Are the military investing in a new electric fuel technology?

Posted in Electric Vehicle News, Green issues / no Comments

The United States strategic military requirements gave us the internet and satellite navigation, will their need to reduce dependency on oil drive the fuel technology of the future?

The US military must stop using oil by 2040 if it wants to reduce operational vulnerabilities, reduce costs, stop new security risks caused by climate change and avoid the coming peak oil supply crunch. That’s the word from the Center for a New American Security, whose Fueling the Future Force report details the hows’ and whys’ of the situation.

Petroleum is 77% of military energy supply with “other electric” sources coming in second at 11.4% and natural gas coming at 8.4%.
“Reducing dependency on petroleum will help ensure the long-term ability of the military to carry out its assigned missions. Moving beyond petroleum will allow Department of Defence (DoD) to lead in the development of innovative technologies that can benefit the nation more broadly, while signaling to the world that the United States has an innovative and adaptable force.”

In 30 years fossil fuels will be harder to come by. This 30-year timeframe reflects market indicators pointing towards both higher demand for petroleum and increasing international competition to acquire it. Moreover, the geology and economics of producing petroleum will ensure that the market tightens long before oil reserves are depleted. Estimates indicate that the current global reserve-to-production is less than 50 years. Thus, given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence. Ensuring that DoD can operate on non-petroleum fuels 30 years from today is a strategic necessity against prevailing economic, political and environmental trends, conditions and constraints.

In other words, 30 years from now there odds aren’t good that there will be petroleum to fuel anything with much consistency or affordability. Oil price rises cost the Military millions, dependency creates security risks. As for costs of continued military oil dependence, the report notes that for every dollar increase in the price of petroleum an additional $130 million is added to the Department of Defence’s operating costs.

Therefore it is possible to conclude that given that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and the US military’s impressive track record in funding and finding solutions to it’s strategic issues, that the reduction in our dependency on fossil fuels will be driven by that most unlikely of sources – the Pentagon.

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