PACIFIC OCEAN - The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) took on 250,000 gallons of alternative fuel, a 50/50 blend of advanced biofuel and traditional petroleum-based fuel, from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) as part of the Great Green Fleet demonstration during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012.
The demonstration serves as another milestone in the Navy's pursuit to improve combat capability through improved energy efficiency measures.
Lt. j.g. Karen Smith, Chafee's fuels officer, said the use of biofuels on Navy ships further enhances the overall readiness of the fleet.
"Anything that takes away our need to use foreign fossil fuel is, I think, a step in the right direction," said Smith. "It gives the Navy a little bit more flexibility, and they know where it's coming from. Thinking about it economically, yes, it's a little bit pricier on the front end, but everything new is. I think that, as time goes on, that cost will drive down. The added benefit of having that operational capability is a plus, and now it's not left in foreign hands to decide what our fuel costs are."
The installation of an energy dashboard marks one more step in Chafee's move towards energy efficiency. The energy dashboard uses the Integrated Condition Assessment System (ICAS) to collect data from shipboard equipment.
"The energy dashboard has been a big help," Smith said. "It gives us instantaneous data of what we're doing, so we've been utilizing that tool to make sure that we're burning as little fuel as possible."
The dashboard includes the Fuel Management System (FMS), which assists pre-underway planning by recommending efficient equipment lineups. Along with energy dashboard, a series of light emitting diodes (LED) have been installed on board Chafee to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting fixtures to improve lamp lifespan and drive down maintenance and sparing costs, as well as a stern flap, which will increase propulsion exhaust emissions to foster fuel cost savings while increasing both ship speed and range.
USS Chafee is one of the five ships included in the Great Green Fleet demonstration.