Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Report says biofuels aren't right for U.S. military

The biofuels industry took a hit today. A government-commissioned study concluded that the U.S. would derive "no meaningful military benefit" from increasing its use of alternative fuels. The report from the RAND Corporation "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," Tom Zeller Jr. of The New York Times reports. The report also argued, "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," Zeller writes.

If biofuels are to be pursued as a strategy for the military cutting greenhouse gas emissions, 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," Zeller writes. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research group, and the study grew out of a directive in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act calling for further study of alternative fuels in military vehicles and aircraft. (Read more)

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