An Endeavor into Biofuel

University of Rhode Island fuels its research vessel with biodiesel
By Erin Voegele | February 28, 2012

In mid-January the University of Rhode Island topped off its research ship Endeavor’s fuel tank with 53,000 gallons of biodiesel-blended fuel. The move was the initial step in URI’s plan to transform the 185-foot ship into the most energy-efficient and “green” research vessel in the nation.

In total, about 14,000 gallons of B5 was added to the ship’s tank. The renewable portion of the fuel was made by local producer Newport Biodiesel and delivered to the port by Malloy Biodiesel. According to Dennis Nixon, the associate dean for research and administration at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, the goal is to gradually increase the percentage of biodiesel contained in the ship’s fuel, up to a B20 blend.

“It is vitally important that as we study the marine environment around the world on this great research vessel that we have the smallest environmental impact possible,” Nixon says. “The first step in that transformation was the policy decision to use locally produced biodiesel fuel for the ship’s generators and main engine. We are committed to using biodiesel whenever the ship refuels in Rhode Island, and we will attempt to secure biodiesel when it refuels in distant ports as well.”

—Erin Voegele

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