The American Security Project’s White Paper report, Advanced Biofuels and National Security, builds on ASP’s long history of demonstrating the importance of reducing oil use for national security and highlighting the work of the Department of Defense in promoting alternative fuels. The report demonstrates that developing advanced biofuels is important in reducing America’s dependence on oil; this dependence presents a real national security threat to the United States and to the American military.
Advanced biofuels are “fuels made from a low-carbon, sustainable feedstock that can be blended into a fuel supply to provide a drop-in replacement for traditional fuels.” Over the last decade, the United States has seen a boom in the production of ethanol made from corn. Today, about 10% of the U.S. fuel supply is composed of corn-based ethanol: this is fuel that would otherwise be made from oil. However, further growth in this industry is unlikely. Advanced biofuels, made from feedstocks like algae, animal fats, grasses, or even municipal wastes, could grow much further. These biofuels can be refined to act as ‘drop in replacements’ for current fuels, whether diesel, jet fuel, or gasoline. These fuels have the potential for drop-in compatibility and interoperability with existing equipment and infrastructure.
Rapid advances in biofuel technology and expanding economies of scale as a result of government and private investments are occurring. The long-term potential for this industry, according to the American Security Project, means that it could become a key part of America’s entire fuel supply, reducing America’s dependence on oil, and increasing our national security over the long run.
Download the paper here.