The Departments of Navy, Energy, and Agriculture on Friday announced that three biofuels companies have been awarded contracts to construct and commission biorefineries capable of producing "drop-in" biofuels to meet the transportation needs of the military and private sector.
Made through the Department of Defense's Defense Protection Act of 1950, the awards support the Administration's goals to boost and diversify the domestic fuel supply base, while ensuring national security through domestically produced fuels.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the contracts will expand the operation capacity of the Navy and Marine Corps. "In today's complex fiscal environment, we are balancing our mission with our resources and we must be innovative and forward-thinking. Programs like these help keep our operational capabilities on the cutting edge. This is how Sailors and Marines defend our great nation."
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman also commented on the announcement, noting the contracts' ability to improve national security and advance job creation.
"By advancing technologies that reduce our carbon emissions, this multi-agency partnership is demonstrating that by protecting our energy and environmental security, we will enhance our national security as well," Poneman noted.
In total, these projects will produce more than 100 million gallons of military grade fuel beginning in 2016 and 2017 at a price competitive with their petroleum counterparts.
The drop-in alternative fuels can be blended at a 50/50 ratio with traditional fossil fuels. The fuel can be utilized in Navy's warfighting platforms with no degradation to performance or mission.
As these fuels become more available, the Department of the Navy will make advanced drop-in biofuel a regular part of its bulk fuel procurement.
The companies receiving federal investments for the construction and commissioning of biorefineries are:
Emerald Biofuels: To build an 82 million gallon per year refinery on the Gulf Coast using waste fats to create military grade fuel.
Fulcrum BioEnergy: To build a 10 million gallon per year refinery in McCarran, Nev. using municipal solid waste as its feedstock and the Fischer-Tropsch process to create fuel. On Sept. 4, USDA announced a $105 million Biorefinery Assistance Program loan guarantee to Fulcrum BioEnergy for the construction of this facility.
Red Rock Biofuels: To build a 12 million gallon per year refinery in Lakeview, Ore. using woody biomass, or the by-products of forest management, as its feedstock and the Fischer-Tropsch process to create a refined product.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy