Washington D.C., United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 19 August 2011 – President Obama has announced that the U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE), Agriculture (USDA) and Navy will invest up to US$510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector “’ which will also invest US$510 million “’ to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine bio-fuels to power military and commercial transportation.
The initiative responds to a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, the framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil.
USDA will take the lead in addressing feed stocks, the DOE will take the lead on technology, and the Navy will provide a market. Each department will share the US$510 million tab equally.
The US government funds will be re-directed from already authorised funding, and no additional spending will be required.
“Our goal is to create and stabilise the advanced bio-fuels industry,” commented agriculture secretary Vilsack. “This is not a fly by night effort – it’s a commitment to a real energy future. The president has asked us to make the U.S. more competitive, and to give real diversification in our energy choices.”
“We simply buy too much fuel from out of the country,” navy secretary Mabus added. “The supply shocks, the price shocks, it’s simply unacceptable to the military. For every dollar increase in the cost of a barrel of oil, it costs the Navy US$30 million.”
The partnership aims to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs while positioning American companies and farmers to be global leaders in advanced bio-fuels production. The United States spends more than US$300 billion per annum on imported crude oil. Producing a domestic source of energy provides a more secure alternative to imported oil and improves our energy and national security.
The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council, which will seek out private partners to leverage the government investment.
“We intend partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation bio-fuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country,” the Group said.