November 1, 2009  

Blue goes green

TO NAVY SECRETARY RAY MABUS for his commitment to develop by 2012 a plan for a “green” carrier strike group that can be deployed by 2016.

All U.S. aircraft carriers and submarines are nuclear-powered, but under Mabus’ “Great Green Fleet” blueprint, biofuels would power destroyers, cruisers, replenishment ships and the air wing.

It’s a highly ambitious plan, and there are serious challenges to be addressed, not least a recognition that the quest for fuel efficiency won’t come cheap. Many alternative fuel technologies are still in the R&D phase, and biofuels are massively more expensive per gallon than fossil fuels.

But as fossil fuels become scarce and our access to them more uncertain, it’s essential that the Navy becomes independent of traditional fuels. It’s the right thing to do, and Mabus is correct to set the bar high and force the Navy to reach up to green efficiency.