Beef tallow finds new use as the U.S. Navy deploys a tallow-fueled fleet. Jan. 20, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, deployed the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group to kick off the Great Green Fleet—an initiative that highlights the Navy and Marine Corps' energy efficiency and alternative energy use to increase operational flexibility and combat capability.

The alternative energy they're using? Beef tallow fuel blends. The new fuel is created through a heating process that changes the molecules of the tallow, which is then refined into fuel and used in diesel engines.

The beef tallow is sourced from farmers and ranchers across the Midwest. After refinement, the tallow fuel is a perfect match for Navy engines, so there will be no major changes in operation or ship equipment. The first of the fleet to use the fuel mix is the guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG106). The remaining ships of the fleet will take more than 3 million gallons of the tallow fuel blend.

"The Navy's use of renewable energy in the Great Green Fleet represents its ability to diversify its energy sources, and also our nation's ability to take what would be a waste product and create homegrown, clean, advanced biofuels to support a variety of transportation needs," Vilsack said. "Today's deployment proves that America is on its way to a secure, clean energy future, where both defense and commercial transportation can be fueled by our own hardworking farmers and ranchers, reduce landfill waste and bring manufacturing jobs back to rural America."

The fuel blend is produced by AltAir Fuels of California. The Defense Logistics agency holds a contract for 77.6 million gallons of the blend at a cost of $2.05 per gallon.

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