U.S. Military Steps Up to Renewable Biofuels

From the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Everett Naval Station in the Puget Sound area of Washington, military installations across the country are choosing to use biodiesel blends in their diesel-powered vehicles.

Jefferson City – Montana, June 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning fuel made from renewable fats or vegetable oils that can help increase U.S. energy security by reducing dependence on foreign sources of oil. Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel (B100) or can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel. It can be used in diesel engines with few or no modifications. The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all use B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, at different bases and stations throughout the country. Of the four branches, the U.S. Marine Corps uses B20 at the most locations. Most of the military installations using biodiesel obtain it through the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), which coordinates the federal government’s fuel purchases. “DESC is the largest single purchaser of biodiesel in this country,” said Pam Serino of DESC. “We’ve been procuring B20 for our administrative vehicles for three years. For the contract period 2003-2004 we have requirements totaling 5.2 million gallons at numerous military and civilian locations throughout the country. B20 is the easiest way for the federal government to meet the requirements of the Energy Policy Act, and we have found B20 to perform equal to petroleum-based diesel fuel while reducing toxic chemical emissions that pollute our environment.” Dozens of military installations use biodiesel nationwide, including: -U.S. Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC: Has used biodiesel for about a year in approximately 300 to 400 pieces of equipment — buses, caterpillar tractors, bulldozers, motor graters, etc. They currently use about 147,800 gallons of B20 a year. -U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, AZ: Has used B20 since January 2002 and are currently using 7,600 gallons a month. They use biodiesel in all diesel-powered, government owned, non-tactical commercial vehicles such as trucks and forklifts. -Scott Air Force Base, Illinois: Located about 30 miles east of St. Louis, serves as headquarters for 12 Air Mobility Command (AMC) bases throughout the nation. Two AMC bases currently use B20: Scott AFB has used B20 since April 2001 and uses about 75,000 gallons annually. McChord AFB (Tacoma, Washington) has used approximately 33,000 gallons since October 2002. -Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, CO: Five Air Force Space Command bases use B20: Peterson (Colorado Springs, CO); Vandenberg (Lompoc, CA); FE Warren (Cheyenne, WY); Malmstrom (Great Falls, MT); Patrick (Cocoa Beach, FL). They have been using biodiesel since December 2001. – Everett Naval Station, Everett, Washington: Located in the Puget Sound area, this station has used about 50 thousand gallons of B20 a year since 2001. -Fort Leonard Wood Army Base, Missouri: Began using biodiesel in March 2003. The base plans on using about 115,000 gallons of B20 annually. -U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, GA: Has used biodiesel throughout the base for three years in about 375 non-tactical diesel vehicles including tractor trailers, forklifts, three-ton trucks, graders, farm tractors and in emergency generators. The base used 50,000-60,000 gallons of biodiesel last year. “The U.S. currently imports approximately 60 percent of its oil — of that, 800,000 barrels of oil a day come from Iraq,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Executive Director Joe Jobe. “We’re jeopardizing our own national security by being dependent on foreign sources of oil. That’s why biodiesel and the military are such a natural fit. The military is proactively addressing energy security by using biodiesel and is setting a positive example for the rest of the nation.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a comprehensive technical report of biodiesel emissions data that shows the exhaust emissions of particulate matter from pure biodiesel are about 47 percent lower than overall particulate matter emissions from diesel. Breathing particulate has been shown to be a human health hazard. Biodiesel emissions reduce by 80 to 90 percent potential cancer-causing compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated PAH. Biodiesel also reduces emissions of total unburned hydrocarbons, a contributing factor to smog and ozone, by about 68 percent. Carbon monoxide is reduced by about 48 percent. Biodiesel can be made from any fat or vegetable oil, such as soybean oil. Biodiesel has similar horsepower, torque and BTU content compared to petroleum diesel. It offers excellent lubricity and higher cetane than diesel fuel. About 300 major fleets currently use biodiesel nationwide.
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