Last week the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division’s Self Defense Test Ship completed final-phase testing of a 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel fuel, called ReadiDiesel. Because it’s a drop-in replacement fuel, it doesn’t require any equipment modifications or operational modifications by the crew, making it easier to switch from standard marine diesel to biofuel.
The ship took on about 18,000 gallons of ReadiDiesel in San Diego, California.
The objective of the test was to demonstrate that ReadiDiesel is a drop-in replacement for petroleum-sourced F-76 marine diesel and to ensure that this renewable fuel performs equally to, or better than, existing petroleum-derived fuels.
The renewable diesel fuel powered the Self Defense Test Ship’s General Electric LM-2500 gas-turbine engine and a Rolls Royce 501 K-17 gas-turbine generator.
The test period lasted about 12 hours along the Southern California Coast, while enroute from San Diego to Port Hueneme. Navy engineers monitored the performance of the gas-turbine engines and generators while running on petroleum F-76 prior to taking on the ReadiDiesel to establish a baseline for comparison.
While operating on 100 percent ReadiDiesel, the ship successfully completed multiple engine starts and speed changes. There were no mechanical, operational or qualitative differences when operating on ReadiDiesel, the biofuel makers say.
The announcement follows a recent report from Lux Research that warns although big oil has dominated the transportation fuel market for decades, its days are numbered.
The trillion-dollar oil industry, which gets 80 percent of its revenues from transportation fuels, needs to diversify to counter serious threats from alternative fuels and battery technologies, according to the report.
The US Navy has pursued introducing drop-in renewable diesel to its operational supply to increase operational flexibility and energy security. The Navy has also set a goal that by 2020, 50 percent of its total energy consumption will come from alternative sources.
In its other efforts to improve environmental sustainability and reduce emissions, the Navy in April said it will ask its 100 largest suppliers to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as strategies for cutting them, via CDP.
Photo Credit: US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black