Alternative Energy-Good Enough for the Military

Alternative energy from solar, wind and bio-fuels really do work, and the military is proving it.

Over the last year I have read a few times about the Navy and Marines going “green” and it has me wondering if it is good enough, and efficient enough, for them what about the rest of us?

The idea that solar and bio-fuels are somehow inferior to coal and oil will have to be put aside as we find out that a 50/50 blend of conventional jet fuel and camelina aviation bio-fuel (made from pressed mustard seeds) powered a F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet past the sound barrier. The Navy is only testing fuels that do not compete with food supplies, so no corn made ethanol will be part of these test programs since it does not have enough energy density for the costs involved, it has a relatively high carbon footprint, and it uses valuable cropland that should be used for food (and I will add, food that humans eat directly not grain for factory-raised animals).

The Navy’s maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Makin Island assault ship-powered by a hybrid gas turbine/electric motor-from Mississippi to San Diego saved $2 million in fuel. Testing is also underway for algae produced bio-fuel as well as solar powered base camps.

While lobbyists have had continued success keeping the country on an unhealthy energy diet of coal, oil and other ineffiecient, high carbon footprint fuels (and our leaders seem to lack the will to act on what is really in the country’s best interests), the military has the power and clout to say no to continuing on this dangerous energy diet. You can read more about this exciting transition in what may seem like an unlikely place in this New York Times article.

I just ask, if it’s good enough for the military when will the rest of the country get to join up?