Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their departments to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems. This agreement will simultaneously strengthen the economic recovery in rural America, creating new jobs and new industries that cannot be exported; enhance our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign oil; and address the challenge of climate change.
The Obama Administration has been engaged in these efforts since May 2009, when President Obama established the Biofuels Interagency Working Group, an effort to help coordinate efforts across the federal government to advance biofuels research and commercialization. This agreement creates a strong partnership that promotes clean energy technologies and will help stimulate additional private investment and innovation to develop the next generation of biofuels. In fiscal year 2008, the Navy alone consumed nearly 1.2 billion gallons of petroleum, predominantly in fuel for ships and aircraft.
To demonstrate the potential of this partnership, the Marine Corps had on display a prototype Light Armored Vehicle or LAV. The U.S. Army’s Tank and Automotive Command, has for the past 6 months conducted tests with biofuels in LAVs ranging in biofuel mixture level from 5%-30%. The Department of the Navy is committed to testing biofuels for use in its aircraft, surface ships and tactical vehicles like LAVs. The LAV-25A2 on display is mechanically the same as the LAV-25 operating in Afghanistan.
Tony Russell is Communication Advisor for the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.