Last week, we shared a recap of Military Sealift Command’s exciting roles in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise that ended August 3. Here’s another great story from RIMPAC, where MSC fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) made some Navy energy history.
Making history with biofuel
By Sarah E. Burford, MSCPAC Public Affairs
On July 17 and 18, the world’s eyes were on Kaiser as it delivered 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) carrier strike group. The fuel delivery began as the sun broke through an overcast sky, and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) pulled alongside Kaiser. “Good morning Henry J. Kaiser” blared from Chung-Hoon’s public address system, and the first biofuel transfer started after shot line was fired. The biofuel delivery was part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration, which allowed the Navy to test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting.
“This is just another example of the critical role MSC ships play in supporting significant Navy strategic priorities,” said Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander, MSC.
Kaiser’s delivery included 700,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable diesel fuel, or HRD76, to three ships of the strike group; Chung-Hoon, USS Princeton (CG 59) and USS Chaffee (DDG 90). Additionally, Kaiser transferred 200,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel, or HRJ5, to Nimitz. Both fuels were a 50-50 blend of traditional petroleum-based fuel and biofuel comprised of a mix of waste cooking oil and algae oil.
The biofuel delivery to the Nimitz carrier strike group helped achieve Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’s goal of demonstrating a Green Strike Group in local operations by 2012, part of five ambitious energy goals Mabus has established for the Navy and Marine Corps. Mabus witnessed the Great Green Fleet’s success from Princeton’s deck as it received its biofuel delivery.
“It’s not every day the SECNAV gives you a thumbs up for a job well done,” Capt. Capt. Joseph Trogdlin, Kaiser’s civil service master, laughed as he returned the positive gesture from his vantage point on Kaiser. “It makes you feel proud to be a part of something historic like this.”
Members of Kaiser’s crew expressed similar sentiments at being a part of the demonstration.
“I always enjoy RIMPAC,” said Yeoman Storekeeper Robert Encarnation, “Sure, the money is good, but getting to do something like the biofuel delivery is interesting because it’s different than what we normally do, and because we are a part of something exciting and historic. We get to say we did it first!”