So the U.S. Air Force is getting serious about biofuels. The Air Force’s grand plan calls 50% of its fuels to be sourced from domestic biofuel by 2016, mostly for use in their aircraft. The planes will run on a blend of biofuels and traditional JP-8 jet fuel, without a decline in performance.
How about them apples?
As the official U.S. Air Force website so eloquently informs us, IT’S NOT SCIENCE FICTION–though I kind of wish it was, because in science fiction movies those high-tech lasers, doom rays, time machines and other world-destroyers always work so effortlessly and efficiently. If you need energy to power them, you simply boot up your trusty cold-fusion ion zero-point dark matter warp-drive thingamajig.
Back in the real world, things aren’t so simple. If price were no issue, we’d have switched to biofuels a long time ago. As it stands, biofuels are about ten times more expensive than traditional JP-8 jet fuel.
Gulp. That the Air Force is plowing ahead with this project despite the costs should tell you everything you need to know about their view of our foreign oil addiction. The military sees it as a serious threat to national security, and they’re taking big steps to patch that glaring problem.
Mind you, they aren’t expecting biofuels to remain so expensive for long. The U.S. Air Force is a major consumer—let’s call the U.S. armed forces the Wal-Mart of militaries—and if what they want is biofuels, you can bet the private sector will bend over backwards to give it to them. This should drive down prices. The Navy and Army are following the Air Force’s lead as well, further adding to the biofuel demand.
Though I’m not as bullish on biofuels as I am on, say, electric, I hope the Air Force succeeds in its biofuels quest. Anything which cuts our dependency on foreign oil ultimately has my attention. And hey, if it’s possible to power a plane on cooking oil, what isn’t possible?