Defense

July 13, 2012

DOD must have petroleum fuel alternatives, official says

by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

Smart investing and less reliance on petroleum-based fuels will help ensure an agile, lethal and adaptable combat force, and ultimately, national security, a senior Pentagon official said here today during an Energy Department-hosted conference.

During “Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy,” Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, called biofuels and alternative fuels “sustainable and reliable” ways the United States can accomplish the defense mission.

“Energy security is about international stability and prosperity and that is fundamentally an issue of national security,” Burke said. “We’re looking for fuels that are compatible with our existing equipment and storage infrastructure and a cost-competitive alternative fuels market.”

Although accounting for less than 1 percent of all domestic energy use, the Defense Department remains the single largest consumer of energy in the nation, Burke said.

“Last year, our energy bills totaled $20 billion and we consumed about 5 billion gallons of petroleum,” she explained, adding that 75 percent of DOD’s consumption is operational energy required for training, moving and sustaining military equipment and weapons.

“The department is going to have ships, planes and vehicles that were designed to use petroleum fuels for a very long time to come,” Burke said. “[Alternative fuels] investment ensures our equipment can operate on a wide range of fuels, and that’s important for our readiness over the long term.” Burke also noted the DOD’s long history of innovation and the role bioenergy will play in future missions.

“Hydrogen-powered unmanned aerial vehicles have the potential to achieve much longer mission durations than those that are powered by traditional petroleum-based products, … and the department is interested in technologies that can generate fuel or energy at a tactical location.”

“The Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines have all recognized the vulnerability of our singular dependence on petroleum,” Burke said. “They’ve all taken a first step toward a different future by certifying their equipment to operate on a range of alternative fuels, … and that certification activity is really important.”

Burke said her office coordinated with the services and key defense agencies to form an alternative fuels policy for operational platforms.

“It articulates the defense interest in alternative fuels to ensure operational military readiness, improve battlespace effectiveness and further flexibility of military operations through the ability to use multiple, reliable fuel sources,” she said.

The policy also establishes clear guidelines for future investment in alternative fuels for testing and certification activities, field demonstrations and bulk purchases to meet operational requirements beyond those certification and demonstration activities.

“With this policy in place, … we will definitely continue to have a strong commitment to alternative fuels to enhance the capability of the joint force,” she said.

Burke said the issue isn’t whether or when biofuels will trump petroleum in terms of price and availability. Rather, she said, it’s whether the United States will be primed for viable alternatives.

“Today we have to keep investing in the legacy economy because our global prosperity depends on it,” she said. “We will have the energy we need to defend the American people, [and] I believe … alternative fuels will be an important part of that future.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OĆ­Shea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communicati...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>