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The Green Life: The U.S. Air Force Tries Alternative Fuels

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November 23, 2010

The U.S. Air Force Tries Alternative Fuels

US Air Force Jet 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.

--Ronny Smith

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