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US Navy goes green while Australia follows

AAP logoAAP 15/08/2016 Anna Hitchings

They may be huge grey beasts that roam the blue oceans but the United States Navy is going green.

The US Navy is paving the way for energy efficiency with its Great Green Fleet (GGF) and Australia is not far behind.

"Green" vessel USS Stethem, which has docked at Sydney's Garden Island naval base as a flagship of the fleet, aims to minimise its impact on the environment through energy-saving means, including exchanging coal for diesel-based biofuel and replacing fluorescent lights with LED.

The Royal Australian Navy is also following in the GGF's wake, with Australian Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer saying biofuels, lighting and other energy-efficient solutions are being looked into.

"The Defence Science and Technology Organisation is working with the US and we're moving beyond biofuel into other things like lighting and engineering controls," Rear Adml Mayer told AAP on Monday.

The organisation is also looking at paint that repels marine growth, meaning slicker movement through the water, reducing fuel consumption, Rear Adml Mayer said.

The GGF has converted 80 per cent of its lighting to LED and is looking at increasing that to 100 per cent over the next year, USS Stethem commanding officer Doug Pegher said.

"The GGF has been a year-long initiative to take a look at how the (US) navy uses energy overall and to really focus on how we can be more energy-efficient," Commander Pegher told AAP.

Rear Adml Mayer echoed his comments, saying something as small as a light globe or new paint can make a difference, long term.

"It's better for us at an operating cost, it's better for the environment and it's better for society," Rear Adml Mayer said.

The 154m USS Stethem will remain in Sydney for a few days before before embarking on routine operations.

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