Coast Guard proposes CRADA for biodiesel evaluation

By Erin Voegele | December 20, 2011

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced its intent to enter into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Cummins Inc. to research the use of biodiesel blends in marine inboard engines. According to the announcement, which was published in the Federal Register, the initiative aims to identify and investigate the advantages and disadvantages, required technology enhancements, performance, cost and other issues associated with the use of biodiesel. The Coast Guard stated that the overall goal is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations.

Under the proposed CRADA, the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center would collaborate with participants to create and employ a structured and collaborative test protocol to better understand the potential of fueling marine inboard engines with biodiesel fuel blends. According to information published in the Federal Register, the non-federal participants in the initative would use at least one mutually agreed upon blend of biodiesel to fuel representative inboard engines. The participants would do this through a sequential process that includes modifications to engine and fuel system components to ensure compatibility with the biodiesel blend. This would be followed by controlled field tests. Later, longer-duration operational testing would take place on actual Coast Guard boats.

The Coast Guard would make several contributions to the CRADA, including the attainment of the fuel blend, as well as the transport and temporary storage of the fuel. It would also lead the development of test objectives and test plan for specific work to be carried out under the CRADA. In addition to several other contributions, the Coast Guard would also provide all required resources for the field testing and operational testing, as well as carry out those activities.

While the Coast Guard is currently considering Cummins for participation in this CRADA due to the fact that the company’s engines power Coast Guard boats in the 49-foot Buoy Utility Stern Loading class, it also stated that it does not want to exclude other participants from similar CRADAs. According to the Coast Guard, proposals for the CRADA will be selected at its sole discretion based on how well they communicate and understanding of and ability to meet the CRADA’s goals, and how well they are able to meet certain other criteria. The notice in the Federal Register also specifies that special consideration will be given to small business firms/consortia, and that preference will be given to business units located in the U.S.  

The Coast Guard is accepting public comments on the proposed CRADA until Jan. 17. 2012. Those wishing to submit comment can do so via an online docket or via mail or fax. Comments should be identified by docket number USCG-2011-1089.


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