WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 15, 2011) – Biotechnology companies researching and developing advanced biofuels can help diversify the military’s energy supply and advance U.S. national and energy security objectives. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for their bipartisan support for the commercialization of advanced biofuels in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “The advanced biofuels industry is at an inflection point and is rapidly maturing because biotech companies have made significant private investments to commercialize the technology. The Department of Defense is providing important impetus to the industry by establishing goals to acquire 50 percent of supplies from renewable sources that meet U.S. greenhouse gas emission initiatives by 2020.
“According to the DOD’s Quadrennial Defense Review in 2010, access to fuel supplies in friendly countries around the world is an important force multiplier. Advanced biofuels represent the best option for meeting military needs because they increase the military’s ability to operate where needed while limiting the number of combat forces needed to protect supply lines. Biorefineries can be established in strategic locations around the United States, making use of local feedstocks to produce sustainable biofuels for the military.
“The Navy, in particular, has laid out a precise timeline for decreasing its reliance on foreign oil; it has completed the necessary testing of biofuels on schedule. Companies must continue to make substantial capital investments in large-scale production facilities in order to continue to meet the Navy’s timeline for competitively priced alternatives.
“Importantly, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act asks the Defense Department to prepare a report on the authorities available for multi-year contracts for advanced biofuels. Long-term contract authority for advanced biofuel off-take agreements could help unlock private investment in the industry.
“The bill maintains Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which also has driven private investment in the industry. The DOD has testified to Congress that the measure is not affecting their budget – in fact, the volatile price of oil has forced the DOD several times this year to request budget reprogramming – and alternative fuel industries have also testified that they can meet the requirements of this provision.”