WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 16, 2011) – Advanced biofuels represent the best option for meeting the needs of the military and civilian markets; public-private partnerships can build needed biorefineries and bring the technology to the market sooner. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and applauded the Obama administration’s announced initiative to invest up to $510 million to construct or retrofit facilities to produce drop-in advanced biofuels.
“The White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group has done a thoughtful job of recognizing how important biofuels production is for national defense. Energy independence is indeed a national security issue,” stated Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “Our nation’s military is as much at the mercy of high oil and gasoline prices as the average consumer. In addition, it is imperative that our services have access to domestically produced fuel in order to avoid supply disruptions. Drop in advanced biofuels produced in small, strategically located biorefineries can be an important ‘force multiplier’ by increasing the military’s ability to operate where needed and reducing the costs and the number of combat forces necessary to protect energy supply lines.
“The Navy and Air Force have already worked with biofuel producers to test and certify that advanced biofuels meet the exacting requirements for performance and cost established by the military. By sharing the costs of building or retrofitting biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels, using existing funding and acquisition authorities, the USDA, DOE and the Navy can help accelerate their commercial development and ensure availability for military purposes. The military’s leadership can drive the costs down and increase availability for the commercial sector. This action will help move forward the commercialization of advanced biofuels and will further help develop the biofuels market. We need a basket of policy options to get the advanced biofuels industry to a large scale, and this joint effort is one more step in the right direction.”