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The Navy's Great Green Fleet might not be so green

Actual biofuel is just 5.5 percent of the Navy's green mix today, compared to 50 percent in 2012.

This post is appearing on Autoblog Military, Autoblog's sub-site dedicated to the vehicles, aircraft, and ships of the world's armed forces.

There are inherent problems in the way the US Navy is presenting its Great Green Fleet initiative, trade publication Ship and Bunker reports.

The trade outlet spoke to T.A. Kiefer, a retired US Navy captain, an energy consultant, and based on this piece, a sharp critic of the Great Green Fleet initiative. Kiefer outlined a number of problems with the Navy's biofuel push, arguing the green fuel is dirty in more ways than one.

For one, Uncle Sam has cut its mix of biofuels from a fifty-fifty blend (half petroleum and half green) in 2012 to just 5.5 percent now. While you could blame that on the price of the stuff, the green portion of today's mix is half the price it was in 2012, at $13.64 a gallon.

"A five-percent blend should not even be called biofuel; it is petroleum fuel with an expensive additive," Kiefer told Ship and Bunker.

More damning, according to Kiefer, is that the Navy has gone from using an advanced source of fuel to a far more basic and environmentally unfriendly one.

"The Navy has also regressed in its chosen feedstock, from advanced algae in 2012, to beef fat earlier this year, now to palm oil, a first-generation biofuel. Palm oil biodiesel is recognized by the bulk of Europe and by informed environmentalists everywhere as the absolute worst biofuel, as it triples GHG emissions over fossil fuels," Kiefer said.

Ship and Bunker's piece dives into the arguments against the Navy's Great Green Fleet in more detail than we can here, but suffice it to say, there should be a lot of questions about what's going on with Uncle Sam's push towards biofuels.

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