From Barracks to Battlefield

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From Barracks to Battlefield

Pew Charitable Trusts this week released “From Barracks to Battlefield,” a report that finds that U.S. Department of Defense clean energy investments increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion, and are projected to eclipse $10 billion annually by 2030.

Press release and more information here. And as you can see, video below.

You’ll notice at the 1:26 mark in this video, a fighter pilot states: “You cannot tell there is biofuel in the plan. And I absolutely mean that.”

I wonder if there might be a bit of a difference. Not so much in plane performance, but in quality of life for the pilot and crew.

Five years ago, I managed a press conference for a startup energy company that provided vegetable-oil based fuel for a pilot program in Hammond, Indiana. In addition to elected officials, environmental specialists, we showcased one of the garbage trucks that was using the new fuel. Our point, of course, was to show that the truck performed just as well as before but with significantly less harm to the environment. Another added benefit, of course, was that the trucks smelled pleasantly of french fries instead of diesel fumes.

There was one other benefit that we hadn’t realized: No more headaches for the drivers. Apparently, chronic headaches are an occupational hazard when driving a truck. As soon as they switched to the vegetable oil fuel, the headaches were gone. According to the drivers I spoke with, that alone was enough to convince them to switch to the new fuel.

Given the huge amount of diesel fuel used by the military, one has to imagine that increase the use of alternative fuel is going to have a huge impact on quality of life for thousands of personnel. Just one more reason to encourage clean energy.