URI Research Ship Runs on Biodiesel
January 17, 2013
Sailors for the Sea has posted an essay by University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography students Joshua Haggarty and Dan Albani on the efforts to reduce emissions through the use of biodiesel aboard the URI research vessel Endeavor.
Greening The Endeavor
In 2010, as carbon emissions produced by human activities rose well over 3% in the U.S. to 5,638 million metric tons of CO2, the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) decided to explore ways to make their fleet’s present and future more environmentally sustainable. UNOLS began to promote the goal of “greening the fleet”, which is still exploring the technologies and practices best-suited to move forward in developing and maintaining more efficient research vessels. The Graduate School of Oceanography at URI has taken this goal to heart, and research is currently underway to make their vessel, the R/V Endeavor, one of the most eco-friendly ships in the nation’s academic fleet.
Though the economic and environmental benefits of upgrading the ship’s equipment remain to be seen, the Endeavor’s use of B5 biodiesel substantially lowers its harmful emissions (seen in Figure 1). The fuel found in the ship’s 3,000 horsepower engine and 3 diesel generators is now locally produced in Rhode Island by Newport Biodiesel; and due to surging gas prices, costs slightly less per gallon than regular diesel. The ship also uses 100% biofuel to power its hydraulic systems, which negates the impact that ship waste has on data collection, giving researchers more confidence in their work.
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