Saturday, June 12, 2010

U.S. Navy goes green with first hybrid assault ship

With government spending out of control, it’s good to see that the U.S. Navy is looking to control costs on fuel and maintenance. In October, 2009 the U.S. Navy commissioned its first hybrid amphibious assault ship. The USS Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to feature a unique hybrid propulsion system that relies on two General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines or two diesel electric motors.
The hybrid propulsion system's gas turbines and electric motors operate independently. The LM2500+ gas turbines, which provide a total of 70,000 horsepower, are used for high speed service, propelling the vessel to more than 20 knots. The two diesel electric motors combined provide 10,000 horsepower and are used for low speed operation. The ability to select the best mix of power plants to match the immediate mission requirements provides the opportunity for significant fuel savings and reduction in operating costs for the ship.
According to the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the U.S. Navy, the vessel's hybrid propulsion system, amongst other overall ship design enhancements, can be credited for helping save on fuel and maintenance costs. "Just two months ago, the Makin Island, our hybrid of the seas that uses an electric motor to power the ship at low speeds, went from where it was built in Pascagoula around to its homeport in San Diego. During that initial voyage alone, she saved close to $2 million in fuel costs. NAVSEA estimates at today's fuel prices the Makin Island will save $250 million over the lifetime of that ship, and it doesn't include reduced maintenance costs."
Saving over $250 million in savings is really significant when you think about it. Now let’s take that $250 million and use it to reduce the deficit.

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