fuel it is replacing. With hydrogen, it depends on how you make it. That can obviously play into that.

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Part III, the concluding installment, will pick up by discussing the advantages of using fuel produced near the point of use. One statistic that was provided was that for every 24 fuel convoys that we bring into the theater, there is one casualty.

  1. By perry on October 28, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I’ve seen the claim that CTL emits twice the greenhouse gasses that just burning the coal would. If that’s true, it’s never going to get off the ground in the US. I’m surprised he didn’t mention butanol. The navy did a lot of work on cellulosic butanol. You can make jet fuel, JP5 and JP8, as well as straight diesel with it.

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  2. By paul-n on October 28, 2010 at 5:31 am

    So the Navy (and all federal agencies) has to follow a government directive, that the rest of the country does not, that any fossil fuel replacement, must have equal or lower GHG’s than oil.

    Section 526 is almost all about Canadian oilsands, (a good overview of the industry, actually) which can’t be used by the military because they are more GHG intense.  The document goes on show how they  are an increasing part of the US supply, and how they are increasingly blended with conventional oil products, which makes some suppliers ineligible for the military.  

     

    While having the military not use higher GHG fuels may be a noble goal, I don’t really see the point in holding the military to a standard that the rest of the country does not have to meet.

     

    If there was to be a widespread conflict, and/or a middle east oil embargo on the US, Canadian oilsands represents no only the closest and most stable supplier, but also the greatest potential for an Alaska Highway type of effort for a wartime scale up of production.  In a ME oil embargo/wide conflict, would the military really be held to this GHG standard, if it started to impact their operational ability? Surely if it was a choice between flying the planes on oilsands fuel, or not fly at all, they would be flying on oilsands?


    And if the government is really concerned about GHG’s, it would only need to replace 1500MW of old coal fired electricity plants with nukes, to offset ALL of the Navy’s oil use, and then spare the Navy the headache of trying to not buy oilsands oil, or having to buy expensive biofuels.

    Or, an increase in the mileage of the US gasoline vehicle fleet from 20.0 to 20.2 mpg would save more oil than the Navy’s entire annual oil usage.  The Navy has already reduced their vehicle petroleum use by 30%, surely the rest of the country can manage 1% for the Navy?

    Not being from a (US) military background, I’ll be interested to hear the opinions of those that are on this.   It seems to me the people of the military are already asked to do more, and risk more, than the rest of the country, so why saddle them with a GHG standard that the rest of the country does not have to meet?

    The military is there for the primarily for the protection of the country and the people.  If the government truly believes that GHG’s are important enough to change the way the military operates, then the government,  and the people, might do the military a favour by using less oil in the first place. That would make the military’s job easier in more ways than just worrying about the carbon footprint of their fuels  

     

     

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  3. By Wendell Mercantile on October 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I will probably have to defer to someone down at our testing facility to tell you which ones they are looking at. But I know from a feedstock point of view – and I don’t know if these discussions have resulted in us testing the fuel – but there are discussions around jatropha, around bagasse, maybe some sugarcane and some others that seem to have the right environmental attributes.

    Have to defer to someone down at the testing facility? I’m disappointed. This is the guy who is supposed to be in charge and leading the program?

    Certainly not on top of the situation as Admiral Rickover was. (By the way Kit, I agree, Admiral Rickover was a great American.)

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  4. By OD on October 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I thought people were saying on the other board, that the Air Force was testing CTL. That seems to be against the ‘rules’ from this article. Which is it?

    I very much agree with all of what Paul said. This is a matter of national security, and I sure hope we don’t sit on our hands if a crisis does arise because of GHGs. I can guarantee the other side would not give 2 hoots about it.

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  5. By Wendell Mercantile on October 28, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Without addressing that specifically, let me give you something that is a federal requirement. As we look to replace petroleum; fossil fuels, from our usage, I think it’s within EISA 2007 (Energy Independence and Security Act) is a provision called Section 526. What it says in general is that any petroleum fuel that we replace with an alternative fuel, must have equal to or lower overall greenhouse gas emissions.

    Again Deputy Assistant Secretary Harris “can’t be specific.” What exactly are we paying him for if he can’t be specific?

    I hope Deputy Assistant Secretary Harris and the Navy realize it is also a “Federal requirement” that the Navy defend the country and provide for national security. If it ever comes down to a choice between national security or greenhouse gas emissions, the Navy and Secretary Harris had better get their priorities straight.

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  6. By rrapier on October 28, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I hope Deputy Assistant Secretary Harris and the Navy realize it is also a “Federal requirement” that the Navy defend the country and provide for national security.

    I think he is just saying “Look, we have to abide by the law. Section 526 is the law.” I do think Sam asked the right question when he asked “Why is that the Navy’s problem?” In a time of national emergency, we will toss 526 pretty quickly. But you can’t gear up a CTL program overnight.

    By the way, I have had a really good trip to Malaysia so far, but the Internet here has been atrocious. It feels like dial-up.

    RR

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  7. By rrapier on October 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

    OD said:

    I can guarantee the other side would not give 2 hoots about it.


     

    We discussed this a lot today. One of my hosts said “China’s advantage is that they don’t have moral qualms about doing certain things.” An example of that is using palm oil. I spoke to a grower here who said “So, Europe won’t buy my palm oil? China will buy everything I have. I don’t have to give them any certificates.” And I think that’s the way it will go; we will try to do things ethically and environmentally responsibily, and China will do what they feel they have to do.” While we try to leave our coal in the ground, they will exploit theirs to the fullest.

    Perhaps some of you saw this today?

    China Claims Supercomputer Crown

    RR

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  8. By Wendell Mercantile on October 28, 2010 at 11:51 am

    In a time of national emergency, we will toss 526 pretty quickly. But you can’t gear up a CTL program overnight.

    RR~

    I agree. When the crunch comes, no one will have any qualms about CTL. It it’s a choice on leaving the Navy’s non-nuclear ships in port because they don’t have fuel, or turning coal into fuel, the ships will sail. If it ever becomes a choice of not having motor fuel to get to work and giving up the freedom of the road, or turning coal into fuel, Americans will vote for fuel.

    But as you said, we can’t do it overnight. There has to be a plan, process, and most importantly, the infrastructure in place to do it quickly when the time comes. However, none of that will happen as long as politics are involved and we are $14 trillion in debt.

    An example of that is using palm oil. I spoke to a grower

    Looking forward to your report on the Indonesian oil palm plantations.

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  9. By perry on October 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    What’s wrong with WTL? We can make methanol from wood, and can make gas and diesel from methanol. Sure, it’s got to be more expensive than the already costly GTL or CTL processes, but it’s greener, and renewable. Wood and wood waste can be found virtually anywhere in the world.

    Transported fuel is a huge expense for the military. A fuel that could be made on location anywhere in the world for $6 a gallon might have a cost advantage over $3 diesel that has to be trucked through Pakistan. If not WTL, there’s always wood to butanol, which can be converted to virtually any fuel desired. The Navy has done pioneering work in this area. I hope this guy goes into detail in the next segment.

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  10. By Wendell Mercantile on October 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    What’s wrong with WTL?

    Perry~

    Steamboats on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at one time used wood for their sole source of thermal energy. Do you realize what a problem it was in the 1800s to keep those relatively small boats running up and down those two rivers burning wood*? And you want to scale that up to power a frigate, destroyer, or amphibious assault carrier?

    Although perhaps Deputy Assistant Secretary Harris would consider converting the Navy’s fleet to pellet burners. ;-)

    _________________
    * I realize you proposed making liquid fuels from wood, but because of the inefficiency of the conversion process, that would take even more wood than burning it directly.

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  11. By perry on October 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I agree that using trees for liquid fuel would be foolish and shortsighted Wendell. But, wood waste can be found anywhere. Even in forests. Butanol can even be made from used newspapers. There probably isn’t enough wood and paper waste to replace oil. But, the military only needs 300,000 bpd.

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  12. By paul-n on October 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    But, the military only needs 300,000 bpd.

    And that is only 6% of current domestic oil production.  

    By far the easiest way to supply the military is for everyone else to use a little less, and, if need be, make their own alternative fuels.  

     

    An “in the field” BTL system would probably not be that simple to do.  Worse still, it would be about as “high value” a target as you could get.  If they had one in Afghanistan now, what are they chances it would top of the list to be the target of rocket attacks?

    We’ll see what they have to say on that sort of thing on part 3.

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  13. By Kit P on October 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    “Not being from a (US) military background, I’ll be interested to hear the opinions of those that are on this.”

     

    People in the US military are used to being held to higher standards long before some one started worrying about ghg. It has something to do with the preponderance of things that go boom.

     

    One of my navy jobs was supervising refueling helicopters that hovered above the ship while we were going at 12 knots.  Day or night good weather or bad!  My nuke surface ship was a favorite helicopter pilots because nukes had a higher standard for JP-5 because it was nuclear safety related.  When we ran low on JP-5, we would go over to the nuke carrier (a big JP-5 tanker) and refuel underway.  On one occasion, flight ops on the carrier continued.  I am worried about a fire from venting tanks while fighter jets are landing next door.  Much closer than I ever wanted to be to a fighter jet while it is moving!  

     

    Life aboard ship is somewhat Spartan as it is.  There are navy showers aboard ship and Hollywood showers that you take at home.  Conservation is a necessity especially if you have to find a source of JP-5 in the middle of the ocean.   

     

    However, once the oil is in the ship’s tanks sailors are only concerned about quality not the source of oil.  While Tom Hicks was careful to dance around the ‘nuclear’ word; if the JP-5 for the emergency diesels comes from camellia (or other renewable energy source), it will have to meet NAVSEA-08 standards.  The ‘A-gang’ and ‘oil king’ will test and maintain the JP-5.  If the emergency diesels ever fail to start because of bad fuel, the captain, XO, and engineering officer will find themselves at a permanent desk job.

     

    What Tom Hicks is saying is that alternate sources of will be a burden to sailors at sea.  Most of the energy reductions are for civilians in the public works department.

     

    “Transported fuel is a huge expense for the military.”

     

    Not so much Perry.  If oil was expensive and personnel were cheap; all our ships would be nuclear.  That is kind of the issue.  When you live in close quarters, things like hot showers and air conditioning make things a lot more bearable.  Keep your personnel happy!

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  14. By Wendell Mercantile on October 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Meanwhile, the Air Force presses ahead with their biofuel tests: F-15E Strike Eagle Flies On An Environmentally-Friendly, Biomass-Derived Fuel

    One would think that an Air Force jet fighter and Navy jet fighter would fly the same on biofuel. Why are the Navy and Air Force doing separate tests? A turbo-jet engine is a turbo-jet engine, whether in an Air Force or Navy fighter, or as a turbine engine in an Army helicopter.

    ——————————————-
    By the way Kit: The correct term is “jet fighter” not “fighter jet.” Air Force and Nay pilots fly fighters. “Jet” is an adjective describing what kind of fighter. I’ve never heard a fellow fighter pilot describe his airplane as a “fighter jet,” it’s always “jet fighter.” I know you probably picked up “fighter jet” from the media, but they always get it wrong.

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  15. By Kit P on October 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    “One would think that an Air Force jet fighter and Navy jet fighter would fly the same on biofuel.”

     

    I think there was a reason my dad called it the air farce, a paramilitary organization similar to the boy scouts.

     

    It has been a while but the fuel I am familiar with is JP5.

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP-5

     

    “for use in aircraft stationed aboard aircraft carriers, where the risk from fire is particularly great.”

    …has a high flash point (min. 60 °C or 140 °F)

    JP-8 has a flash point of 38 °C (100 °F),”

     

    In a marine environment, having a high flash point is very important to prevent explosions in confined spaces.  

     

    In the context of having one fuel, let me explain the theory of a carrier group anti-submarine warfare (ASW).  The nuke super carrier is a high value target for subs.  Escort ships deploy at various distances around the carrier for protection. There ships are generally have gas turbine propulsion.    Turboprop anti-submarine surveillance aircraft patrol out from the carrier hundreds of miles.  Helicopters are also very good at the ASW mission because they can hover on top of a sub that is trying to go slow and hide.  Rather than go back to the carrier, the helicopters can be refueled by escort ships.

     

    JP-5 is also used in diesel generators and ship’s boats.  It is important that ships all use the same fuel.   If a crisis occurs some place in the world the whole kit-in-kabutal (carrier battle group) head off at high speed.  Although carriers are nukes, escorts have to be refueled.  The navy has a plan to deploy rapidly while protecting the carriers on the way.  

     

    My primary mission was avoiding carrier onboard delivery (COD).  Came close once but we had to make an emergency landing on a resort island instead of a small little ship.  

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  16. By Wendell Mercantile on October 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I think there was a reason my dad called it the air farce, a paramilitary organization similar to the boy scouts.

    Kit P.

    You don’t want to hear what we called the Navy, although we always had the greatest admiration for Naval aviators. I was in squadrons where we had Navy pilots serving inter-service exchange tours — they were all extremely competent and highly professional. All around good guys.

    I take your point about the dangers of fuel in a ship at sea. During WW II when Navy airplanes had piston engines that used high octane AvGas, an aircraft carrier was one of the most dangerous places on earth. The Navy was extremely happy when they no longer had to carry AvGas on their ships, as was the Army once they had transitioned away from tanks, trucks, and other vehicles that used gasoline.

    While I was flying in the Air Force, our predominate fuel was JP4 which was gasoline based. In the 1990s the Air Force switched to JP8 which is kerosene based. The Navy’s JP5 and JP8 are very similar, and both have higher flash points than JP4. (The SR-71 used JP7, a fuel with a very high flash point because of the special conditions under which the SR-71 flew and because the skin of the aircraft got very hot. They didn’t want fuel from a leak touching the hot aircraft skin and bursting into flame. JP7 was so hard to ignite, that if you drop a lighted match into a can of it, the match would go out.)

    One of the advantages of turbine engines is that they can use almost any liquid that burns — as long as the the fuel control is adjusted properly. Military fuels JP4, JP5, JP8, and civilian Jet A all work equally well in jet engines.

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  17. By Kit P on October 29, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    “You don’t want to
    hear what we called the Navy,”

     

    We called ourselves
    targets. While we greatly overestimated the USSR, anti-ship weapons
    had advanced faster than defenses. That coupled with aluminum
    superstructures that can catch fire was a scary scenario.

     

    USS Belknap (CG-26)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U…..28CG-26%29

     

    HMS Sheffield

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H….._%28D80%29

     

    USS Forrestal was
    called the Forrest Fire but not when landing a C-130 .

     

    Anyhow, enough can
    go wrong that that testing new sources of fuel sounds very
    reasonable.

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  18. By russ-finley on October 29, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

     But you can’t gear up a CTL program overnight.


     

    I don’t see why not. The Nazis did it.

     

    As for the rest …what Paul said.

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  19. By carbonbridge on October 30, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Tom Hicks/Navy said:

    TH: It’s not a choice. This is a federal requirement that we have that we meet Section 526. And CTL as they are currently being delivered; my understanding is that they don’t fall on the right side of the line in terms of being equal to or less in terms of their overall greenhouse gas emissions…

    …I usually rely on the ONR quite a bit, especially on some of the newer technologies that aren’t common in the public domain….

    …As of today, 35% of the fleet is alternative fuel-capable; so they can take B20, E85; it varies obviously by vehicle type.  Our goals there are to reduce our petroleum usage by 50% by 2015.

    I’m coming into this discussion rather late and like others, look forward to the next, third section of this very interesting interview.  RR and Sam, thanks for taking the time and effort to pursue this dialog with the Navy’s representative “TH” and publically share with readers.

    Claims that CTL emits twice the greenhouse gasses as coal combustion are true.  Hitler-version Fischer-Tropsch synthetic float-on-water oils produced from coal gasification are very clean combusting as well as highly expensive and syndiesel, synjet or syngasoline typically exhibit extra large comparative CO2 footprints.  This expanded CO2 footprint isn’t because of the synthetic oil’s combustion cycle, — it is an extra large CO2 load which is offgassed from converting mid-stream CO & H2 synthesis gas into hydrogen which is used for hydrocracking the long chained paraffin waxes down into shorter molecules.  SynDiesel produces x amount of extra CO2.  Shorter-chained SynJet produces 2x extra CO2.  And much shorter SynGasoline produces from 3x to 4x extra CO2 – all because of hydrocracking the 40 to 60 carbon chains of paraffin.

    The Navy and others are seemingly not aware of CTL and GTL technologies on the forefront which don’t emit CO2 and can also gobble CO2 as additional feedstocks OR gasification systems which don’t have smokestacks and can totally recycle CO2, unreacted methane, ethane and ethylene liquids which occur as about 10% of the total output when the goal is to create 100% volumes of CO & H2 mid-stream synthesis gas.  

    My point is not to angle this discussion off-topic — but instead to point out that Section 526 rules specifying that alternative fuels for the military create NO larger emission footprints than comparable petroleum-based fuels — may see some surprising new offerings.  Stay tuned…

    –Mark

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