US fleet conversion turns navy to biofuels

AUSTRALIA’S defence ties to the US have taken on a green hue, with the Royal Australian Navy planning to make all its ships and aircraft biofuel-capable within six years.

The RAN’s biofuel embrace will ensure it can continue working with the US navy on joint operations because the Americans plan to convert its fleet over by 2020.

The move comes as Australia’s domestic biofuel industry reels from the Abbott government’s unexpected budget decision to put in a biodiesel excise tax from July 2016, five years earlier than a previous 2021 timeframe.

It is also battling to compete with subsidised imports.

Under an agreement with the US, revealed in The Australian almost two years ago, Australia has access to the technology being developed to enable the massive American fleet to run on alternative fuels by the end of the decade.»