The U.S. Air Force Tries Alternative Fuels
The pursuit of alternative fuels has found an ally in the U.S. military. The Air Force reached a milestone in alternative aviation fuels yesterday when it successfully flew an unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk on a blend of traditional fuel and synthetic paraffinick kerosene, or SPK.
The Global Hawk, which took off from California's Edwards Air Force Base, represents a completion of the force's three-year certification process for the groundbreaking biofuel.
Jet fuel is a huge source of carbon emissions, accounting for almost 1.4 million daily oil barrels and 10% of the total amount of fuel the U.S. uses for transportation. And finding a jet-fuel alternative to petroleum has been a massive endeavor.
Renewables seem to be on the agenda for all branches of the military: To cut reliance on petroleum, which military experts claim is extremely dangerous for American soldiers to transport and secure, Navy secretary Ray Mabus said that he wants 50% of the energy that the Navy and Marines use to come from renewables by 2020. Also, the Army is launching a new program to turn its kitchen trash into high-quality energy. The USAF has also begun testing another alternative jet fuel made from plant matter and animal fats.