Monday, August 4, 2008

Fuel Problems Elsewhere At Sea
"Navy wonders just how do you trim a $3.8 billion fuel bill?"
By Louis Hansen The Virginian-Pilot August 4, 2008

"For Navy vessels, operating at sea has taken on a different feel.

Some nights, sailors cut the engines and the warship just floats.

“We did a lot of that on deployment,” said Cmdr. Michael Junge, skipper of the Whidbey Island.
The practice helped make Junge’s amphibious ship, which spent six months in the Persian Gulf region, one of the most fuel-efficient in the fleet, he said.

With fuel prices reaching record heights, the Navy has looked for creative ways to curb costs without compromising missions. Conservation efforts are expected to save the Navy about $325 million this year.

But in July, the military bumped up oil prices to $170 per barrel from $127 to reflect true costs. The increase will wipe out the Navy’s entire annual savings in just three months. Fuel costs are an issue for all the service branches.

The military is the country’s largest single consumer of energy. It spent $13.6 billion in 2006, almost double the amount since 2003, the start of the Iraq war. Every $10 increase for a barrel of oil costs the Department of Defense $1.3 billion, according to military statistics.

The Air Force is the top consumer within the military, and the Navy is second.

The Navy expects to spend $3.8 billion to power its ships and aircraft this fiscal year, a 42 percent jump from last year.

For the fleet, cutting the engines during down periods is just one way to conserve.

The Whidbey Island is powered by four 16-cylinder diesel engines capable of steaming at more than 20 knots. Steaming on one engine or two whenever possible cuts costs, Junge said. Planning transit time, speed and destination also maximizes efforts.

When the engines are shut down , the crew takes precautions, such as posting additional watches, to maintain security.

The pressure to save fuel “hasn’t had an immediate impact on training,” said Capt. Arthur “Chip” Cotton, branch head for fleet training and readiness reporting at the Pentagon.

Leadership has looked for other ways to cut costs and still perform missions. Synthetic training – through computer simulations of ship, submarine and aircraft operations – can reduce, though not eliminate, the need for live time, Cotton said...Some in Congress are pressing the Navy to build more nuclear-powered vessels..."

Comment Submitted by johnl20927 on Mon, 08/04/2008 at 12:27 am.
"...on the SECNAV Energy Conservation Awards from year's past. There are myriad examples on how to save fuel. Steaming on one engine, reducing electric power demands to only one generator (it can be done), etc. Also purifying "waste oil" and blending it with fuel oil to burn in the main engines rather than holding it for discharge and recycling ashore. There is nothing new about this--it's apparent a lot of people aboard ship have become lazy and not worked to save fuel all the time, as they should."

Aloha, Brad

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