US Navy co-hosts biofutures forum in Queensland, Australia

Tom Hicks, left, meets with Annastacia Palaszczuk, center, and the Queensland minister for energy and water supply, Mark Bailey prior to the open ceremony for the Biofutures Industry Forum. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy and Queensland government started a two-day Biofutures Industry Forum at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 7.

The forum builds on a statement of cooperation signed between the two sides under which U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet warships would refuel with biofuels in Queensland.

The forum will bring together biofutures industry leaders from each step in the supply chain to collaborate and discuss the production of biofuels that meet both jet and marine specifications.

“The Navy has always been in the energy-innovation business- from wind to coal, coal to oil, and now alternative fuels,” said deputy under secretary of the U.S. Navy for management, Tom Hicks. “Throughout these changes, we have worked closely with the government and with industry to put into place the supporting infrastructure.”

Hicks was joined by the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to kick off the forum activities.

“We have committed to fully explore the role Queensland can play in helping the U.S. Navy meet its future energy needs and this vision for the Great Green Fleet,” said Palaszczuk. “The U.S. Navy understands the scale and undertaking of this venture.”

Hicks said in his opening remarks that partnerships like the one shared between U.S. and Australia are critical to maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific theater, and that a diverse energy supply can have a positive impact on operational capability.

U.S. Navy ships and aircraft require no changes to engine modifications or operational procedures to use alternative fuel blends, and many platforms operate every day on these blends. Also, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, set the goal to source 50 percent of the total operational energy consumption from alternative energy sources by 2020.

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