Military Tops in Alternative Fuels Use

John Davis

A new report says America’s warfighters are leaders in the use of alternative fuels.

This story from says a Pew Charitable Trust report has good news about the U.S. Department of Defense’s use of solar, geothermal and biodiesel:

According to [Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew Charitable Trusts’ climate and energy programs], DoD accounts for 80 percent of the U.S. government’s energy consumption, which amounts to 330,000 barrels of oil and 3.8 billion kilowatts of electricity per day for more than 500 major military installations. However, she said, the department is working to meet its stated goal of having one-fourth of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025.

The report, “Reenergizing America’s Defense: How the Armed Forces Are Stepping Forward to Combat Climate Change and Improve U.S. Energy Posture,” details how the department and military services are progressing toward that goal. Amanda J. Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus; and John W. Warner, a former Navy secretary, were involved in the report and the conference call.

The decreasing reliance on fossil fuels “will make us better warfighters,” Mabus said, by reducing dependence on oil from volatile nations, and by freeing up warfighters from delivering as much fuel and reducing the high-risk of attacks on convoys that carry it.

In Afghanistan, troops are using solar-powered water purification systems to decrease the use of fossil fuels and the need to haul water, Mabus said. Marines there are using things such as spray-on insulation to keep tents warm in winter and cool in summer, and Marines at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia are testing alternative fuels and other products to reduce the need to ship fuel to Afghanistan, he said.

Additional examples of how the Navy is going green include developing a carrier strike group that will run completely on alternative fuels; powering the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake by geothermal sources; and commissioning the USS Makin Island, a large-deck amphibious ship propelled by both gas and electric engines.

And don’t forget, it was just last month that the Air Force flew for the first time an A-10 Thunderbolt II, better known as the Warthog, on a biomass-based jet fuel.

Biodiesel, Geothermal