Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Slow Defeat of the Green Fleet?

Remember the heady days when Salamander and SECNAV Mabus skipped hand in hand through the verdant fields? From when I first found out his present job, to his speech ... and the fact that there are good odds we're related ... it was nice while it lasted.

Alas, then things went pear-shaped. Ship naming was one issue - but I think he really didn't like when I turned on him first with the swap at the whole "Green Fleet" boondoggle. Sad, I saw and still do see a generally nice and effective man - though one who IMAO is misallocating his intellectual and political capital.

He can't like some of the latest news. Are people intentionally blowing off the SECNAV's signature issue - a brave thing to do - or do the smart people see something going on in the background? Has SECNAV sent out messages ... or does the message speak for itself?

Germany is coming to terms with the fact that you can go broke wearing too much green - and we may have a little of that acknowledgement in the background - the Navy might be reaching an understanding as well.
The U.S. Navy’s high-profile program to draw half of its energy from alternative fuels by 2020 didn’t receive much attention during the opening day of the annual Sea-Air-Space conference.

The effort, dubbed the Great Green Fleet and championed by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, didn’t headline any of the panels. The topic of energy instead came up during an afternoon session that mostly centered on the Marine Corps’ small-scale use of portable solar panels in Afghanistan and during training exercises at stateside posts.
Solar=good. Gold plated fuel by the metric ton? Notsomuch.

If you are interested in digging a little deeper and are still feeling Kermit like - our friend Captain Ike Kiefer, USN has a nice primer.
Some prominent arguments appear almost daily in the media that biofuels will increase our domestic supply of transportation fuel, end our dependence on foreign oil, reduce military vulnerabilities on the battlefield, and generally improve national security. Biofuels are further touted to reduce fuel price volatility, polluting emissions, and green - house gases (GHG) and even stimulate the economy. These arguments all fall apart under scrutiny. The promise and curse of biofuels is that they are limited by the energy that living organisms harvest from the sun and suffer a fatal “catch-22”: uncultivated biofuel yields are far too small, diffuse, and infrequent to displace any meaningful fraction of US primary energy needs, and boosting yields through cultivation consumes more energy than it adds to the biomass. Furthermore, the harvested biomass requires large amounts of additional energy to convert it into the compact, energy-rich, liquid hydrocarbon form required for compatibility with the nation’s fuel infrastructure, transportation sector, and especially the military. The energy content of the final-product biofuel compared to the energy required to produce it proves to be a very poor investment, especially compared to other alternatives. In many cases, there is net loss of energy. When energy balance (energy output minus energy input) across the full fuel creation and combustion lifecycle is considered, cultivated liquid biofuels are revealed to be a modern-day attempt at perpetual motion that is doomed by the laws of thermodynamics and a fatal dependence on fossil fuel energy.
That got a rather lame response from DOD by Adam L. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Technology Strategy - who has left to become a staffer on the Energy Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, Technology Committee. Follow the money ....

Well ... it makes sense. When the taxpayers are having their Blue Angels held back as DON has a major pout-fest because the peasants are not giving up their seed corn - paying exorbitant amounts per gallon for a quasi-socialist industrial policy on the back of the military budget just does not pass muster.

I think the tide must be turning. I really feel sorry for anyone who missed the turn, and sold a lot of personal capital by writing an obsequious suck-up "Mister, mister, look at me" article.  All that ... and you're left in the wake after corpen. Yea ... that would be sad to see.

1 comment:

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