Newt Gingrich must be totes surprised. From TGDaily:
According to Solazyme, the U.S. Navy Frigate fleet ship USS Ford just sailed from its homeport in Everett, Wash., down to San Diego using 25,000 gallons of the company’s Soladiesel blended in even proportions with F-76 military diesel.
Solazyme didn’t say exactly how far the trip was, but charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [PDF] peg the distance from Seattle (about 30 miles south of Everett) to San Diego at 1,228 nautical miles.
The Navy has set a goal of deploying a “Great Green Fleet” powered entirely by alternative fuels by 2016, and of reaching 50 percent alternative energy use overall by 2020. The service has also tested alternative fuel in a yard patrol boat at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and in a landing craft utilityoff the Virginia coast.
South San Francisco-based Solazyme, which ferments algae to produce oil that can be refined into fuel, is one of two big players in the Navy’s biofuels program. The other is Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels, a Tyson Foods-Syntroleum joint venture that makes its fuel from used cooking oil and non-food-grade animal fats. Last December the Navy said it will pay $12 million to purchase a total of 450,000 gallons of biofuels from the companies to help power a carrier group during big maritime exercises this summer.
After November’s remotely controlled biofuel test, the Navy reported “there was absolutely no difference, whatsoever, in the operation or performance of the ship” using the algae-derived fuel. Solazyme said that was the case on this longer voyage as well.
“Feedback from the ship’s engineers was favorable; the crew reported that operational performance of the fuel system and gas turbine engines on the 50/50 blend was…comparable to operations on traditional petroleum F-76,” Solazyme confirmed in a statement.
Creating a renewable source of fuel for the military’s ground and air fleets is a matter of national security. In support of this proposition, I’d like to quote from a Villanova Law Journal Symposium on shale natural drilling that was published last year:
[W]orldwide, we are at a point in time called Hubbert’s Peak. Hubbert’s Peak is that point in time in which half of the world’s oil has been used up. America is well ahead of the Hubbert’s Peak curve because America has used more than fifty percent of its oil reserves; America has used seventy to eighty percent. This number may be higher than eighty percent if natural gas is also taken into account. The world, in total, has used about fifty percent of its oil right now. So in terms of absolute numbers of barrels, there are about two trillion barrels accessible worldwide, of which one trillion have already been used. Most of that oil is located outside the United States.
— Source: ”Shale” We Drill?, 22 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 189, 192 (2011).
That means that in order to power our fleet on conventional petroleum-based fuel sources, we are at the mercy of those who provide it to us, along with all the diplomatic issues that accompany such dependence. ”going green” on fuel production is not only environmentally sound energy policy, but a national security imperative.
This is yet another reason why Newt’s jab at Obama over using “algae” as one solution to our energy crisis was severely misplaced, and frankly, stupid. Perfecting this technology is in our national interest from an environmental, economic, and national security standpoint. Newt Gingrich’s decision to disparage this technology was an egregiously boneheaded display of political cravenness. Thankfully, he is becoming more and more irrelevant by the day as the primary season winds down.
I wold like to ask Newt Gingrich how his foot tastes.