The Navy’s Pursuit of an Ambitious Alternative Energy Program

Faced with rising costs and instability in oil-producing countries, top military leaders acknowledge that it’s time for an attitude change about energy.

BY THE NUMBERS: U.S. forces burn more than 5 billion gallons of fuel annually in military operations, according to estimates by Pentagon officials. That equates to more than 570,000 gallons an hour. According to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ground troops require 22 gallons of fuel per warfighter per day. In costs, every dollar increase in the price of a barrel of oil increases the Navy’s annual fuel bill by $31 million. The numbers are staggering, and unsustainable.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is among the military leaders advocating change in the energy dynamic and urging energy independence. “We have to change the way we use, produce and get energy.”

Mabus’ alternative energy goals include: by 2020, at least 50% of the energy the Navy consumes must come from non-fossil-fuel sources. Ships, aircraft and ground vehicles will continue to run on liquid fuel, but Navy officials expect half of that will be derived from biomass that has been converted to fuel.

Read more of the Navy’s alternative fuel vision at

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