Friday, March 25, 2011

alternative fuels useless to the military

NYTimes | The United States would derive no meaningful military benefit from increased use of alternative fuels to power its jets, ships and other weapons systems, according to a government-commissioned study by the RAND Corporation scheduled for release Tuesday.

The report also argued that most alternative-fuel technologies were unproven, too expensive or too far from commercial scale to meet the military’s needs over the next decade.

In particular, the report argued that the Defense Department was spending too much time and money exploring experimental biofuels derived from sources like algae or the flowering plant camelina, and that more focus should be placed on energy efficiency as a way of combating greenhouse gas emissions.

The report urged Congress to reconsider the military’s budget for alternative-fuel projects. But if such fuels are to be pursued, the report concluded, the most economic, environmentally sound and near-term candidate would be a liquid fuel produced using a combination of coal and biomass, as well as some method for capturing and storing carbon emissions released during production.

The findings by the nonprofit research group, which grew out of a directive in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act calling for further study of alternative fuels in military vehicles and aircraft, are likely to provoke much debate in Washington.

The Obama administration has directed billions of dollars to support emerging clean-energy technologies even as Congress has been unwilling to pass any sort of climate or renewable energy legislation.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is seeking to improve the military’s efficiency and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels over the coming decade, devoting $300 million in economic stimulus financing and other research money toward those goals.

RAND’s conclusions drew swift criticism from some branches of the military — particularly the Navy, which has been leading the foray into advanced algae-based fuels.

3 comments:

Peter V L said...

Perhaps no tactical benefit, but if we can get fuel right here at home that would mean less of a need to send our folks to the middle east.

CNu said...

What fuels do you have in mind?

Dale Asberry said...

That is exactly the point that John Michael Greer makes over at The Archdruid Report. The BEST we can do is diffuse solar energy. Considering how much of the Earth's dry surface we dedicate to energy for our bodies, how would we ever be possible to get the 10,000x we need to propel our cars let alone heat or electrify our homes or workplaces. It wouldn't even come near to the 1,000,000x we need to build these computers we use every day.