Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) submitted comments to the Air Force’s Request for Information on the commercial status and market for advanced drop-in biofuels.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “The U.S. military and the nation as a whole face a significant national security threat from U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy and ongoing price volatility. The military requires access to adequate fuel supplies in strategic locations, and biorefineries producing advanced biofuels from multiple feedstocks represent perhaps the best option for meeting this military need.

“Individual advanced biofuel producers have achieved milestones toward commercial development of a diverse array of feedstock and technology combinations. But full commercialization has been limited by the severely constrained market for private capital. Coordination of efforts by the USDA, DOE and DOD to address the market challenges could significantly accelerate production of the volumes necessary to meet the energy security needs of the U.S. military. Military use of advanced biofuels could in turn validate emerging technologies and unlock private investment in future advanced biofuels production for civilian markets.

“Some advanced biofuel companies already have worked with the Department of Defense (DOD) or with commercial airlines to test and certify advanced biofuel/petroleum blends, and more are poised to do so. The full range of projects located in diverse areas of the country, combining local feedstocks with tailored technology and processes, represent a robust response to the challenges, particularly for military biofuel needs.”