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Newport Biodiesel provides fuel for Oliver Hazard Perry's Trip South

by Barby MacGowan on 25 Feb 2017
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry under sail. Jan Forest
A one-of-a-kind ship with a special mission is now fueled with 20 percent biodiesel as it begins a voyage from New England to Florida, then on to Cuba in March. On February 21, 2017, the 200-foot Sailing School Vessel Oliver Hazard Perry took on 6,000 gallons of B20 at Newport Shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island.

Completed in 2017, SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the first ocean-going, full-rigged ship built in the U.S. in more than 100 years. It has the profile of an early 19th century vessel, but is a modern, state-of-the-art floating classroom hosting practical sail training as well as leadership development activities.



Newport Biodiesel, a biodiesel producer based in Rhode Island, provided the B20 blend to Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) at a discount. The federal government categorizes biodiesel, a renewable fuel, as an Advanced Biofuel. “Supplying this ship with B20 biodiesel gives us a chance to support a worthwhile seafaring mission, while educating the public and marine industry about the environmental benefits of B20,” said Robert Morton, chairman of the board for Newport Biodiesel. “This is the largest deployment of B20 we have ever done for a marine vessel, so it represents a significant step.”



Morton, a former oceanographer, volunteers on the board of OHPRI and also serves as vice chair of the marketing committee on the National Biodiesel Board. He sees big potential for American biodiesel for marine use. Biodiesel not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum, but biodegrades in water as fast as sugar and is healthier for people to breathe.

The ship is sold out for two round-trip voyages to Cuba in March that target high school and college students, but after that, the ship sails back to Newport from Florida, via Bermuda. During the two legs of that voyage ( April 2-12 and April 14-22 ), adults have the opportunity to learn celestial navigation and study meteorology through courses offered in partnership with Ocean Navigator Magazine.

“Despite having 20 sails and 14,000 square feet of sail area, there will certainly be times when Perry will need to use her engines as she covers an estimated 14,000 nautical miles on her journey this year,” said OHPRI Executive Director Jess Wurzbacher. “As mariners tied so closely to the ocean and appreciative of its value, we are pleased to be able to reduce pressure on non-renewable resources. We are thankful to our Marine Trade Partner Newport Biodiesel for helping us keep our commitment to being as green as possible.”



T.H. Malloy & Sons, a progressive, family-owned energy distributor based in Rhode Island, fueled the ship with one of its own biodiesel-powered fuel trucks.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, cleaner burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines. It was the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.

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