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Biofuels for Fighter Aircraft

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Last week, a broad coalition of national security groups, organizations representing farmers who grow energy crops, the advanced biofuels industry, the customers who purchase advanced biofuels and the pilots who safely fly on them applauded the Department of Defense for taking critical steps to implement its strategy to achieve important national security objectives through the Defense Production Act (DPA) Advanced Drop-In Biofuels Production Project.

The DPA Project is focused on creating public-private partnerships that will provide incentives for private-sector investment in cost competitive, advanced biofuels production capability. The Department of Defense announcement of the first phase of contract awards under this program confers a portion of funding to Emerald Biofuels LLC, based in Golf, Illinois; Natures BioReserve LLC in South Sioux City, Nebraska; and Fulcrum Brighton Biofuels LLC in Pleasanton, California. These and other entities eligible for future awards will be responsible for matching private investments.

“Adopting advanced “drop-in” biofuels will help the DoD and the nation achieve its broader national security goals,” the groups said. “As the largest institutional consumer of liquid fuels in the world, the U.S. military is incredibly susceptible to the volatile global oil market. The DoD estimates that every 25 cent increase in the price of a gallon of petroleum-based fuel costs the military $1 billion in additional fuel costs. It is increasingly important to find domestically produced alternatives to improve the country’s energy security, meet global energy demands, and provide jobs, while strengthening our military and domestic economy.

“The DoD’s partnership with private industry is a critical step towards achieving these goals. Already, private companies have made substantial investments in research and development to ensure access to these advanced biofuels. The U.S. Navy proved biofuels’ efficacy as a fuel with its successful debut of the “Great Green Fleet,” the first aircraft carrier strike group to be powered by 50-50 mixtures of biofuels and petroleum-based fuel. And the Air Force continues to certify its aircraft to operate on a variety of 50-50 biofuel blends, with a goal of sourcing up to 50% of its domestic aviation fuel requirements from alternative fuels by 2016.

“By pursuing new processes and technologies for producing next-generation biofuels, we are working to accelerate innovation in a critical and growing sector that will help to improve U.S. energy security and sustain the U.S. military’s readiness.”