Fuels and Greenhouse Gases

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The Department of Defense is the largest single consumer of energy in the United States. Petroleum-based fuels are by far the dominant source. Each year, DoD uses more than 100 million barrels of fuel for its aircraft, ships, and ground tactical vehicles. Fuel is critical to the military’s ongoing operations. The costs, availability, logistics, and greenhouse gases associated with petroleum-based fuels, however, represent a significant risk to DoD and national security. SERDP and ESTCP invest in research and demonstrations that support DoD’s goals of reducing its dependence on petroleum-based fuels and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.

Executive Order 13514 mandates a 30 percent reduction in the federal government’s vehicle fleet petroleum use by the year 2020. It also requires DoD to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. Though tactical vehicles are exempt from the Executive Order goals, such vehicles still must be tracked. In addition, using cleaner burning fuels with lower greenhouse gas emissions produced from domestic resources would help achieve the military’s goals of enhancing supply security and reducing the reliance on imported oil.

SERDP and ESTCP investments aim to achieve the following goals:

  • Advance the fundamental combustion science needed to predict the impact of alternative fuels on the emission of particulates, greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from military gas turbine engines
  • Measure the impacts of alternative fuels on greenhouse gases and other air emissions
  • Understand the impacts of alternative fuels on fuel management and equipment
  • Test and validate the impacts of biofuels in tactical vehicles
  • Validate the cost effectiveness and environmental benefit of utilizing alternative propulsion methods on ground vehicles used on military installations.