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Given that the United States military spends a large amount of its resources fighting to secure regions of the world that are most important as a source of crude oil, it would certainly make tactical sense to reduce its dependence on those fuels. Some small scale tests of biofuels in military vehicles have occurred in recent years.

The U.S. Navy has now decided to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a large-scale move to biofuels. Energy consumption will become a standard component of all purchasing decisions over the next several years. By 2012, the navy wants to have a "green strike group" of nuclear and biofuel vessels sailing with a larger fleet by 2016 that also includes biofuel-powered aircraft. By the end of the decade, the navy wants half of all its energy needs to come from alternative fuels.

Since a large part of the fleet is based out of Hawai'i, the military will be working with sugarcane growers there to produce the advanced biofuels.

[Source: U.S. Department of Energy]


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  • 6 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very interesting and exciting. I hope that they use di-methyl ether diesel as fuel for the diesel engines. It is made from methanol which in turn can be made from any biomass, including crop residues and sewage.

      As late as 1945 when they were on the ropes the Japanese made tens of thousands of fighter planes, but had no fuel because they had no oil. Not a single fighter rose to challenge the Enola Gay as it approached Hiroshima. The German military ground to a halt when it failed to capture the Caucasus, lost the Romanian oil fields, and had its coal-to-oil plant bombed. Fuel is of crucial military importance, but unlike in World War 2 when the Allies had a crushing majority of the world supply and the Axis had nearly none, today OPEC has 78% of reserves and rising.

      We simply MUST move beyond petroleum!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Very, very few of the USN's ships operate under diesel power. Those that aren't nuclear powered (Carriers, SSNs, SSBNs) operate via a gas turbine system (FFGs, DDGs, CGs, LCS, LPH, LHD), which is basically a jet engine. These engines use a variant of JP5 jet fuel to power them, so a biomass diesel won't work.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having the US government commit to buy biofuels is a better way to support the indyustry than just giving away a subsidy
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the military knows something that most of the general public does not know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They just released a report that said that world oil production would start to decline in 2012 and that by 2015 daily production could be 10mb less than demand. That is about the amount of oil that the united states burns through every day.

        The military released the report to the public, but US news organizations didn't report it.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have done research making biodiesel from algae.It would make sense to use the sugar cane to grow algae. Does anyone have more details about feedstocks the navy will be using?