The U.S. Military, Biofuels and Biopower

By Anna Simet | August 30, 2013

This week, we held the November Biomass Magazine content meeting, the theme of which is U.S. Military Biofuels and Biopower Outlook.

I think it’s obvious why this made our themes for 2013. The U.S. Department of Defense—the  Army, Navy and Marine Corps and the Air Force—have some ambitious goals and mandates for renewable energy and biofuels over the next couple of decades.

Here are a few examples:

*Executive Order 13423 of 2007 requires federal agencies to reduce energy intensity by three percent annually or 30 percent by end of fiscal year 2015 (compared to FY 2003 baseline), with the goal of improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Agencies must reduce their vehicle fleets’ total consumption of petroleum by two percent annually through the end of FY15 (FY 2005 baseline).

*Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: Section 431 requires federal buildings to reduce total energy use by 30 percent by 2015 (FY 2003 baseline).

*National Defense Authorization Act of 2010: Section 2842 requires DOD to produce or procure 25 percent of facility energy use from renewable sources beginning in 2025.

*The Department of Navy must sail the “Great Green Fleet,” demonstrating a Green Strike Group (biofuels and nuclear powered vessels) in local operations by 2012 (which has happened) and sail the Great Green Fleet by 2016.

*The Department of Navy must reduce non‐tactical petroleum use in the commercial fleet by 50 percent by 2015 and produce at least 50 percent of shore‐based energy from alternative sources by 2020; 50 percent of Navy and Marine Corps installations will be net‐zero by 2020.

*By 2020, 50 percent of total energy consumption from the Navy and Marine Corps will come from alternative sources.

 These goals—and this list isn’t exhaustive—are exciting to our industry, but there are still lots of important questions remaining, especially the cost, per gallon of biofuel/jet fuel produced, compared to fossil-based fuel, and how much feedstock will be required.

As one of our editorial board members stated during the meeting, we know there are many brilliant people with great technologies, and many companies are in the race to deliver.  To many, however, the question is no longer “Can we?” Rather, it is “Should we?”

Only time will tell. We have great confidence in the U.S. military, their goals and and the people dedicating their lives to help meet them.

We hope the November issue reflects that.


2 Responses

  1. Richard Rodriguez



    Well the question is whose on board. As I follow global biofuel and biomass power plant deals the question remains who pays for the fuel and yes where does the feedstock come from and can they supply it in a dedicated way. President Obama the EPA, DOA & DOE are all on board to be sure but as for subsidies or financing it sure is happening slow! Biomass grass such as Giant King, Micanthus, Switch, Reed and Bamboo and Rice. Which is best! I'm a believer but we are a very long way from the pump!

  2. ANON



    SIR/MS: Sierra Club adherents and Biomass Supporters need to solicit our Senators and Congress to alter the new "Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU ACT) to include large tax credits ($1.00 per gallon) for gas stations to sell Butanol Gas Blends (24%), Hydrogen Gas, Bio Deisel, CNG (Propane & Natural Gas) and installation of related kits for both Cars and Trucks. And tax credits for individuals whom get engine conversions to burn Bio Diesels and other alternate energy fuels. Likewise, and local state EPA supported coal to liquids or gas conversion plants should be Federally EPA approved automatically. And the largest Ethanol Plants (production over 20 million gallons per year) should be given Federal Funding to convert to Butanol Production (Cost is $15 Million each). This is needed to make the United States energy self sufficient and to give every American some relief from high Fuel & Energy costs and costs associated with transportation of goods via truck.

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