Post oil: Pentagon "Green Hawks" see energy security in biofuel (VIDEO)
"Green Hawks" at Pentagon see energy security in biofuel alternatives for a post-oil world.
Six twin-tailed F-18 Hornets rolled toward the end of the runway at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, taxiinging with the pent-up energy of hooded hunting falcons. It was the annual Labor Day Air Expo along Maryland's western shore, and whether they knew it or not, thousands of spectators were going to watch the Navy's Blue Angels conduct an experiment at hundreds of miles an hour.Skip to next paragraph
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Last year, the jets burned dead dinosaurs – petroleum-based, combat-tested jet fuel. This year, the six jets were burning a 50-50 blend of dead dinosaurs and the byproduct of a plant that counts broccoli and Brussels sprouts among its distant kin. One minute-long maneuver would bring four craft to within 18 inches of one another, wingtip to canopy – no margin for even a split-second engine hitch.
Rear Adm. Philip Cullom, who heads the Navy's energy and environmental readiness division, called it "the ultimate test" of a fuel blended to help the US military wean itself from reliance on uncertain oil supplies and their volatile price swings.
For a glimpse of what the road to an oil-free, more energy-efficient future might look like, look no further than the US military. In a movement that has gained momentum during the past decade, active and retired officers dubbed the "green hawks" have been beating the drum for increased energy efficiency and wider use of renewable fuels for civilian and military needs. It's an urgent matter of national security, they argue.
Many credit James Woolsey, a former undersecretary of the Navy and former CIA director, for raising the issue's profile to a strategic level. No bearded Birkenstocker he. In interviews he has credited the gas lines during the 1973 Arab oil embargo with opening his eyes to America's vulnerability and firing up his interest in renewable energy.