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How the Navy’s Incompetence Sank the ‘Green Fleet’

•, By Noah Shachtman
Instead, he declared, the Navy would get half of its fuel and power from clean, alternate sources by 2020. Leading the way would be an aircraft carrier strike group — the ultimate symbol of American naval power — running on nothing but biofuels and other renewables.
Equipping this “Great Green Fleet” wouldn’t be easy, Mabus said. The Navy consumes 1.6 billion gallons of petroleum per year, while advanced biofuels are only produced in the tiniest of quantities — which means they’re insanely expensive, many times the cost of its fossil equivalent. But these were solvable problems, Mabus assured the audience. Navy ingenuity could help overcome any technical hurdles, and the Navy’s weight in the marketplace would drive economies of scale, bringing down the price of biofuel.

Right now I’m told 40 percent is a more realistic goal and even that remains difficult because of the cost and logistics,” (.pdf) he told the assembled troops and civilian researchers, comparing the effort to John F. Kennedy’s race to the moon. “But you know, our Navy and Marine Corps has never backed away from a challenge. With hard work and innovation from everyone in this room …  we can get there. To paraphrase the movie Field of Dreams: if the Navy comes, they will build it.” 

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