After six years of hard work, the U.S. Navy, Biodiesel Industries, Inc. and Aerojet have developed a new system called ARIES which will provide a reliable source of renewable fuels for military use. The new portable biodiesel production unit, which was first demonstrated on September 1, can be controlled from a remote location anywhere in the world.

ARIES, which stands for Automated Real-time, Remote, Integrated Energy System, came into existence by combining the expertise of all three organizations. The Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center in Port Hueneme, California provided many of the resources needed, and Biodiesel Technologies provided a 10-year biodiesel production database. Aerojet joined the effort to provide expertise in integrated system design, fluidic management and control systems development, along with many years of experience in chemical formulation processes.

navy vehicle

The ARIES system will help produce biodiesel to fuel navy vehicles such as this U.S. Navy utility vehicle. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With the combined efforts, ARIES is able to provide real-time sensing and management of important processing and chemical information, resulting in automation of the entire process. Biodiesel Magazine reports that this enhances yields, makes quality control more reliable and assures personnel safety.

Biodiesel production has been recognized for its ability to make use of inexpensive feedstocks without competing with the production of food. According to Biodiesel Industries, the ability to use locally available non-food feedstocks for biodiesel requires a flexible process and technical expertise and control that are not easily associated with small-scale facilities. They state that with ARIES, however, one control center can operate hundreds of facilities, producing millions of gallons of biofuel each year.

This project was particularly important to the Navy since they are one of the world’s largest consumers of diesel fuel. For this reason, they believe that ARIES not only benefits the environment and the economy, but also national security.

The unit will be moved to the National Environmental Test Site at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme where the ARIES system will go through further validation and eventually be integrated with more complex systems at the site.

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