The US Navy has tested a green gunboat at the Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. The 15 m long, river-based command boat can attain speeds of 40-knots and is powered by a 50/50 mix of algae-based fuel and diesel.
The successful testing of the Riverine Command Boat (experimental), see picture, reflects the US Navy’s efforts to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. The fuel is a “drop in replacement” for standard shipboard fuel. The algae-based component is combined with NATO F-76 fuel to form a hydro-processed renewable diesel, HR-D.
Unlike ethanol-based biofuel from corn, HR-D does not include water, which is incompatible with shipboard fuel systems, has a longer shelf life, and does not compete with food sources.
The testing and evaluation will culminate with deployment of a Great Green Fleet powered by alternative fuels, planned for 2016.