Currently, the U.S. Navy's preferred fuel of all fossil-fueled, surface ship power systems is a middle distillate fuel conforming to the requirements of MIL-F-16884H, Fuel, Naval Distillate (NATO F-76). In recent years, the Navy has been finding it more difficult to obtain F-76, especially in foreign ports. In order to address the potential problem of reduced F-76 availability and to begin planning for the introduction of synthetic fuels such as shale oil products, the Energy Research and Development Office of the David W. Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center commissioned a shipboard fuels flexibility study. The overall objective of this program is to develop a comprehensive strategy for using a broadened specification fuel on board Navy ships.
This paper presents a summary of work performed to characterize commercial marine fuels from various countries around the globe. Since the marine fuels marketplace is the most likely source of alternate fuels to be used by the Navy, characterization of the fuels in this marketplace is a necessary step in the development of a broadened fuel specification. Fuels of primary (near term) interest are marine gas oils and heavy marine gas oils; those of secondary interest are marine diesel fuels and intermediate fuel oils.