The U.S. Defense Department has signed a contract to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuel - the largest purchase ever by the federal government - to power the U.S. Navy's "green" carrier strike group.
The blend of used cooking oil and algae will be mixed with traditional fuels to help power the carrier strike group during military exercises next summer in the Pacific Ocean.
The $12 million purchase works out to about $26 a gallon - about five times more than traditional fuel. Yet the price, paid by the Defense Logistics Agency, was only half that of a previous biofuel purchase in 2009, according to a Defense Department announcement on Dec. 5. The department attributed the price drop to continued research and a growing commercial market for biofuel.
Providing the fuel is Dynamic Fuels - a joint venture between Tyson Foods Inc. and Syntroleum Corp. - and algae fuel company Solazyme.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement that the purchase will help the government reduce its use of foreign oil and help grow the domestic biofuel market.
The Navy has made development of biofuels a key part of its research and development. Mabus' goal is to sail an alternative energy "Great Green Fleet" by 2016 and increase alternative fuels to 50 percent of Navy operations by 2020.