Defense Dollars Wasted

While the Department of Defense (DOD) budget is being eviscerated and our fighting ability emasculated, the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, is forcing the Navy to spend money on biofuels.

The latest example of this was the Navy’s purchase of 450,000 gallons of biofuels, which according to Mabus, was the “largest single purchase of advanced drop-in biofuel in government history.” The biofuels will be produced by blending algae and cooking oil. This, in turn, will be blended with jet fuel.

The 450,000 gallons will cost $12 million. This is money the Navy will have to take away from its other needs, such as buying equipment and paying salaries of servicemen and women.

Secretary Mabus has said he wants a carrier strike group to be fueled by biofuels mixed with diesel fuel to accompany the nuclear carriers on a multi-month tour.

The suppliers of the 450,000-gallon purchase will be algae from Solazyme and cooking oil from Dynamic Fuels, LLC, a joint venture of Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corp.

The cost will be about nine times the cost of jet fuel normally used to power our aircraft. The biofuels will cost $26 per gallon, or $16 per gallon when mixed with regular jet fuel that costs less than $3 per gallon.

Solazyme previously received $21.7 million in stimulus money to build a bio-refinery.

The Wall Street Journal reported, the “administration has also funded a $510 million program in partnership with the Navy to produce advanced biofuels for the military. In September, the feds loaned $134 million to Abengoa Bioenergy, [the subsidiary of a Spanish company], to build a cellulosic plant in Kansas. In September, the Department of Energy provided POET, which advertises itself as the world’s largest ethanol producer, a $105 million loan guarantee for cellulosic.”

Loan guarantees for cellulosic biofuels will likely become losses borne by tax payers, similar to those incurred from the loan guarantee to Solyndra.

The rationale for these efforts is to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and reduce our carbon foot print.

The National Academy of Sciences concluded that the mandates “may be an ineffective way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” The report notes that “currently, no commercially viable biorefineries exist for converting cellulosic biomass to fuel.”

The idea that we should invest in biofuels to cut our dependence on foreign oil is ludicrous, when there is enough oil in North America to supply all our needs for decades.

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