By Reginald Rogers/ParaglideFebruary 26, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In response to a Department of the Army directive to reduce petroleum products consumption, Fort Bragg is finally going "green."
The post has now begun operating its new alternative fuel, green refueling station as a source of energy for its fleet of transportation vehicles, officials said in a Feb. 11 interview at the facility.
Construction began in August 2009 on the 50,000 square-foot facility, which is located at the corner of Longstreet and Gruber roads. It includes three different types of fuel for the post's fleet of more than 750 vehicles.
"This has been a three-year process for Fort Bragg to meet the Presidential Executive Order 13423 to reduce the dependency of foreign oil and also to reduce the CO2 carbon emissions to low-level exhaust that comes out of the vehicles," explained Tim Shea, Fort Bragg's chief of transportation. "What we have here is B20 biodiesel fuel, E85 ethanol and we also have ultra low-sulfur diesel for all the non-tactical vehicles and government vehicles on Fort Bragg."
Shea said Fort Bragg's fleet is growing as manufacturers continue to build vehicles that can handle these types of fuels.
"On the B20 side, all the diesel type vehicles, such as forklifts and other heavy equipment on Fort Bragg, will be able to use B20 to allow us to meet the executive order," he added.
Shea said given the post's current optempo, the switch to alternative fuels is practical and
"If you look at the mission of Fort Bragg, we're in 50-plus countries across the world right now," Shea said. "As you can see, the fuel costs have risen and the dependency on foreign oil, as the president has mentioned numerous times, this is Fort Bragg's way of meeting the president's directives and mandates to reduce that dependency and also the Clean Air Act, not just on Fort Bragg, but with the local communities surrounding Fort Bragg."
Shea said Fort Bragg's fuel stations features many green features, including solar lighting and a solar roof and a water recycling process that takes place on the grounds surrounding the refuel site.
According to Shea, Willbros Inc., the company that built the facility, has applied a lot of the lessons learned in the past five years. He said this amounts to significant savings for the post.
"The placement of this facility, it is going to allow for continuous refueling as the missions dictate," Shea said.
"That's one of the reasons it was placed in this location because the training sites go out beyond this fuel site so you can refuel as you go out and refuel as you come back."
He explained that traveling off Fort Bragg to get diesel fuel, was not as cost-effective as having the refuel site located on Gruber Road, which leads to many of the post's motor pools. Shea said the fuel for the site would be brought onto Fort Bragg by tanker truck and the post is currently looking at a way to purchase the fuel from businesses located within the state lines.
"One of the pieces that we've been working on, along with Charles Young, the post's sustainable transportation planner and the North Carolina Business Center, is a way to strategically fuel the fort and possibly get that fuel from within North Carolina," Shea added.
"That's one of the things the policy director asked about three years ago is the way to do that. That would be an economic development situation for North Carolina also."
Young explained that bio-fuel is a combination of bio-based diesel fuel and petroleum diesel.
"B20 is a twenty percent blend of bio-based diesel fuel and eighty percent regular petroleum diesel," he said. "The advantage is that for every gallon of this that we pump, we displace twenty percent of petroleum."
Young said the fuel is purchased from different locations. One such place is in Pittsboro, N.C., which gets a lot of bio-fuel diesel that is sourced from chicken plant renderings. He said another source may be produced from soybeans.
Young said the future holds a lot of possibilities when it comes to new energy sources for the post's transportation system and there's no likelihood of having a biofuel shortage.
"There are so many ways you can look at these alternatives," Young said. "There's hydrogen and there are others, just name the flavor of the month. The good thing about the presidential mandate is that they said you will specifically use B20 biodiesel and E85 ethanol. So for us, all the other parts of the equation were gone so we were able to concentrate specifically on these fuels. As long as there are farmers producing crops, I don't see where the fuel would ever go away."
The facility opened its pumps on Feb. 11, to provide services to the post's transportation fleet, which includes sedans, pick-ups, SUVs and buses that have been converted to run