More Wasted Money For The President’s “Green Energy”

A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon’s controversial green fuels initiative.

In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the Navy has taken to calling the “Great Green Fleet,” the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.

However, the fuel’s $26-a-gallon price, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel cannot come at a worst time when the U.S. government’s budget remains severely strained, the Pentagon is facing REAL budget cuts and energy companies are finding big quantities of oil and gas in the United States.

Other Green Energy initiatives in the military pushed by this administration:

The Pentagon paid Solazyme Inc $8.5 million in 2009 for 20,055 gallons of biofuel based on algae oil, or $424 a gallon.

For the Great Green Fleet demonstration, the Pentagon paid $12 million for 450,000 gallons of biofuel, nearly $27 a gallon. There were eight bidders for that contract, it said.

The technology is still not yet cost effective, but to hell with the costs (as long as you’re a Democrat).  Politics and giving in to the environmentalist lobby is more important than reliable fuel to our Navy.


5 thoughts on “More Wasted Money For The President’s “Green Energy”

  1. js03 July 2, 2012 / 6:04 pm

    From what i understand, you can turn just about anything you want into a type of liquid that will probably burn if you mix it with petroleum…so it really doesnt make sense to spend this kind of money for fuel mixed with gas when gas is cheaper to begin with. Want Green? Learn how to make huge quantities of Hydrogen from sea water and you could run those huge ships for free.

  2. Cluster July 2, 2012 / 6:21 pm

    From what I understand, you can turn on the presses and make whatever amount of money you need, so I don’t see the problem/sarc.

    • Count d'Haricots July 3, 2012 / 8:24 pm

      And when you do Bardolf must invest in Conservative Right Wing Republican Corporations!

      He has no choice.

  3. Ricorun July 4, 2012 / 7:33 pm

    So let’s see… the Pentagon paid $424-a-gallon for 20,055 gallons in 2009 and $26-a-gallon for 450,000 gallons in 2012 — almost 1/10th the price for more than 20 times the yield… Yeah, what the heck are they thinking! Lol!

    BTW, that’s supposed to be mostly funny. Apples and oranges, and all that. But still, to say ” the Pentagon paid $424-a-gallon for 20,055 gallons” is a bit like saying “the Pentagon paid 39 billion for one B-2 bomber” after the first one was completed. And I think we can all agree, that’s a rather ridiculous thing to say.

    But still, the basic question relates to the John McCain quote in the topic article, “I don’t believe it’s the job of the Navy to be involved in building … new technologies. I don’t believe we can afford it.” I’m sure there are many who support McCain’s position — and weirdly, I would guess that many of them are Democrats (albeit for different reasons). But frankly, I think a better question is whether the Navy (along with other agencies important to national security) can afford NOT to build new technologies!!?? Good grief, it’s not like it’s a new concept — over the years, under the very same assumption that it was good for national security, various gov’t agencies invested heavily in the development of new, cutting-edge (for the time) technologies such as computers, transistors, radar, sonar, integrated circuits, solar panels, hydrogen fuel cells, GPS systems, high resolution optics, the internet, etc. Mark Noonan recently asked (in essence), “where’s our Hoover Dam?” My response to that is, “look around, dude. They’re all around us!”

    In that respect the topic article goes on to say…

    A Defense Department study conducted with LMI consulting last year noted the Pentagon could take steps, like long-term contracting, that would speed up creation of a competitive biofuels market by providing certainty to growers and helping manufacturers gain access to capital to build refineries.

    “Although DoD has requested 20-year contracting authority, similar commercial industry efforts have suggested that even 10 years would represent the tipping point for more mature renewable fuel producers to obtain financing to build the necessary infrastructure and plants,” the report said.

    Some industry participants believe Mabus is correct in asserting that the Navy’s purchasing clout and other powers can be used to create a breakthrough in the biofuels industry that will eventually lead to competitive pricing.

    “We’ve actually looked at that precise question and we believe they can in fact create that market,” said Dr. Ray Johnson, a senior vice president at Lockheed Martin, which is looking at investing in the Navy’s proposals.

    If that wasn’t enough, here’s another angle: the Pentagon estimates that it costs about $400/gal to deliver fuel to forward operating bases, such as exist now in Afghanistan, did in Iraq, and could potentially exist in other parts of the world (e.g., Iran, Yemen, Sudan, etc.) — and that cost excludes the lives lost in the process of convoy transit. Consequently, if there was a way to manufacture fuels close to FOBs, then $400/gal is the real break-even point. And actually, Solazyme’s process has that potential, because their fermenters are quite compact considering their yield. Moreover, their yield is basically linear (meaning they can build fermenters of any size required without a loss of efficiency), and they can use many different kinds of (locally produced) biomass to drive the process — including poppy plants. Let THAT percolate in your mind for a minute.

    I’m not recommending anyone with the where-with-all should invest in Solazyme (I don’t do investment recommendations anymore. Besides, Amazona has labeled me as a “pseudo-intellectual” who, variously or collectively: doesn’t do my homework; is hopelessly lost in thought, and; doesn’t know what I’m talking about. So there’s that, too. But all that said, I will say this: if you can understand what Solazyme is doing, how they’re positioning themselves, what their competitors are doing and how they’re positioning themselves, they might be worth a look. 🙂

  4. Solar MA July 11, 2012 / 11:29 am

    This is only just a little bit ridiculous. That this country always is (and probably will be) in debt, looking for ways to cut corners, while keeping up the efficiency and productivity. Its just comical to see them juggling so much and trying to find equilibrium, when its impossible for it to happen anytime soon.

    -Sharone Tal

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