Navy Takes Biofuels Campaign Into Uncharted Waters
Since 2006, the Defense Logistics Agency has procured more than 36 million gallons of ethanol-and-petroleum blends for the military. The Navy in September ordered an additional 150,000 gallons of algae-based fuel from San Francisco company Solazyme. The new agreement is seven times the size of the initial 20,000-gallon contract awarded last year. The Navy is paying big bucks for these fuels.
The service consumes an average of 1.2 billion gallons of petroleum each year at a cost of $3 billion about $2.50 per gallon. The service paid Solazyme $8.5 million to provide just 20,000 gallons of algae-based fuel $425 per gallon. At that rate, it would cost the Navy some $142.8 billion for the 8 million barrels of biofuel needed to meet its 2020 goal.
Camelina-based fuel is a bit cheaper but still more expensive than petroleum. In September 2009 the DLAs defense energy support center paid Montanas Sustainable Oils $2.7 million for 40,000 gallons of camelina-based fuel. That comes to about $67.50 per gallon.
And the first integrated circuit chip cost $1,000 each. Now they cost pennies. As usual the first customer was the military. Since the stone age, military spending drives the "cutting edge" of technology. If a world war breaks out America would have the algae fuel problem solved quickly. Until then we spend our national treasure on foodstamps.