Archive for Airforce
www.nytimes.com 4th October 2010
The United States military is experimenting with renewable energies due to the vulnerability of fossil fuel transportation on the battlefield. With the military frequently in operation in remote parts of the world with limited access to fuel, military officials have come to see a reliance on fossil fuels as a liability to combat effectiveness. As a result, whereas many businesses in the USA have put renewable energy projects on hold due to the recession, the US army has pushed ahead with energy reform. Current fuel convoys have drawn the attention of insurgent attacks and new statistics show that for every 24 convoys that set out, one soldier or civilian engaged in fuel transport is killed. No where in the problem more acute than in the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan where parked convoys are regularly attacked and torched by Taliban fighters. However, the change in attitude to fossil fuels is not just for increased fuel reliability. It would also free up troops set aside to guard fuel depots and convoys and make units more mobile and independent. The US navy alone (including the marines) intends to have 50% of its energy needs met by renewables by 2020 including power for military bases and electric transport. An electric vessel called USS Makin Island is already in use and saved 900,000 gallons of fuel on its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego. The US airforce has also stated that its entire fleet will be able to run on bio-fuels by 2011 allowing the military to grow crops wherever their airfields are.