High Oil prices and imported supplies is turning the US’s defense department towards algae, seed oils and animal fat based substitutes adding yet another demand –side factor in the food vs. fuel debate
We know that the energy stored in a pound of pork or a bushel of corn can either feed a person or fuel a car. Now our food is also going to be used to fuel fighter planes and warships!
US Companies such as Dynamic Fuels, co-owned by Tyson Foods that make synthetic fuels from animal fats, greases, and vegetable oils and Solazyme that converts algae into fuel will supply the US The Navy 450,000 gallons of biofuel worth $12 million in what is being considered the largest biofuel purchase in U.S. government history.
Every 25-cent increase for a gallon of jet fuel adds $1 billion to the U.S. Defense Department’s annual energy costs and about 60 % of the department’s energy consumption in fiscal year 2010 was attributable to petroleum-based jet fuel. At the current market value of about $3 a gallon, jet fuel costs the department more than $12 billion a year.
Using cleaner, domestically produced fuels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in addition to increasing energy independence, reckons the Pentagon, the US’ single biggest energy consumer.
The US’ Navy and Marine Corps have fixed themselves a goal of ensuring that 50 % of the services’ energy supply comes from alternative energy such as biofuels and solar power by 2020; cutting fossil fuel use by its non-combat vehicles in half by 2015; and reducing fuel consumption on ships 15 percent by 2020.
The Pentagon’s spending on renewable energy increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion, and it is projected to reach more than $10 billion annually by 2030, according to a report issued last week by the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate.
Press releases below: