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Journey to Energy Independence

U.S. Military Initiatives

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, creating fear of oil shortages—the price of oil doubled.

In 2008, oil futures began bidding at over $100 per barrel reaching $147, with no visible sign of an oil shortage or a tangible threat of supply interruption.

What would another Arab oil embargo do? Or, God forbid, what would happen if Iran succeeds at making a nuclear bomb and gives it to Islamic militants who then detonate the bomb in the Saudi oil fields, destroying Saudi oil production? The price of Iran's oil, along with all other oil on the world market, would immediately skyrocket to over $300 per barrel. The price of gasoline and diesel would increase to over $10 per gallon in the USA and could go as high as $15-$20 combined with severe fuel rationing. What would that do to the U.S. economy? What would that cost the American people in real dollars? Jobs lost, retail sales falling, housing market collapsing... The current banking and financial crisis woud seem like a picnic by comparison.

Freedom is not Free

Given the fact that a large percentage of the fuel that powers U.S. military vehicles and aircraft is made from foreign oil, America's oil dependence undermines the U.S. military’s ability to respond to a national security emergency.

It is time for U.S. leaders—our Governors and elected Legislators—to support a national energy plan that will end our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

The U.S. Department of Defense has asked the Western governors to consider the development of local synthetic fuel refineries: “The Department of Defense (DoD) is working to produce synthetic fuels from coal, biomass, and oil shale. Given the West's vast reserves of these natural resources, DoD would like to open a dialogue with Western governors on the opportunities to the West that such an effort presents.”
Proposal to Western Governors from the Office of Secretary of Defense
size: 21Kb - 2 pages

The USA has more coal than the Middle East has oil

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the United States Department of Defense (DoD), has estimated that the cost of a 100,000 barrel per day 21st century Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) synthetic fuels plant will be about 6 billion dollars.
For the price of the Wall Street bailout—$700 billion—the DoD could build more than 100 new CTL plants, which would produce over ten million barrels of CTL synthetic fuel per day — Creating millions of U.S. jobs, directly and indirectly; and stopping the export of $400 billion per year to foreign governments in payment for their oil. The money would remain in this country, invested in USA communities and families.

“DoD intends to catalyze the commercial industry to produce clean fuels for the military from secure domestic resources using environmentally sensitive processes that create jobs and wealth in the United States.”
Department of Defense - Clean Fuels Initiative size: 1Mb - 22 pages

Peace through Strength
Strength through Energy Independence

Air Force Research Laboratory leads way to test, certify synthetic fuels

Air Force synthetic fuel team receives the Federal Aviation Administration's 2007 Excellence in Aviation Award

B-52 tests alternative jet engine fuel

B-52 flight uses synthetic fuel in all eight engines

C-17 Globemaster
C-17 uses synthetic fuel on transcontinental flight

B-52 Undergoes Synthetic-Fuel Cold Weather Testing

B-52 testing synthetic fuel at Minot

Pentagon Plans Major Alternative Fuel Buys


Air Force tests synthetic fuel in ground vehicles
An R-11 fueler at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., pumps synthetic S8 FT fuel into another vehicle that normally runs on JP-8 jet fuel. The Air Force Advanced Power Technology Office at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is developing a synthetic fuel for use in ground vehicles. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The USA has an abundance of domestic hydrocarbons that can replace imported crude oil:

U.S. coal reserves contain 12 times as much energy as all the oil in Saudi Arabia
According to the United States Geological Survey, The U.S. has 1.7 trillion tons of identified coal resources — coal for which geological evidence and engineering studies provide reliable information about location, rank, quality, and quantity. (Geologists recognize that more coal deposits are likely to be discovered in the future, so they estimate total coal resources could amount to 4 trillion tons.)

Much of the coal we know about cannot be mined today, because it would be too costly or existing technology doesn't allow it. It may be too deep, for example, or the quality may not meet current needs. So to be realistic, experts estimate that 472 billion tons of that coal are potentially recoverable. This is called the demonstrated reserve base.

Mining techniques leave a good deal of coal in place, so the amount of coal that experts estimate actually can be mined is called the recoverable reserve base. It amounts to an estimated 267 billion tons — 29 percent of the entire world's recoverable coal!

The United States has almost 270 billion tons of recoverable coal — and, if anyone thinks the USA may run out of coal soon, consider the North American oil shale deposits are far greater than American coal deposits. American oil shale is estimated to hold over 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil.

“The U.S. Military consumes about four percent of total U.S. fuel consumption, and nearly three-quarters of that is aviation fuel. The military is seeking more-secure sources for its fuel as part of the Secretary of Defense’s Assured Fuels Initiative, a broad-spectrum program to push for certification of fuels derived from domestic resources.”
U.S. Air Force Tinkers With Synthetic Fuel

B1 Lancer
B-1B Lancer Strategic Bomber powered by a 50/50 blend of synthetic and petroleum fuel accelerated to supersonic speeds over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on March 19, 2008.



August 20, 2008 — an F-15 is prepped for a test flight using synthetic fuel at Robins Air Force Base.

“Beginning with a 15,000-foot, afterburner-assisted vertical climb, then climaxed by a four-minute supersonic dash from Columbus to Dublin, Robins Air Force Base officials put the historic finishing touches Wednesday on the use of synthetic fuel in an F-15 fighter aircraft.

“The afternoon flight was a carbon copy of Tuesday's test. Both proved that the high performance fighter will perform normally when powered by a 50-50 mix of traditional JP-8 jet fuel and a synthetic made from natural gas. Major Dan Badia, the pilot in both test flights, said he noticed no performance differences in the synthetic-powered aircraft.

“It was the Air Force's - and the world's - first test of a supersonic fighter using the synthetic fuel. The fuel mix already is certified for use on much larger B-52, B-1 and C-17 aircraft.

“Ryan Mead, an F-15 fuels engineer at Robins, said JP-8 and the synthetic fuel have virtually the same properties. 'There are some differences, but nothing major,' he said. 'The synthetic fuel's density is a little lower and the net heat of combustion is a little higher, but for all practical purposes you get the same range and acceleration.'”
The Sun News

Recommeded YouTube videos:
USAF Synthetic Fuel
B-1 Uses synthetic fuel
C-17 Synthetic Fuel Demonstrator
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Energy Independence
Can Synthetic Fuels Give the Air Force Energy Independence?

Recommended reading:
Nexus—OIL and AL Qaeda — By Dr. Frank H. Denton, U.S. Foreign Service

Defense Energy Support Center

USAF Progresses On Alternative Fuels
Air Force to Wall Street: Invest in coal conversion
Army Unveils First Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System for New Combat Vehicles  — The Army unveiled its first hybrid-electric propulsion system for a new fleet of Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs), which will be tested and evaluated at the Power and Energy Systems Integration Laboratory (P&E SIL) in Santa Clara. The Army is developing and building eight new MGV variants for 15 Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Teams (FCS BCTs). All eight commonly-designed MGV variants will provide Soldiers with enhanced survivability, increased speed and mobility, new network-based capabilities, and more modern, modular technology. The Army is using hybrid-electric power because the more modern FCS BCTs have much greater electrical power requirements than the current-force Heavy BCTs. Hybrid-electric vehicles provide the requisite electrical power because they employ a rechargeable energy storage system. An ancillary benefit of the hybrid-electric vehicles is improved fuel economy and less reliance on oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. The Army has long been at the forefront of developing hybrid-electric vehicles. In fact, the Army's hybrid-electric vehicles are significantly more robust and more powerful than commercial hybrid vehicles. The first hybrid-electric MGV variant, the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), will commence production in late 2008. “The MGV drive train is unique,” said Colonel Bryan McVeigh, product manager for MGV systems integration. “The traditional engine has been de-coupled from the drive train architecture and is designed only to recharge the energy storage system and power the vehicular systems.  “The hybrid drive system alone,” he added, “literally will move the vehicle. This is a new and better way of moving across the battlefield.”

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