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Fat Replaces Oil In F-16s

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the top-grease-gun dept.

The Military 206

It looks like the military has finally figured out a way to combine Americans' love of french fries with their love of blowing stuff up. The Air Force says all of its 40-plus aircraft models will be able to burn biofuels by 2013, three years ahead of schedule. From the article: "The Army wants 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. The Navy and Marines aim to shift half their energy use from oil, gas and coal by 2020. 'Reliance on fossil fuels is simply too much of a vulnerability for a military organization to have,' U.S. Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus said in an interview. 'We’ve been certifying aircraft on biofuels. We’re doing solar and wind, geothermal, hydrothermal, wave, things like that on our bases.'”

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206 comments

Still using FAT? (5, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767608)

Everyone should've switched to NTFS by now...

I don't think the 386 based autopilot can run a (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767678)

I don't think the 386 based autopilot can run a os that can uses NTFS

Re:I don't think the 386 based autopilot can run a (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767880)

I don't think the 386 based autopilot can run a os that can uses NTFS

Perhaps not, but not because it is 386-based. WinNT 3.x, which featured NTFS, definitely ran on 386-based systems.

Re:I don't think the 386 based autopilot can run a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769254)

Why not? Didn't NT 3.1 run on a 386?

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767686)

Everyone should've switched to NTFS by now...

If puns were deli meat, yours would be the wurst.

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767774)

ext4 is standard, btrfs is future

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

Docmach (785888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768110)

I think you mean ZFS is the future and the future is now.

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768322)

Sadly Oracle is letting it die with an OS they are letting die. If SUN had really wanted it to live they would have used a different license for it.

Re:Still using FAT? (2)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768468)

Someone explain how we ended up in a geek troll about filesystems so fast off F-16 fighter jets?

Slashdot should have some sort of corollary to Godwin's law with
1- Apple bashing
2- Google bashing
3- File Systems
4- Emacs vs. vi
5- ???
6- profit !

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768520)

Troll?
I wish ZFS would survive, I hope new file-systems are created to do what it can. Oracle killing something like this is not a happy day for anyone. I know why SUN chose the CDDL, but in their shortsighted effort to keep ZFS for Solaris only they prevented it from living on after SUN was gone.

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768696)

Any reason why it can't be re-licensed with something more amicable?

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

Docmach (785888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768842)

Oracle could relicense it, but Oracle is a terrible company.

Re:Still using FAT? (1)

Docmach (785888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768828)

OpenIndiana seems to be doing pretty well outside of Oracle. It might never have the popularity of Linux but I use it for my home file server and it's been great. Joyent has also put a lot of money into developing OpenSolais so I don't think it's going to disappear any time soon.

Re:Still using FAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767812)

Recant and plug Reiser 4 or I will see to it no one ever finds your body.

coal? (3, Funny)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767680)

> The Navy and Marines aim to shift half their energy use from oil, gas and coal by 2020.

Didn't release you could run a F-16 on coal

Re:coal? (5, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767720)

You just have to shovel REALLY fast.

Re:coal? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768202)

Signal the boiler room crew. We're going to afterburners.

Re:coal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769070)

"I don't even want to tell you what these guys thought she meant."

Re:coal? (3, Funny)

DarksouldragonX (1082077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767788)

The ones that run on wind power are a pain in the ass to get started.

Re:coal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768532)

Yeah but once they get going...

Re:coal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767796)

The old Zeplins use to run on Blau gas which is gasified Coal. The idea was that Blaugas is the same density as air so you can take in air while expending fuel and the overall density of the air ship doesn't change making for a level amount of flight.

Re:coal? (3, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767916)

You can, though not directly by using kerosene from coal gasification plants.

It's tough (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767942)

You don't want to be the guy in the back shoveling the coal while the plane does a barrel roll.

Biofuels are not "fat" (1, Informative)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767690)

The oil is being replaced by oil. This story is insulting to the intelligence.

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (-1, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767870)

Its a religious thing. Geologists and science types can admit that petroleum is millions of year old partially decayed vegetable matter, but that is in direct opposition to some popular "old man in the sky told me to be anti-social towards nonbelievers and btw the earth is only 6000 years old" cults. So a press release has to pretend they are magically chemically different, like the bio fuels have organic life force added to them whereas petroleum oil is just dead, although burnable, rock. Think of organic chemistry back when people believed in "life force" vitalism.

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768126)

You sound like the anti-social one.

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768386)

I was just thinking the same thing

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769222)

It's anti-social to object to meaningless phrasing?

Unless the F-16s are going to be running on something that the average person would identify as "fat" rather than "jet fuel" then the headline as written is pretty stupid.

Even if a fuel is made from animal fats, it stops being fat when its refined into fuel. If my faucet breaks and I melt some ice cubes, it would be similarly stupid to say "Ice has replaced water in my glass."

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768742)

Think of organic chemistry back when people believed in "life force" vitalism.

...and alchemy

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768916)

There were theories that oil was made via abiogenic processes but it fell out of favor by the scientific community.

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (5, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768086)

From TFA:

The U.S. Air Force is set to certify all of its 40-plus aircraft models to burn fuels derived from waste oils and plants by 2013

The armed forces say they’ve been successful testing fuels produced from sources as diverse as animal fat, frying oils and camelina, an oil-bearing plant that’s relatively drought- and freeze-resistant.

“We can use an almost unlimited number of feedstocks to produce these fuels,” said Braun. “From a performance stand- point you can’t tell the difference whether you’re burning a camelina blend, a tallow blend, or another fuel that’s made up of a bunch of waste greases -- fry grease or seasoning grease.”

And from TFW [wikipedia.org]

Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure and composition. Although the words "oils", "fats", and "lipids" are all used to refer to fats, "oils" is usually used to refer to fats that are liquids at normal room temperature, while "fats" is usually used to refer to fats that are solids at normal room temperature. "Lipids" is used to refer to both liquid and solid fats, along with other related substances, usually in a medical or biochemical context. The word "oil" is also used for any substance that does not mix with water and has a greasy feel, such as petroleum (or crude oil), heating oil, and essential oils, regardless of its chemical structure.

The confusing point is that "oil" is a very generic term. They're switching from using fuel derived from petroleum (which is an "oil" but definitely not fat) to fuel derived from various renewable sources (many of which are oils and most of which are fats).

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768138)

More to the point, they're replacing inedible oil with edible oil. On the bright side, we'll be able to drive around while we look for food in times of war.

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (2)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768258)

Biodiesel is an ester. Ethanol is an alcohol. Neither of them are oil. And they clearly mean "petroleum oil" when they say "oil."

Re:Biofuels are not "fat" (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769250)

The headline should have been "biofuels replace petroleum..."

Can't be ignored any longer (3, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767710)

If military vehicles remain dependent on the same traditional fuel, it will ultimately be the collapse of the US.

I'd never really thought of this, but it makes good sense both militarily and environmentally. Economically, well, it's clear the economic sustainability of the military has never really been important.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (4, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767806)

This is something that Germany was very aware of [af.mil] in the aftermath or WWI and run-up to WWII. Having your nations military so beholden to outside sources gives others a stranglehold over it. Of course, the same could be said for the nation's economy as a whole...

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (2)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767874)

I'd never really thought of this, but it makes good sense both militarily and environmentally.

It doesn't make sense environmentally. Biofuels produced by plants or animals are a dead end, the efficiency is just too low and in some cases even negative.

Algae-based fuels may have a chance, and once solar cells make electricity dirt cheap then turning hydrogen into e.g. methane may have a chance too. Until then, the only alternative to fossil oil is to turn coal into oil, which is even worse for the environment.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768192)

Good thing we proved the technology as Sandia NREL in the 1980s [nrel.gov] ; the conjecture was that the process would be profitable by the time diesel fuel reached $3/gallon, but nobody has spun it up yet. This is possibly due to the fact that the only place you can get enough suitable land cheap enough is managed by the BLM [blm.gov] , and you can get permits to mine coal or drill for oil, but heaven help you if you want to build a renewable energy facility [redicecreations.com] .

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768734)

They aren't a dead end. You say that, then point out the light at the end of the tunnel. Get them working on more general fuels, then optimize those fuels. I agree that those against the environment will claim it's putting the cart before the horse, but it is progress and does save a step later, should the horse ever make it in front of the cart again.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768756)

I know I wasn't clear, but I simply meant alternative sources in general, not necessarily biofuels.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769060)

Battery technology hasn't advanced enough to support electrical powered aircraft. You will always need some form of chemical or radioactive fuel to power military aircraft. How you produce it can be green, but there will always be this limitation until you can pack a similar energy / mass into a battery.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767908)

Actually, armies all over the world are considered sustainable by default. That is to say, they will always receive enough money to at least keep their equipment in working order, regardless of the economic state of the rest of the country, since they are the only thing that stands between the state and utter annihilation. If any state is at the point where they can't even allocate this much, then they are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, and not in the way the Eurozone is doing nowadays...

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767940)

On the ultra big scale. On the ultra small scale, you're fighting a war, your M1A1 tank (or in this story, F16) requires fuel, you can pump in anything that burns if it helps you stay alive. Been a military doctrine to "burn any fuel you can find" for longer than I've been alive. This results in certain legendary efficiency and volumetric power output issues over the past few decades, like the HMMVW that gets like 5 MPG and only pulls 150 horsepower out of something like a 10 liter engine, BUT, very importantly, if it burns, you can put it in the tank and drive off. You could practically crap in a humvee and would none the less run. I hated driving that Fing thing and it leaked oil every time I did a PMCS, but god help me it could digest and burn anything, the ultimate iron stomach. In my experience.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768700)

, like the HMMVW that gets like 5 MPG and only pulls 150 horsepower out of something like a 10 liter engine, BUT, very importantly, if it burns, you can put it in the tank and drive off. You could practically crap in a humvee and would none the less run. I hated driving that Fing thing and it leaked oil every time I did a PMCS, but god help me it could digest and burn anything, the ultimate iron stomach. In my experience.

This is a myth. Nice patriotic story about the might of American Engineering. Reality is every piece of military technology is an overpriced, delayed, porked piece of shit.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769136)

Been a military doctrine to "burn any fuel you can find" for longer than I've been alive. This results in certain legendary efficiency and volumetric power output issues over the past few decades, like the HMMVW that gets like 5 MPG and only pulls 150 horsepower out of something like a 10 liter engine, BUT, very importantly, if it burns, you can put it in the tank and drive off.

The problem with that approach is that the supply chain has to be capable of delivering 3x (?) the amount of fuel that a more efficient vehicle would use, and it reduces the effective range of the vehicles. That adds risk. You might never need to put some low cost, locally produced fuel in the tank, if you did not consume so much fuel.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768740)

The war in the Pacific was started over oil, and turned on fuel supply.

In the end, Japan was using biofuels made from the roots of pine trees, which they had a lot of because the trees had been felled to be burned themselves.

It took 100,000 pine tree stumps to make one tank of gas for a Japanese fighter jet.

Biofuels are an overrated source of energy.

Once the oil begins to run out, heavier-than-air airraft are going to become scarce.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769038)

The main attraction of biofuels is if you can make a viable large-scale operation with algae producing them - it's fairly efficient, and all you really need is a large area of unused land where you can put the pools, and we have a crapload of that all over the world, but particularly so in US.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769090)

This sounds like more of the unsubstantiated BS that you're well known for producing.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (3, Insightful)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769140)

The war in the Pacific was started over oil, and turned on fuel supply.

In the end, Japan was using biofuels made from the roots of pine trees, which they had a lot of because the trees had been felled to be burned themselves.

It took 100,000 pine tree stumps to make one tank of gas for a Japanese fighter jet.

Biofuels are an overrated source of energy.

Once the oil begins to run out, heavier-than-air airraft are going to become scarce.

This has all the hallmarks of an urban legend. First of all, the Japanese "fighter jets" were basically nonexistent in WW2 [wikipedia.org] , coming too late to enter service. Furthermore, the "100,000 pine tree stumps" isn't quite correct either. For one thing, it's the roots that were (are?) turned into fuel. Now, it may take 100k roots, I have no idea, but I highly doubt it was "stumps". Finally, last I read [amazon.com] , this had been a pilot project (no pun intended) only. While technically feasible, the manpower required to convert the pine roots into fuel was determined to be too much of an impact on other programs.

Regardless, this isn't an oil based biofuel, it would have been an ethanol one. Bit of a difference there, I think, though I am not an expert on the matter.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768808)

The US is a huge producer of oil. We only import oil because we burn it like it's going out of style... umm... well, it actually is going out of style but that's beside the point.

The point is that if it were a real emergency, the military has all the oil it needs. Just ask your grandfather about rationing. Public transit becomes the obvious choice when it's your only choice.

Iraw and Afghanistan; it's the kind of war where you can still tool around in your SUV. This has been noted by people in the military. They come home and they're welcome; but they're also struck by how the rest of us don't pay much attention to the year-long near death experience they all have.

Re:Can't be ignored any longer (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769306)

Between coal,the Bakkan shale fields, and the Bakkan oil fields, the US has more than enough oil to last for centuries.

a prophet! (0)

hindumagic (232591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767800)

Damn, I AM a computer scientist and I love my android phone!

Liposuction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767804)

That way all the fat kids can still be pilots!

french fries (1)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767820)

So, do they smell like french fries when they fly over like the converted volvos burning used fry oil?

Re:french fries (1)

Grimmreaper74 (1014291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769032)

Now instead of saying FOX 3 LONG they'll be saying FRY 3 LONG!!!

Re:french fries (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769336)

First, people convert VWs and Mercs (in the US, at least -- no Diesel Volvos here).

Second, mine smells like fried chicken ('cause I run biodiesel made from chicken fat), thankyouverymuch!

Makes no sense (3, Informative)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767844)

All F-16's use F-100 (or F-110) engines, and without exception they all run on JP-8 fuel. Whatever the Air Force did, you can bet that they didn't change much. The concept that these engines are somehow eco-friendly is absurd, no matter what contributed the hydrocarbons that they are burning. At full afterburner, these engines can burn more than 20,000 pounds of fuel per minute .

Re:Makes no sense (4, Informative)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767862)

hehe, woops. That's pounds per hour.

Re:Makes no sense (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767978)

Neither the summary nor the article made any mention of being environmentally friendly.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768148)

these engines can burn more than 20,000 pounds of fuel per minute

And that would require the consumption how many rugby pitches of french fries, one Smoot deep?

Re:Makes no sense (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768158)

If you produce the biofuel from algae grown in raceway ponds [nrel.gov] and capture [up to] 80% of the CO2 output of a coal or oil-burning turbine plant in the process, then it can be considered to be part of an overall "greening" strategy to fill the interim between the modern age of gas-guzzlers (well, more like diesel-guzzlers in this case) and the future age of tiny drones that plant explosives in your sinus cavity — as it will let you produce the fuel with a more or less carbon-neutral process.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768290)

Uh, this has little to do with "eco-friendly" and more to do with "can we still power our killing machines after they've bombed our off-shore asserts and cut off our imports?" The idea of "green war" is absurd, and I don't think anyone is talking about that.

Re:Makes no sense (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769020)

Its not so much about a "green war" as it is about reducing dependence on a supply of oil that could get cut off in a war. The first place our enemy would invade would be the Middle East. Why do you think we have a strong military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq? Its the only thing our leaders could come up with that we would (or I should say "DID") support. Why do you think there is a push to get at the oil in the Bakken formation or the oil sands? Both are not as economically feasible as a stable Middle East sending us oil, but the problem is we don't want to have our source of energy so far from home where potential enemies can cut it off. I'm not saying I agree with the whole war and "everyone's an enemy" type of thing, its just me being realistic.

Re:Makes no sense (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768394)

Doesn't matter if its a diesel truck or an F-16 at full afterburner, if you're burning biofuels produced from either recycled or reclaimed non-petroleum oil products (vegetable/cooking oil, chicken carcasses, etc), it closes the carbon cycle and is environmentally friendly (unless you want to argue the whole emissions control issue, but you're never going to control emissions on a portable gas turbine engine such as that on an aircraft.

This is a step forward, make no mistake. Its not easy getting a new fuel certified on an aircraft engine of any kind.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768398)

The concept that these engines are somehow eco-friendly is absurd, no matter what contributed the hydrocarbons that they are burning.

Napalm, Mustard Gas and Nuclear Radiation aren't eco-friendly either so shut the hell up hippy. It's about ensuring we are able to protect your right to be an ignorant piece of crap, not about saving the planet.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768902)

They were designed to run a range of available fuels, with the most recent standard being JP-8 which also interchanges with diesel on ground vehicles. (JP-4 is better for air restarts, but went out of fashion after the Green Ramp crash at Pope AFB.)

If you can keep it from growing bacteria (which can thrive even in diesel and standard jet fuel!), avoid corrosion and sealing problems, and get it to behave when mixed with other fuels, burning it is the "easy" part.

Eco-friendliness is relative, and when you burn vast quantities of fuel it can be argued that switching is highly eco-friendly.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769068)

Isn't any biodiesel carbon neutral pretty much by definition, and hence more "eco-friendly"?

What about the workers eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767848)

Wow, these guy's are way ahead of the Republican Presidential hopefuls, who I had the misfortune to watch on the glotz box last night. Every one of them repeated the tired old (Exon Mobile funded no doubt) mantra about drilling for good ole US oil, rather than do anything a bit more intelligent. Funny that the debate was also interspersed with those hilarious "clean coal" adverts. Clean coal, I laughed to much I wet my self.

Re:What about the workers eh? (2)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768338)

I love the GE coal ad from a few years back with the attractive models mining coal, and the song "16 tons", which is all about how exploitive and evil coal-mining companies are, playing in the background. here [youtube.com] it is on YouTube. Who exactly they're targeting with that commercial, or what they were thinking, I have no idea.

Alternate title could have been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37767868)

I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning or, like a missle with those fries?

Re:Alternate title could have been (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768418)

So now they're gonna make napalm out of the stuff?

In other news... (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 2 years ago | (#37767906)

The Navy has recently announced that all of its aircraft carriers will soon be equipped with harpoon launchers. Hey, whale oil is renewable fuel too, okay ?

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768168)

Carrier fighter-wings have had air-launched Harpoons for ages.

Smart solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768034)

This is a smart solution actually. They put those dead soldier bodies to use and save space in graveyards.
Plus, all fallen soldiers will now get a chance to fly in a fighter. Really cool.

Mobile Dick (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768128)

Leela: Gas was an environmental disaster, anyway. Now we use alternative fuels.
Fry: Like what?
Leela: Whale oil.

Good choice (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768134)

USA has an obesity problem (too much sugar [youtube.com] ), so I can see an ad: "Are you a REAL PATRIOT? Be all you can be - get a liposuction!"

Forget Fat! Natural Gas!!! (2)

forgot_my_username (1553781) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768194)

I wish they had told me about this!
They could have switched all the planes to natural gas!
I have a great chili recipe to donate to the cause of America's defense.

Because, I sir, am a Patriot!

It does have an environmental benefit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768240)

Its constructive in a carbon balance way; fossil fuels are releasing carbon stored in the earth's subsurface in the form of CO2, throwing off the atmospheric balance. Plants and animals are recycling atmospheric CO2 into organic matter, which when combusted returns to CO2, producing no net atmospheric change.

Perfect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768252)

Obese Americans can finally serve their country!

Ho hum. (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768372)

Biofuels will supplement, but never replace oil for the military. Frankly, I doubt there's enough of it to be significant. Maybe if the military used ALL the biofuel produced in the continental USA, it could continue to operate... in the continental USA.

That all being said, I don't have any figures on how much fuel the USA's military uses per day. The entire USA uses about 7 to 8 million barrels of oil a day, depending on what sort of day we're having. Anyone know how much of that is the military's share?

Re:Ho hum. (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768564)

I can't give you today's figures, but in 2007 it was 363,000 barrels per day

Re:Ho hum. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768584)

Probably a pretty decent chunk - the US Air Force is a massive oil user, since they fly globally (and basically act as a transport for all our allies, too, since we have the infrastructure). The Army's probably pretty bad as well - the fuel efficiency of an M1 Abrams is measured in gallons per mile, and that's of jet fuel, not gasoline or diesel. The Navy's probably the least gas-guzzling branch, since the biggest ships are nuclear, but even then, there's a ton of oil-burning boats.

Re:Ho hum. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768738)

Biofuels will supplement, but never replace oil for the military. Frankly, I doubt there's enough of it to be significant.

50% seems significant to me. TFA quote:

The force has a 2016 deadline for being able to get half its needs from 50/50 alternative fuel blends, equivalent to 400 million gallons of biofuels or other combustibles, such as synthetic liquid fuels from coal and gas.

Re:Ho hum. (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768748)

You're off by a factor of more than two. While oil consumption in the US is down somewhat, the average has been a little under 19 million barrels of oil per day for a few years.

Environmentalism and the Military (1)

Leuf (918654) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768496)

It's always boggled my mind how the greens and the left never play the national security card when it comes to alternative energy. It doesn't even have to make any sense either, it just has to sound good.

Re:Environmentalism and the Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768652)

They do, there are lots of solar panels being deployed. You don't hear about that, the media just talks about when they don't work.

Re:Environmentalism and the Military (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768948)

With the Bakken oil formation, the oil sands, and better drilling techniques to get to the massive quantity of oil under the Rockies I suspect we will be fine for awhile. I have family up in Montana and its an economic boom for them, as well as the North Dakotan's and Canadians. Of course its not sustainable forever, but until some unusually innovative and smart scientists come along and invent small scale reactors that can replace oil based on fusion or fuel cells or something we're pretty much stuck with oil.

One fuel to run them all (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768534)

DoD embarked on a major program about ten years ago to get all DoD equipment running on one fuel: JP-8 with a corrosion inhibitor. This will work in jet engines, diesels, and heaters. DoD has been using some biodiesel, and it has to meet the specs for JP-8. That's what this is about.

DoD has been almost all diesel for years. Gasoline tankers have no place on today's battlefields, where there's no secure rear area.

Re:One fuel to run them all (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768806)

There's a fair amount of mogas also, not just JP-8 "diesel", at military fueling points. Don't let them tell you that they've gotten rid of gasoline use in the military, it's a load of crap.

Costs even more fossil fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768648)

Biofuel costs even more fossil fuels to produce.. As far as I know most of those farmers still use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Of course this isn't necessary, but it doesn't help that Monsanto has a big hand in the government and sues an organic farmer every week or so.

Enviromental care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37768654)

Sustainable warfare, that is comforting...

Whose fat? (1)

E.I.A (2303368) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768760)

With objective journalists, activists, and Ron Paul supporters all going on fusion-center/DHS/FBI watch-lists, there might soon be a surplus. Maybe instead of a debtors prison, they'll just squeeze out some fat from all the pizza-stuffed college students who can't pay their loans. Or - considering the success of the "Freedom Fry" anomaly - perhaps patriotism can be exploited to encourage voluntary liposuction. I'm sure a good 20 minute Fox broadcast could inspire millions.

Re:Whose fat? (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768960)

Troll.

The army can save 75% of its energy by... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768768)

Not fighting in meaningless wars

Not teaching soldiers shit they will never use

Using simulators instead of live training exercises especially in conjunction with #1

How will we defend ourselves? Well there's them oceans, and the ICBMs, and last but not least, the nukes.

Re:The army can save 75% of its energy by... (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37768978)

Typically ICBM's have nuclear warheads. Its a waste of resources to send conventional explosives with one when you can just send a UAV or manned aircraft.

Fischer–Tropsch fuel more progresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769036)

A key part of the summary is "able to burn". Current prices for actual bio-fuel qualified for aviation use is astronomical, so DoD's venture into actual bio-fuel is primarily meant as proof of concept and part of the greater government intent to spur biofuel development so someday it might be cheap enough to use. BTW, one of the DoD requirements for the bio-fuel is that it cannot come from an edible food crop (no corn ethanol).
But another DoD alt fuel initiative that is more mature is non-petroleum fuel, specifically fuel made from coal. Fischer–Tropsch method can make fuel from coal, natural gas, etc, and at competitive prices potentially. Unfortunately makes more greenhouse gases than petroleum, but it can be generated domestically.

From Wikipedia:
U.S. Air Force certificationSyntroleum, a publicly traded US company (Nasdaq: SYNM) has produced over 400,000 US gallons (1,500 m3) of diesel and jet fuel from the Fischer–Tropsch process using natural gas and coal at its demonstration plant near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Syntroleum is working to commercialize its licensed Fischer-Tropsch technology via coal-to-liquid plants in the US, China, and Germany, as well as gas-to-liquid plants internationally. Using natural gas as a feedstock, the ultra-clean, low sulfur fuel has been tested extensively by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Most recently, Syntroleum has been working with the U.S. Air Force to develop a synthetic jet fuel blend that will help the Air Force to reduce its dependence on imported petroleum. The Air Force, which is the U.S. military's largest user of fuel, began exploring alternative fuel sources in 1999. On December 15, 2006, a B-52 took off from Edwards AFB, California for the first time powered solely by a 50–50 blend of JP-8 and Syntroleum's FT fuel. The seven-hour flight test was considered a success. The goal of the flight test program is to qualify the fuel blend for fleet use on the service's B-52s, and then flight test and qualification on other aircraft. The test program concluded in 2007. This program is part of the Department of Defense Assured Fuel Initiative, an effort to develop secure domestic sources for the military energy needs. The Pentagon hopes to reduce its use of crude oil from foreign producers and obtain about half of its aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2016.[19] With the B-52 now approved to use the FT blend, the C-17 Globemaster III, the B-1B, and eventually every airframe in its inventory to use the fuel by 2011.[19][20]

WW2 RAF? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37769224)

Their planes ran on butanol 75 years ago, a byproduct of ABE production that yielded acetone for cordite manufacture. It was the worlds second largest biotech industry to ethanol for almost a century, but no one seems to notice how it's gone away. I don't want to blame the petrochemical craze started in the 1960s for deliberately outshining renewable and sustainable alternative fuel sources, but a ton of greased and greedy sons of bitches making decisions with their wallets later and I'd be remiss not to mention it.

That's not enough! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37769328)

Save the planet! By 2020, all intercontinental nukes have to run on bio fuel! Imagine them being used and span the globe with poisonous fuel exhaust!

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