Two Democrats joined Republicans yesterday on a Senate committee to block the U.S. military from increasing its use of alternatives fossil fuels.


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Two Democrats joined Republicans yesterday on a Senate committee to block the U.S. military from increasing its use of alternatives fossil fuels.

What stood out to me in this article was the following quote:

As part of this support, in December the Navy agreed to spend $12 million for 450,000 gallons of “advanced biofuels,” which can be blended with petroleum in a 50:50 mixture and burned in conventional engines. The Navy and Air Force have both set a goal of using advanced biofuels for 50% of their fuel use by the end of this decade. But the current $26-a-gallon price tag angered congressional Republicans, who accuse the Obama Administration of using the military to support its green agenda. [emphasis mine]

$26 per gallon for biofuels? I find it astonishing that anyone voted for this program.

Of course the military wants options. And of course we want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, if only to reduce the money pouring into the hands of the radical Islamists of the Middle East. But at that price, these alternative fuels are simply not competitive or affordable.

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5 comments

  • Jim

    Its astonishing that this committee would reject the military’s call for an effort to find alternatives to traditional fuels. It could not be more short sighted.
    The history of innovation coming from the military has been profound. And why so? Because it is allowed to spend the money and time to develop those innovations that make us safer. The internet, GPS, radar, nuclear power, etc. And then those innovations translate to commercial products.
    Its the last quote that is more compelling than the one you used:
    “While the Navy does not intend to purchase alternative liquid fuels for operational use until they are price competitive with petroleum-based fuels, the Navy needs flexibility to continue the testing and certification of all potential alternative fuel pathways to ensure the Navy has an ‘off-ramp’ from conventional fuel sources,” Naval Chief of Operations Jonathan Greenert wrote to the committee this week. Of the new restrictions, Greenert added: “I believe this will impede America’s energy security.”
    I guess the Navy will have to leave it to someone else to develop the off-ramp. Ridiculous.

  • Jim

    By the way, here are two different “green” tests by the military with good results:
    A remote controlled destroyer sailing 150 miles on algae-based biofuel
    http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/62214-us-navy-sails-1200-miles-on-algae-biofuel

    Solar panels used by Marines in Afghanistan that cut costs 90%
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/afghanistans-green-marines-cut-fuel-use-by-90-percent/

    These military people just don’t want to stay in the 20th century, do they?

  • Kelly Starks

    $26 a gallon for diesel?!! Well, Obama did say power and fuel costs “..would have to skyrocket”

    ;/

    This is nuts the Navy agreed to spend $12 million on super costly diesel – but they have to hide $8 million a year they spend on the Polywell fusion reactor program thats actually working?!! Oh, and the US has discovered TRILLIONS of BARRELS of new oil in the US!!

    This is a new standard in stupid political pork.

  • Phil Berardelli

    There’s a simple distinction between fossil fuels and biofuels that everyone interested in this debate should remember (I covered energy policy for 14 years in the ’70s and ’80s). Fossil fuels represent concentrated energy formed over millions of years, and we have, by new estimates, hundreds of years of oil and natural gas within our own borders. The technology, now evolved over more than a century, is efficient and safe. Meanwhile, biofuels represent collecting energy essentially in real time. This sector is subject to the vagueries of growing seasons and climate. It’s the same drawback as solar and wind power. This is a political agenda, pure and simple. Fossil fuels helped to build this country, and a renewed emphasis on domestically produced fossil fuels will overcome the currently dismal economy and vastly improve this nation’s security. And, as a side benefit, the price of gasoline, kerosene jet fuel, and natural gas will drop dramatically. All it takes is a willingness to buck the nonsense that presently serves as this administration’s energy policy.

  • Kelly Starks

    Big agree. And for us now – after having found literally trillions of barrels of new sources in the US, to still be pushing biofuels or conservation as the long term strategy – its like the Saudis not wanting to become dependant on fossil fuel cars.
    ;/

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