DOD Use of Biofuels Enhances National Security

posted on January 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 29 – Today, the American Security Project (ASP) released a new report, “Advanced Biofuels and National Security” by Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate. This White Paper builds on ASP’s long history of demonstrating the importance of reducing oil use for national security and highlighting the work of the Department of Defense in promoting alternative fuels. This report demonstrates that developing advanced biofuels are important in reducing America’s dependence on oil; this dependence presents real national security threats to the United States and the American military.

Holland spoke about the contents of the paper on Monday, January 28 at the Washington Clean Technology Alliance’s conference, “Clean Energy: The New Public Policy Reality.” Also participating in the conference were former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Assistant Secretary of Defense Sharon Burke, Congressman Adam Smith, Governor Jay Inslee, and a range of clean technology entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the conference, Holland explained that advanced biofuels are “fuels made from a low-carbon, sustainable feedstock that can be blended into a fuel supply to provide a drop-in replacement for traditional fuels.” Over the last decade, the United States has seen a boom in the production of ethanol made from corn. Today, about 10% of the U.S. fuel supply is composed of corn-based ethanol: this is fuel that would otherwise be made from oil. However, further growth in this industry is unlikely. Advanced biofuels, made from feedstocks like algae, animal fats, grasses, or even municipal wastes, could grow much further.

Advanced biofuels can be refined to act as ‘drop in replacements’ of current fuels, whether diesel, jet fuel, or gasoline. These fuels have the potential for drop-in compatibility and interoperability with existing equipment and infrastructure. As such,

Rapid advances in advanced biofuel technology and expanding economies of scale that will come from government and private sector investments; the long-term potential for this industry means that it could become a key part of America’s entire fuel supply, reducing America’s dependence on oil and increasing our national security over the long run.

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