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USDA, DOE and US Navy to invest $510M to develop drop-in biofuels

17 August 2011

US President Obama announced that the US Departments of Agriculture (DA), Energy (DOE) and Navy will invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation.

The initiative responds to a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration’s framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil. The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and by the Rural Council established by President Obama in June.

To accelerate the production of bio-based jet and diesel fuel for military and commercial purposes, the DA, DOE and the Navy have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries. The MOU calls for the three Departments to invest a total of up to $510 million, equally shared between the agencies. A substantial cost share will be required from private industry, to at least match the government funds.

The biofuels should meet military specifications at a price competitive with petroleum and should have no significant impact on the supply of agricultural commodities for the production of food. The United States spends more than $300 billion on imported crude oil per year, states the MOU.

“Drop-in biofuels” are biofuels that are compatible with the existing fuel distribution infrastructure and with existing engines.

Source: The White House