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MM Blog: Navy Warships Powered By Biofuel

Here's a look at a naval fleet partially powered by beef fat.

The U.S. Navy's Carrier Strike Group 3 will depart on a 7-month deployment this week with an assist from Midwestern cattle ranchers. The warships accompanying the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier will be powered by a mix of petroleum and biofuels made from beef fat.

Navy officials hope that the ships are the first of a "Great Green Fleet" that could help the Defense Department — the world's largest energy consumer — reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and improve its energy security. Cost issues limited the initial blend to just 10 percent biofuels, but officials remain optimistic that advancing technology could eventually help the Navy achieve its goal of deriving half its energy from alternative sources.

Critics, however, are less optimistic about the cost, while environmentalists add that the beef industry isn't exactly the most eco-friendly. Meanwhile, the Navy already has other options at its disposal. The Stennis, for one, is nuclear-powered, while other ships are hybrid electric.


Could biofuels improve the Pentagon's energy use? Or should the Navy focus more on existing alternatives?

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