Military biofuels: Penny wise?

T-45C Goshawk landing aboard USS John F Kennedy (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Tommy Gilligan)

The Republican-led House Armed Services Committee voted earlier this week to stop the Department of Defense from buying alternative fuels that cost more than fossil-based fuels. This would halt current US military programs that have been testing biofuels and other alternative fuel technologies that could reduce our reliance on oil from the Middle East.

As Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, put it last year:

For the military, it creates a strategic challenge because too much of our oil comes from either potentially or actually volatile places on Earth. We don’t have to do anymore than read the headlines about that. We would never allow the countries that we buy petroleum products from to build our ships or our aircraft or our ground vehicles. But we give them a say as to whether those ships sail or those airplanes fly or those ground vehicles operate. We give them a say because they provide fuel for it.

And probably not coincidentally:

Beyond the immediate effect on military operations, the House action could also throw a wrench in a major Obama Administration biofuel initiative that was designed to provide a long term economic boost to struggling rural communities.

Launched last summer, the initiative pairs USDA with the Navy and the Department of Energy in a $510 million partnership with the private sector, to develop a biofuel supply chain including research and development, growing and harvesting biofuel crops, transportation, and refining.

Among the states who have been working to position themselves to take advantage of this biofuels program are not only those in the “breadbasket” Midwest but also Arizona and Texas.

Given the realities of election year politics, we shall see which special interest prevails here.


  1. Why biofuels at all? Why not experiment with permanent magnetic generators? No fuel, just power. Sounds like science fiction? Let the military prove it to be fact or fiction. So far everybody who’s running tests of these generators say it’s fact and several generators have been running for months without fail 24/7.

        • The first one is a tiny mockup, the second says ” these technology’s are suppressed by The Controlling Freemasonry powers that all lead to Rome (Knights of Malta and Society of Jesus)” which does not inspire confidence in me.

          Show me a working model that has been running for months and you’ll convince me.

          Lots of people with no love for traditional energy are putting hundreds of billions in alt energy. If magnetic generators worked, they’d be using them now. What you’re talking about is perpetual motion, which does not and can not exist, mainly because of that little thing called friction.

  2. It is biology and thermodynamics that conspire against biofuels. The fatal flaws of crop-based liquid biofuels include EROI, water footprint, GHG footprint including N2O, greater rather than lesser dependence upon fossil fuel per gallon, and land/fertilizer/water competition with food. The net effect of all these is reflected in the economics and is why the price of biofuels will never be competitive with fossil fuels as long as the hydrogen in the world’s fertilizer comes from natural gas methane. The Navy just set a new Department of Defense record for fuel price in February by paying $245,000 to Albemarle Corp. to make 55 gallons of jet fuel from 100 gallons of Cobalt biobutanol. That works out to $4,454.55 a gallon or $187,000 a barrel, and that doesn’t include the cost of making the biobutanol in the first place.  This beat the previous record of $427 a gallon for Algae oil.  Somebody has to say stop.

Comments are closed.