BY BRIAN J. DAVIS, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER PUGET SOUND
The fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) departed the Manchester Fuel Depot Jan. 22 with more than 3 million gallons of alternative fuel provided by Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound in support of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet Initiative.
USS Rainier pulled into the Manchester Fuel Depot, the largest single site Department of Defense fuel terminal in the continental United States and took on more than 3.7 million gallons of F-76 marine diesel fuel.
It was a typical operation for NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound fuel personnel and USS Rainier’s crew, but this time the ship’s liquid cargo was composed of an alternative blend consisting of 10 percent biofuel manufactured from animal fat mixed with standard petroleum-based fuel.
The alternative fuel blend is being used to power the surface ships assigned to the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) during its current deployment. Upon departing San Diego to join the JCS CSG Jan. 20, Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) officially became the first Navy surface ship in history to use the alternative fuel blend for regular operations.
The Navy’s focus with the Great Green Fleet initiative is to demonstrate the ability to adapt new technologies to expand options for energy sources available to the Navy and Marine Corps.
“The purpose of this initiative is to prove we can do it,” said NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Fuel Department Director Lt. Cmdr. Scott McCarthy. “It shows that there is another option available, giving us greater flexibility for powering our operational forces.”
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said, “Diversifying our energy sources arms us with operational flexibility and strengthens our ability to provide presence, turning the tables on those who would use energy as a weapon against us.”
Manchester Fuel Depot received the initial biofuel product via Military Sealift Command chartered tanker M/T Empire State earlier in the week. Once the fuel was offloaded, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Fuel Department personnel conducted testing and processing to verify the fuel’s purity, quality, and mixture proportions. Once the technicians finished their work, the fuel was ready for issue to the USS Rainier and subsequent distribution to the JCS CSG.
The operation was a milestone for the Fuel Department crew. Their first time operating with alternative fuel went smoothly, from initial receipt of the fuel shipment through processing and fuel transfer to the USS Rainier.
“This was an opportunity to showcase our capabilities,” said McCarthy. “Our operational flexibility and ability to provide topnotch logistics support for the Great Green Fleet Initiative is evidenced by the hard work of the men and women working behind the scenes at the Manchester Fuel Depot.”
According to NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound officials, being chosen as a source for the JCS CSG’s alternative fuel supply provided a chance to put the full potential of the organization’s logistics capabilities on display for its customers to see.
“This opportunity to support the JCS CSG truly demonstrates the Manchester Fuel Depot’s ability to adapt to new technology and provide capable, flexible fuel support to our operational forces,” said NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Commanding Officer Capt. Tim Jett.
According to a press release from the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, the biofuel is obtained from waste beef tallow and fat provided by Midwest farmers and ranchers that is collected and processed into fuel by a California-based company.
The Great Green Fleet initiative showcases the ability of the Navy and Marine Corps to use energy efficiency and alternative energy sources to enhance combat capability and operational flexibility.
The Manchester Fuel Depot is managed by the NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound Fuel Department. The fuel depot’s mission is to provide customers with top quality military specification fuel, lubricants, and additives used by land, sea, and air forces. The facility issues, manages, and receives bulk petroleum products and is tasked with ensuring compliance of product quality, inventory control, and environmental regulations. Manchester Fuel Depot provides fuels support for U.S. and allied forces throughout the Puget Sound region and the Pacific Rim.