In a boost for biofuels in marine applications, the Canadian government has announced that it is exploring the potential to use biofuels for its Navy.
In a notice posted on Monday, the federal government is soliciting proposals for replacing diesel with biofuels in Royal Canadian Navy vessels. Price will be a key consideration for any potential solutions.
“Naval vessels and platforms have traditionally operated by the use of fossil fuels to power many of their systems. Biofuels are environmentally much cleaner than fossil fuels, producing less air pollution and consuming some materials that would otherwise be considered garbage,” states the notice, on a government contracting website.
“Simply converting fossil fuel powered systems to biofuel-powered systems can be complicated and may become costly from the perspectives of financial, space and maintenance requirements, for example.”
“In order to determine if the costs incurred can be justified, the benefits or efficiencies gained must also be determined.”
Use of biofuels in Navy vessels is not without precedent.
In 2009, the US Navy announced its intention to run half of the fleet on alternative energy sources by 2016. It backed up this commitment by using a 50-50 blend of biofuel and diesel in both aircraft and ships in a major offshore exercise in 2012. The US Navy is the world’s largest single consumer of fossil fuels.
The Royal Canadian Navy has 33 warships, submarines and coastal defense vessels, plus a number of auxiliary and support vessels.
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