Alternative Fuels, Propulsion and Power Systems for the Future Navy: A Route Towards Reduced Emissions and Signatures, and Fossil Fuel Independence

RG van de Ketterij, R.D. Geertsma, Alex Grasman, M.R.J. Pothaar, A. Coraddu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


The sustainability policy requires the Netherlands Ministry of Defense (MoD) to become largely independent of fossil fuels in the coming decades, while at the same time the geopolitical situation requires the Armed Forces to operate globally. Therefore, the Royal Netherlands Navy needs to reconsider its fuel strategy, to gradually change to energy carriers from renewable sources, and to redesign its power and propulsion system, both to improve efficiency and to reduce its emissions and signatures. The aim of this chapter is to provide a critical review of the challenges and opportunities of the transition to alternative energy carriers and energy systems and to provide a direction for the required research and development towards the future Navy fleet that can operate independently of fossil fuels and with minimal signature. First, the chapter reviews production, expected availability and projected development of cost of the various alternative fuels, with a specific focus on hydrogen, methanol, and renewable drop-in alternatives for naval distillate fuels, according to NATO F-76 spec- ifications. Subsequently, the chapter will discuss the impact of these three fuels on three differently sized navy vessels, that are currently considered for replacement: diving vessels, seagoing support vessels, and future surface combatants. For these three use cases, the chapter also discusses the potential power and propulsion system configurations and the opportunities to reduce signatures by alternative power supplies, such as fuel cells and batteries. Based on this analysis, the chapter will propose a fuel selection strategy for future navy vessels and will discuss the required research and development that is required to achieve the identified opportunities. The chapter closes with conclusions and recommendations on the route towards a future fleet that can operate globally independent of fossil fuels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Security and the Mikitary
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Strategies, and Partnerships
EditorsGeorg Frerks, Rinze Geertsma, Jeroen Klomp, Tom Middendorp
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherLeiden University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789400604780
ISBN (Print)9789087284381
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

NameNetherlands Review of Military Studies (NL Arms)
PublisherLeiden University Press


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