The first Navy plant in the Mid-Atlantic region to use B20 is located in St. Julien’s Creek Annex in Portsmouth, Virginia. The biodiesel blend will provide steam to heat 16 office buildings and 13 warehouses. Over the course of the winter, 235,000 gallons of B20 are expected to be used to create the heat.
Previously the plant used traditional, petroleum-based fuel oil. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the B20 blend is priced competitively with the petroleum based diesel, and will not increase the Navy’s costs to heat the base, while helping to meet the Secretary of the Navy’s goals for greater energy security.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy) Tom Hicks recently experienced a first-hand look at how biodiesel is being used to heat a Navy base. “The Navy uses an annual average of 30 million barrels of fuel per year which equates to about $4 to $5 billion of fuel cost,” Hicks said during the tour. Because of this, it is important to explore additional and alternative sources like we see here today at St. Julien’s Creek.”
Hicks continued, “This is a perfect example of what the Navy is trying to do by using B20, a 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent conventional fuel to run the steam plant from domestic sources that are competitively priced.”