Biodiesel Mandate for Navy and Marine Facilities

Beginning June 1, 2005 all U.S. Navy and Marine non-tactical diesel vehicles will be required to operate on a B20 (20 percent) biodiesel blend as part of the military’s efforts to increase their use of domestic and clean fuels.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (Installations and Environment) Wayne Arny, of the U.S. Department of the Navy issued the memorandum. The U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines all use B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, at different bases and stations throughout the country. Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100) or can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel. It can be used in diesel engines with few or no modifications and has similar horsepower, torque and BTU content compared to petroleum diesel while offering excellent lubricity. The January 18, 2005 Navy memo provided guidance for biodiesel use including that it can be supplied by the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) and used where adequate fuel tanks are available. The policy does not apply to tactical military equipment or deployable commercial equipment intended to support contingency operations. “We commend the Navy for its leadership role in advancing the use of biodiesel and other alternative fuels,” said Joe Jobe, NBB executive director. “With the U.S. importing more than half of all oil consumed, turning to domestic energy sources like biodiesel is critical. The Navy is setting a positive example for the rest of the nation with this new policy.” Jobe added that the Navy is the largest user of diesel fuel in the world, and is charged with protecting shipping routes to import petroleum to the United States. “Naval leaders clearly recognize the responsibility the Navy has to reduce its own use of petroleum, and we commend them for that,” Jobe said. In 2003, Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) in Port Hueneme, Calif. began a unique pilot program making biodiesel from its own biodiesel processing unit. Eventually, the Navy could send portable biodiesel processing units overseas to produce its own fuel while on missions abroad. This could give the U.S. military a tactical advantage should fuel supplies be compromised.

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