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California CleanTech Showcases Progress for Navy Week

July 27, 2012
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Leaders from California-based clean tech companies, state government and the U.S. Navy came together over the past week in Sacramento to highlight innovative clean tech partnerships at Navy installations across the state. As part of Navy Week, more than a dozen California companies showcased current projects with the Navy that utilize biofuels, solar power, energy efficiency and waste-to-energy advancements to meet Navy energy goals.

These leaders also laid out a vision for the future of these partnerships in California. “Where California has led the way in infrastructure, entertainment, and the computer, it stands to do so again with a sustainable energy industry,” said California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “A partnership with the Navy offers robust roots for success. The innovative nature of California – in this case fusing the oldest of institutions with the newest of industries – continues to position our great state on the frontiers of opportunity, jobs and prosperity.

This event highlighted a milestone announcement by the Navy committing to cut its overall power consumption in half and to utilize half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. “The Navy is once again prepared to lead the nation and the world in transforming how we power the Fleet,” said Rear Admiral Dixon R. Smith, commander, Navy Region Southwest. “It was the Navy that went from wind to coal in the 1800s and transformed again to oil in the early 1900s. And in the 1950s, the Navy pioneered nuclear power. Today, we are committed to reduce energy consumption – cutting our consumption in half by 2020 – utilizing alternative energy sources, and working with California companies to develop renewable energy sources.”

Developing biofuels has become a strategic necessity for the Navy, given the volatility of the global oil markets. The progress was dramatically demonstrated at the recent RIMPAC maritime exercises near Hawaii. The Navy’s “Great Green Fleet,” evaluated the performance of “drop-in replacement” using a 50-50 mixture of biofuel and petroleum-based marine diesel or aviation fuel. The biofuel was made from a blend of cooking oil and algae and was partly developed by Solazyme, the California-based renewable oil company.

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil equals an additional $1.3 billion to DoD’s annual energy bill. Based on the experience of conducting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with the rise of new global threats and challenges, the DoD and the Navy have made energy innovation a top strategic imperative.

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