In its latest move to spur biofuels development and use by the military, the Obama administration is using the Defense Production Act, legislation more than a half-century old that has been used to boost industries such as steel, aluminum, titanium, semiconductors, beryllium, and radiation-hardened electronics.
“DPA is a critical component of strengthening our national security, and energy is a national security issue,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “Our reliance on foreign oil is a significant military vulnerability and it would be irresponsible not to address it. Pursuing a viable, domestic alternative is the best way to preserve the budget for operational necessities like training and shipbuilding, and this funding opportunity is an important step in accelerating an economically self-sufficient alternative fuels market.”
Along with the new military biofuels initiative, the military this week announced new investments totaling $32 million in earlier stage biofuels research. The funding includes $20 million “to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae,” the DOE said.