Greening America's Military
No, we're not talking about the color of their uniforms or vehicles. It's the fuel that powers the American military that brought together Agricultural Department Secretary Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Chu and Secretary of the Navy Mabus, along with Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council, to announce that the federal government will be investing upwards of $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation."
Drop-in fuels are biomass-derived fuels that can be substituted for petroleum-based fuel. It is not ethanol, especially corn-based. It can be derived from crop residues and other biomass and animal wastes. Biofuels Digest reports that two of the more promising pathways the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium’s (NABC) have identified are:
- Fermentation of Lignocellulosic Sugars (FLS), led by Amyris. The FLS technology focuses on converting biomass into sugars that can be biologically and chemically converted into a renewable diesel fuel. This renewable diesel is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be blended up to 35% with conventional diesel.
- Catalysis of Lignocellulosic Sugars (CLS), led by Virent. The CLS technology focuses on converting biomass into sugars that can be chemically and catalytically converted into an array of gasoline and diesel fuel components. Preliminary tests of these fuel components look encouraging for their use as drop-in fuels for both gasoline and diesel.
The entire 30-minute press conference, held on 16 August 2011, is available in MP3 format. Click either of the two icons (QuickTime, Windows Media Player) in the right-hand column to listen.