Flotta Verde! The Italian Navy’s Green Fleet underway: The story, in pictures

March 16, 2014 |

flotta-verde-logoItaly’s Navy joins the global green fleet movement with its first sea trials and certifications. 

Including a dramatic at-sea rescue, powered by alternative fuel blends.

The complete story, in pictures.

By Commander Pasquale Tripodi, Italian Navy

“The ship performed smoothly and we didn’t notice any difference in switching from conventional F76 to green F76,” said Commander Alberto Raganato, captain of the ITS Foscari, an Offshore Patrol Vessel assigned to the Italian Navy Coastal Command based in Augusta, Sicily.

ITS Foscari refueling with Honeywell Green Diesel

ITS Foscari refueling with Honeywell Green Diesel

ITS Foscari in Harbour

ITS Foscari in Harbour

On January 29th, his ship became the first certified for the Italian Navy’s Green Fleet, one day after its return to home port and upon completion of a 5 hours sea trial. The successful trial was the final stage of the experimentation protocol set by the Italian energy company ENI’s chemists and technicians in close cooperation with the Italian Navy’s marine engineers.

ITS Foscari refueling on deck

ITS Foscari refueling on deck

On January 27th, ITS Foscari was refuelled with 30 cubic meters of green F76 and the day after, during the sea trial, its two 6480 kW/each propulsion diesel engines and its three 940 kW/each gensets on board burned 28 cubic meters (740 gallons) of NATO naval fuel standard compliant green F76.

ITS Foscari green F76 sea trial — data collection

ITS Foscari green F76 sea trial — data collection

The green F76 was blended with 50% in volume of petroleum derived marine gasoil and 50% of second generation advanced biofuel obtained through the Ecofining hydro-treatment process, developed by ENI and Honeywell’s UOP to convert fatty acids and triglycerides, (acquired via vegetable oils and tallow).

ITS Foscari green F76 sea trial — data collection instrumentation

The process produces Honeywell Green Diesel — a high performing diesel fuel that can be used without any modification to the existing equipments on board, and that it is fully compatible with current logistic system.

ITS Foscari underway in rough seas

ITS Foscari underway in rough seas

Cdr. Raganato and ITS Foscari crew members have been continuing the patrol activity in the South Mediterranean Sea on green F76 and on February 27th, one month after the experiment’s successful conclusion, they rescued 105 migrants attempting to flee poverty and violence in Africa through the hazardous journey across the Sicily Channel in overcrowded and rickety boats in rough winter seas.

Overcrowded boat to be rescued — displayed on board of ITS Foscari

Overcrowded boat to be rescued — displayed on board of ITS Foscari

The green F76 experimentation will continue this year with the aim to certify the gas turbine-based propulsion systems on board of Aircraft Carrier “Cavour” and Orizzonte Class Destroyers while the first military flight test run on a 50/50 blend of conventional jet fuel and a new generation biofuel is foreseen within the end of 2015.

ITS Foscari crew memebrs getting ready to help rescued migrants

ITS Foscari crew members getting ready to help rescued migrants

Commercial scale production of Green Diesel will start in April 2014 in the ENI biorefinery located in Venice, using Ecofining™ technology. Certified sustainable palm oil, in accordance with the European Union strict standards (set by the Directive 2009/28/EC of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources), will be used for the biorefinery initial run.

Rescued migrants, relieved to be on board the ITS Foscari

Rescued migrants, relieved to be on board the ITS Foscari

Even though the Venetian plant is not a new building, it is first of its kind — an oil refinery in the world converted into a biorefinery. With an annual 300.000 tons of Green Diesel standard rate production ENI will satisfy part of its obligations under the above mentioned renewable energy directive (2009/28/EU) that have set a mandatory 10 % minimum target to be achieved by all Member States for the share of biofuels in transport diesel consumption by 2020.

Commanding Officer and part of Fuel Team

Commanding Officer and part of Fuel Team

In the near future, third generation feedstock such as micro-algae bio-oil and filtered used cooking oil will definitely play a role in the biorefinery supply chain. Moreover, waste cooking oil collection is a green economy new business opportunity for many entrepreneurs in Italy and it does have a beneficial effects on the environment because avoids that improperly disposed grease that is flushed down drains in public restaurants and private homes.

Part of Fuel Team on board of ITS Foscari

Part of Fuel Team on board of ITS Foscari

The Italian “Flotta Verde” (Green Fleet) project started in close conjunction with the earlier US Navy Great Green Fleet initiative that will culminate with an alternative energy demonstration activity at sea in 2016. Fuels interoperability is paramount for successful combined operations of allied country’s naval vessels and aircrafts: therefore the US Navy and the Italian Navy will sign a statement of cooperation on the research and use of alternative fuel at the ENI biorefinery in Venice on the same date, April 2, 2014 of the Italian plant’s First Run Celebration.

ITS Foscari’s sea trial on green F76 demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the Italian Navy’s foreign oil dependency up to 50%. This is a very ambitious target for the Italian Navy Fleet’s consumed energy from alternative sources to be reached in the coming decade and yet it contributes, together with energy savings and increased energy efficiency, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comply with international reduction commitments.

These factors also promote the security of energy supply and technological innovation, providing new opportunities for employment in the European Union.

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