Defense

July 19, 2012

USS Chafee takes on biofuel

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by PO3 Dustin W. Sisco
USS Nimitz

The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser, delivers a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton during the Great Green Fleet demonstration portion of Rim of the Pacific 2012. In the background are the guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee, left, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea-lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee took on 250,000 gallons of alternative fuel, a 50/50 blend of advanced biofuel and traditional petroleum-based fuel, from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser as part of the Great Green Fleet demonstration during Rim of the Pacific 2012.

The demonstration serves as another milestone in the Navy’s pursuit to improve combat capability through improved energy efficiency measures.

Lt. j.g. Karen Smith, Chafee’s fuels officer, said the use of biofuels on Navy ships further enhances the overall readiness of the fleet.

“Anything that takes away our need to use foreign fossil fuel is, I think, a step in the right direction,” said Smith. “It gives the Navy a little bit more flexibility, and they know where it’s coming from. Thinking about it economically, yes, it’s a little bit pricier on the front end, but everything new is. I think that, as time goes on, that cost will drive down. The added benefit of having that operational capability is a plus, and now it’s not left in foreign hands to decide what our fuel costs are.”

Lt. j.g. K. Smith, right, explains energy-efficient systems aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee to Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus during the U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration. Mabus observed the large-scale demonstration of the Navy Surface Ship Energy Efficiency Initiatives during the 2012 Rim of the Pacific exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

The installation of an energy dashboard marks one more step in Chafee’s move towards energy efficiency. The energy dashboard uses the Integrated Condition Assessment System to collect data from shipboard equipment.

“The energy dashboard has been a big help,” Smith said. “It gives us instantaneous data of what we’re doing, so we’ve been utilizing that tool to make sure that we’re burning as little fuel as possible.”

The dashboard includes the Fuel Management System, which assists pre-underway planning by recommending efficient equipment lineups. Along with energy dashboard, a series of light emitting diodes have been installed on board Chafee to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting fixtures to improve lamp lifespan and drive down maintenance and sparing costs, as well as a stern flap, which will increase propulsion exhaust emissions to foster fuel cost savings while increasing both ship speed and range.

USS Chafee is one of the five ships included in the Great Green Fleet demonstration.




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