Hicks tours biodiesel-fueled Navy steam plant in Portsmouth, Va.

By The US Navy | November 20, 2012

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy) Tom Hicks toured a steam plant at St. Julien's Creek Annex in Portsmouth, Va., now running on B20, a 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent number two fuel oil blend Nov. 19. 

The plant is the Navy's first one in the Mid-Atlantic area to run on this fuel blend, which is popular for use in vehicles.

The diesel blend, which burns cleaner than traditional diesel will provide steam to heat 16 office buildings and 13 warehouses. It is expected that the fiscal year 2012 (FY13) heating season will require the use of about 235,000 gallons of B20. Previously the plant has used traditional, 100 percent petroleum-based fuel oil. The B20 blend is priced competitively with the petroleum based diesel, and will not increase the Navy's costs to heat the base, while helping to meet the Secretary of the Navy's goals for greater energy security.

“The Navy uses an annual average of 30 million barrels of fuel per year which equates to about $4 to $5 billion of fuel cost,” said Hicks. “Because of this, it is important to explore additional and alternative sources like we see here today at St. Julien's Creek.” 

“This is a perfect example of what the Navy is trying to do by using B20, a 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent conventional fuel to run the steam plant from domestic sources that are competitively priced,” said Hicks. 

The Secretary of the Navy has outlined five energy goals for greater energy security and to enhance our combat capabilities: Increase Alternative Energy Use DoN-Wide: By 2020, 50 percent of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources; Sail the “Great Green Fleet”: DoN demonstrated the Great Green Fleet during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in July and will sail it by 2016; reduce nontactical petroleum use: By 2015, DoN will reduce petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent; increase alternative energy ashore: By 2020, DoN will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources; 50 percent of DoN installations will be net-zero; and Energy Efficient acquisition: evaluation of energy factors will be mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings. 

“The steam plant is using B20 and this fuel blend will help make progress towards the Navy's renewable energy goals,” said John Breckner, renewable energy program manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic. “This is one of the pilot projects for the heating season and we hope to expand to other areas in the region. The boilers have been running for a few weeks and everything appears to be going well.” 

St. Julien's Creek Annex is a U.S. naval support facility that provides administrative offices, light industrial shops, and storage facilities for tenant naval commands. Its primary mission is to provide a radar testing range (35 acres or 141,640 m2) and various administrative and warehousing structures.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Facilities and Expeditionary Combat Systems Command that delivers and maintains quality, sustainable facilities, acquires and manages capabilities for the Navy's expeditionary combat forces, provides contingency engineering response, and enables energy security and environmental stewardship. 

 

 
 
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