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February 2007

February 28, 2007

DOE Makes Draft Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle R&D Roadmap Available for Comment

Preliminary schedule for PHEV work. Click to enlarge.

The DOE Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies (FCVT) has developed a Draft Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle R&D Plan to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies critical for plug-in hybrid vehicles. (Earlier post.)

This plan addresses all aspects of R&D from technology assessment through production readiness. It describes the necessary development of batteries and electric drive components, including near- and mid-term R&D activities as well as long-term fundamental research.

It also relies on analytical studies to quantify the potential national benefits of PHEVs, and the monitoring of global policy and technological developments to find opportunities for beneficial collaboration and stay aware of the latest advances from around the world.

DOE is proposing two generations of technology development actions in addition to long-term R&D. The agency expects the resulting component developments, when integrated and validated in a vehicle environment, to produce necessary data for technology transfer and production readiness decisions by industry.

FCTV is inviting interested parties to review the draft PHEV R&D Plan and comment. FCVT has targeted a release of the plan by April 20.

Battery performance requirements versus vehicle application. A PHEV battery will experience both deep discharges like an EV (i.e., the large swings in SOC shown in green) and shallow cycling necessary to maintain the battery for power-assist in charge sustaining HEV mode (in yellow). Click to enlarge.

Lithium-ion Batteries. DOE has worked on developing Li-ion battery technology for years in partnership with the auto industry in areas such as technology development, applied research, and focused fundamental research. While this work is directly applicable to the PHEV R&D activity, PHEV requirements are more complex.

Battery requirements are extremely sensitive to vehicle design (i.e., all-electric or charge-depleting range) and a single PHEV design has not been (and likely will never be) agreed upon. This means that battery development must cover a range of requirements from providing essentially the same functionality as in today’s hybrids (sharing power demands with the engine) to providing all the vehicle propulsion power as well as accessory loads (that could double the demand).

The requirements for a PHEV battery combine those of an electric vehicle (EV) which only depletes the battery during operation (i.e., “charge depleting only”) and a typical HEV in production today that maintains the battery state of charge within bounds (i.e., “charge sustaining”). In addition to the stringent duty cycle, the power-to-energy (P/E) ratio (an influential design parameter) is specific to each vehicle application.

—PHEV R&D plan

Acknowledging the uncertainties, DOE is developing near-, medium- and long-term goals for battery development.

  • Near term: 10 mile all-electric range (AER) for a mid-size SUV, implying a 5-10kWh battery with approximately 40 kW peak power, costing no more than $4,000.

  • Medium-term: To be established as PHEV requirements solidify.

  • Long-term: 40 mile AER for a mid-size passenger car, and the same $4,000 system cost.

Spider chart comparing Li-ion and NiMH to DOE targets. Click to enlarge

While Li-ion batteries are making significant progress and offer significant advantages in higher specific energy and power than NiMH batteries, cost remains an challenge and durability with a PHEV duty cycle remains a question.

In approaching Li-ion battery development for PHEVs, DOE is using its approach applied to the development of NiMH batteries in the 1990s: highly interactive fundamental and applied R&D.

  • Phase 1 has national laboratories and universities performing exploratory research on materials with long-term potential to improve Li-ion technology.

  • Phase 2 has the national laboratories and industry/USABC focusing on cell development—s new, higher energy materials in appropriately sized cells/modules. This includes the Li-based cell configurations of Enerdel, CPI/LG Chem and A123 systems.

  • Phase 3 has industry/USABC) design and build battery systems for evaluation in the laboratory and validation with industry (suppliers and OEMs) within their development environment to accelerate technology transfer. The latest generation of Li-ion batteries by Johnson Controls-SAFT is presently undergoing tests at ANL.

  • Phase 4 concentrates on cost reduction through the refinement of the battery design and materials in concert with the processes and equipment required for low-cost volume battery manufacturing. Earlier Li battery developments by SAFT have entered this stage of development as well as ultracapacitors (by Nescap and Maxwell) and low-cost separators (by Celgard, UMT and AMS).

Battery R&D schedule. Click to enlarge.

The DOE/USABC will release a PHEV battery solicitation in Q2 FY07 and expects to begin benchmarking or proof of concept contracts by early spring 2007. Similarly, the applied and focused fundamental research activities are planning to ramp up work on higher energy battery materials and cells following approval of the 2007 DOE budget.

Power electronics and electric machines. (PEEM) The DOE notes that PHEVs do not present any additional technical barriers for electric drive components since the power requirements fall within the spectrum of previously considered hybrid and electric vehicles.

In examining the different options for a PHEV architecture (parallel power-sharing and series), DOE notes that the parallel power-sharing configuration (e.g., today’s production hybrids) with a modified control strategy to allow battery charge depletion for PHEV application is likely be the most cost-effective and have the least impact on the motor and power electronics. However, it also notes, because of cost, mass and packaging considerations, performance may be compromised.

In a series hybrid configuration such as the Volt, full-function electric traction components (more than twice the power as in current production hybrids) are required for full-time electric drive. This exacerbates electric propulsion system cost, but the smaller engine-generator system (used to extend the range) and the elimination of the mechanical drive should cost less than the conventional engine and driveline components. And from a longer term perspective, development of higher power electric drive components for PHEVs will benefit fuel cell vehicles where all traction and accessory power will be supplied electrically.

DOE’s PEEM activity is developing technology to meet the requirements of a variety of hybrid and electric propulsion (including fuel cell vehicles). The broad spectrum of applications and propulsion system configurations necessitates multiple technology development paths that cover components as well as integrated systems (such as the integrated motor-inverter design under development). Work in all areas is focused on improving performance, reducing volume or lowering cost.

DOE has four primary development goals in the PEEM area, including PHEV-specific activity:

  • Motor R&D. Decreasing the cost and size of electric motors requires increasing speed (i.e., higher power from smaller machines) and/or redesigning for increased material utilization or lower cost materials.

    Ongoing FY07 PEEM R&D activities are focused on high speed 16,000 rpm permanent magnet motors that achieve field weakening within the structure of the motor and eliminate the need for a DC/DC boost converter. Motor speeds up to 20,000 rpm are being explored.

    Several motor designs with system-level savings for PHEVs are being explored. A motor concept with controllable winding configurations is being developed that enables high starting torque with considerably less power from the battery, potentially lowering battery cost and weight. A traction motor with a substantially higher CPSR than that required for an HEV or FCV would enable reductions in gearing that will provide vehicle cost and weight reductions.

  • Power Electronics R&D. Reducing the cost and size of the power electronics requires addressing the (large) capacitors, waste heat (more tolerant components, reducing heat or dissipating it more efficiently) and new designs that reduce parts count by integrating functionality.

    A current source inverter (as opposed to a conventional voltage source inverter) is being designed and developed to eliminate the DC bus capacitor by using inductors. A portfolio of projects is being pursued that spans a range of cooling temperatures.

    A long term focus, possibly in conjunction with higher temperature wide bandgap semiconductor components such as SiC, is the use of high temperature, air-cooled systems. Such an approach would insure that technologies are being developed for all potential future vehicle platforms (HEV, PHEV, and FCV).

    Several efforts are being directed specifically at PHEV applications, including determining the potential to use the existing HEV inverter to fulfill the plug-in charging function on the vehicle. A bidirectional DC/DC converter is being explored to reduce cost and volume.

  • Thermal control R&D. The objective is to maintain the electronic devices at operating temperatures that will ensure performance and reliability over the life of the vehicle while reducing system cost, weight, and volume.

  • Integrated Systems Development. Efforts are being initiated to integrate the motor and inverter, focusing on development of a system that will accommodate the spectrum of performance requirements of internal combustion engine hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. The resulting range of requirements encompasses the needs of envisioned PHEVs.

PEEM Development targets. Click to enlarge.

DOE is also considering other vehicle efficiency technologies in the R&D plan. DOE does not consider vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power flow as a short-term enabler for PHEV technology, although it does acknowledge that V2G could have system-level benefits. With respect to PHEV-grid interaction, therefore, the DOE is focusing on the specific requirements of the interface for vehicle charging and the impact of charging on the grid and utilities.

DOE is requesting comments via email (addressed to AAT@ee.doe.gov) on this draft plan no later 28 March.

(A hat-tip to Mark!)


February 28, 2007 in Batteries, Plug-ins, Research | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

China’s Private Auto Fleet Climbs to 29.25 Million

Xinhua. The number of privately-owned automobiles in China reached 29.25 million at the end of 2006, up 23.7% over the end of 2005, according to the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Wednesday.

The country sold more than seven million automobiles in 2006, including 3.8 million sedans, according to figures from the China Automobile Industry Association.

China, once known as the kingdom of bicycles, has overtaken Japan to become the world’s second largest auto market after the United States.

February 28, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Study: Diesel PM Exhaust Poses Specific Risk to Commuters

Diesel fumes pose a specific health risk to commuters, according to a new report by the Clean Air Task Force (CATF).

CATF investigated the exposure to diesel particles during typical commutes in four cities: Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City; and Columbus, Ohio. In addition, CATF tested the air quality benefits due to emission control retrofits of transit buses in Boston and transit buses and garbage trucks in New York City.

CATF documented diesel particle levels four to eight times higher inside commuter cars, buses, and trains than in the ambient outdoor air in those cities.

Our investigation demonstrated that you may be exposed to high levels of diesel particles—four to eight times the levels in the outdoor air—whether you commute by car, bus, ferry, train, or on foot

—Bruce Hill, Senior Scientist with CATF

By contrast, Hill noted, pollution levels were negligible for commuters in and near vehicles equipped with modern pollution controls or those that run on lower-polluting fuels such as natural gas.


February 28, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JATCO to Build CVTs in China

JATCO Ltd, an affiliate of Nissan Motor, is opening a plant to build steel-belt continuously variable transmissions in China at an initial cost of roughly ¥6 billion (US$50.5 million).

The Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, plant is expected to start operating in mid-2009 with an initial production capacity of 140,000 units per year for front-wheel drive vehicles. The new factory will have a floor space of about 10,000 sq. meters and handle CVT assembly, as well as processing of some CVT parts.

This will be JATCO’s second overseas production site, following first overseas subsidiary in Mexico. JATCO started production of steel-belt CVTs in 1997 and has become one of the largest volume producers of CVTs in the world.

February 28, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kinder Morgan to Invest Up to $100 Million in Biodiesel Infrastructure

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners plans to invest up to $100 million to expand its terminal facilities to help serve the growing biodiesel market.

KMP has entered into long-term agreements with Green Earth Fuels, LLC to build up to 1.3 million barrels of tankage that will handle approximately 8 million barrels of biodiesel production at KMP’s terminals on the Houston Ship Channel, the Port of New Orleans and in New York Harbor.

Green Earth Fuels has agreed to build biodiesel production facilities at various KMP terminal sites in these regions and has already begun construction on an 86 million gallon facility at KMP’s Galena Park Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel that is expected to commence operations in July 2007.

Upon completion, these expansions are expected to be immediately accretive to distribution available to KMP unitholders.

In addition to biodiesel, KMP has significantly increased its handling of ethanol and continues to pursue additional ethanol opportunities in both its terminals and products pipelines business units. In 2006, KMP handled approximately 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol, almost 30% of the domestic ethanol market.

The terminals group currently provides ethanol services at its facilities in Chicago, New York Harbor, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Houston, while the products pipelines group provides storage and blending of ethanol at its terminals in California, Nevada, Arizona, Virginia and Florida.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is one of the largest publicly traded pipeline limited partnerships in America and owns or operates more than 27,000 miles of pipelines and approximately 145 terminals.

Its pipelines transport more than 2 million barrels/day of gasoline and other petroleum products and up to 9 billion cubic feet/day of natural gas; and, its terminals handle more than 80 million tons of coal and other bulk materials annually and have a liquids storage capacity of about 70 million barrels for petroleum products and chemicals. KMP is also the leading provider of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery projects in the United States.

February 28, 2007 in Biodiesel, Infrastructure | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New Data Analysis Links Atlantic Ocean Warming to Stronger Hurricanes

Hurricane Katrina. Source: NOAA.

Atmospheric scientists have uncovered fresh evidence to support the theory that global warming has contributed to the emergence of stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. But the trend doesn’t hold up in the world’s other oceans.

Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C., reported the findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The work should help clarify two studies last year that drew connections between global warming and increasingly intense hurricanes.

Documenting trends in hurricane intensity is made more difficult by sparse observations and has led to debates about whether the trends are real, or are artifacts of observations. This study has directly addressed this point by using, for the first time, a new satellite data set to look at hurricane trends.

—Jay Fein, program director in NSF’s division of atmospheric sciences

For decades, hurricane researchers found it difficult to work with the inconsistent nature of hurricane data. Before the advent of weather satellites, scientists were forced to rely on scattered ship reports and sailor logs to stay abreast of storm conditions. The advent of weather satellites during the 1960s dramatically improved the situation, but the technology has changed so rapidly that newer satellite records are barely consistent with older ones.

Working with an NCDC archive that holds global satellite information for the years 1983 through 2005, James Kossin, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his colleagues evened out the numbers by simplifying newer satellite information to align it with older records.

This new data set is unlike anything that’s been done before. It’s going to serve a purpose as being the only globally consistent data set around. The caveat of course, is that it only goes back to 1983.

—James Kossin

After NCDC researchers recalibrated the hurricane figures, Kossin took a fresh look at how the new numbers on hurricane strength correlate with warming ocean temperatures, a side effect of global warming. What he found both supported and contradicted previous findings.

The data say that the Atlantic has been trending upwards in hurricane intensity quite a bit. But the trends appear to be inflated or spurious everywhere else, meaning that we still can't make any global statements.

—James Kossin

Sea-surface temperatures may be one reason why the Atlantic Ocean is unique, says Kossin.

The average conditions in the Atlantic at any given time are just on the cusp of what it takes for a hurricane to form. So it might be that only a small change in conditions creates a much better chance of having a hurricane.

—James Kossin

The Atlantic is also unique in that the physical variables that converge to form hurricanes—including wind speeds, wind directions and temperatures—mysteriously feed off each other to make conditions ripe for a storm. But scientists don’t understand why, Kossin adds.

While we can see a correlation between global warming and hurricane strength, we still need to understand exactly why the Atlantic is reacting to warmer temperatures in this way, and that is much more difficult to do. We need to be creating models and simulations to understand what is really happening here.

—James Kossin


February 28, 2007 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

DOE Awards Up to $385 Million to Six Cellulosic Ethanol Plants; Total Investment to Exceed $1.2 Billion

The US Department of Energy will invest up to $385 million for six biorefinery projects over the next four years. When fully operational, the biorefineries are expected to produce more than 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.

The solicitation, announced a year ago, was initially for three biorefineries and $160 million. However, in an effort to expedite the goals of the Advanced Energy Initiative and help achieve the goals of President Bush’s Twenty in Ten Initiative, within authority of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), Section 932, Secretary Bodman raised the funding ceiling.

Combined with the industry cost share, more than $1.2 billion will be invested in these six biorefineries. Negotiations between the selected companies and DOE will begin immediately to determine final project plans and funding levels. Funding will begin this fiscal year and run through FY 2010.

EPAct authorized DOE to solicit and fund proposals for the commercial demonstration of advanced biorefineries that use cellulosic feedstocks to produce ethanol and co-produce bioproducts and electricity.

The following six projects were selected:

  • Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be located in the state of Kansas and will produce 11.4 million gallons of ethanol annually and enough energy to power the facility, with any excess energy being used to power the adjacent corn dry grind mill. The plant will use 700 tons per day of corn stover, wheat straw, milo stubble, switchgrass, and other feedstocks.

    Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass investors/participants include: Abengoa Bioenergy R&D, Inc.; Abengoa Engineering and Construction, LLC; Antares Corp.; and Taylor Engineering.

  • ALICO, Inc. of LaBelle, Florida, up to $33 million. The proposed plant will be in LaBelle (Hendry County), Florida. The plant will produce 13.9 million gallons of ethanol a year and 6,255 kW of electric power, as well as 8.8 tons of hydrogen and 50 tons of ammonia per day. For feedstock, the plant will use 770 tons per day of yard, wood, and vegetative wastes and eventually energycane.

    ALICO, Inc. investors/participants include: Bioengineering Resources, Inc. of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Washington Group International of Boise, Idaho; GeoSyntec Consultants of Boca Raton, Florida; BG Katz Companies/JAKS, LLC of Parkland, Florida; and Emmaus Foundation, Inc.

  • BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. of Irvine, California, up to $40 million. The proposed plant will be in Southern California, will be sited on an existing landfill and produce about 19 million gallons of ethanol a year. As feedstock, the plant would use 700 tons per day of sorted green waste and wood waste from landfills.

    BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. investors/participants include: Waste Management, Inc.; JGC Corporation; MECS Inc.; NAES; and PetroDiamond.

  • Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, up to $80 million. The plant is in Emmetsburg (Palo Alto County), Iowa, and after expansion, it will produce 125 million gallons of ethanol per year, of which roughly 25% will be cellulosic ethanol. For feedstock in the production of cellulosic ethanol, the plant expects to use 842 tons per day of corn fiber, cobs, and stalks.

    Broin Companies participants include: E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Novozymes North America, Inc.; and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

  • Iogen Biorefinery Partners, LLC, of Arlington, Virginia, up to $80 million. The proposed plant will be built in Shelley, Idaho, near Idaho Falls, and will produce 18 million gallons of ethanol annually. The plant will use 700 tons per day of agricultural residues including wheat straw, barley straw, corn stover, switchgrass, and rice straw as feedstocks.

    Iogen Biorefinery Partners, LLC investors/partners include: Iogen Energy Corporation; Iogen Corporation; Goldman Sachs; and The Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

  • Range Fuels (formerly Kergy Inc.) of Broomfield, Colorado, up to $76 million. The proposed plant will be constructed in Soperton (Treutlen County), Georgia. The plant will produce about 40 million gallons of ethanol per year and 9 million gallons per year of methanol. As feedstock, the plant will use 1,200 tons per day of wood residues and wood based energy crops.

    Range Fuels investors/participants include: Merrick and Company; PRAJ Industries Ltd.; Western Research Institute; Georgia Forestry Commission; Yeomans Wood and Timber; Truetlen County Development Authority; BioConversion Technology; Khosla Ventures; CH2MHill; Gillis Ag and Timber.

February 28, 2007 in Cellulosic ethanol | Permalink | Comments (42) | TrackBack

Pacific Gas and Electric to Study Wave Power in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties

Pacific Gas and Electric Company took the first step towards developing generation projects that could convert the abundant wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties (California) into electricity by filing two preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The WaveConnect projects will begin with resource, environmental, and ocean use studies and if developed would use wave energy conversion (WEC) devices to transform the energy of ocean waves into clean, renewable electricity. If fully developed, the projects could each provide up to 40 MW of clean renewable electric supply.

This would be the first application in North America for a project that would allow multiple WEC device manufacturers to demonstrate their devices on a common site, which could help accelerate the development of wave energy technology.

Most of the WEC devices currently being considered by PG&E float on the ocean surface and generate electricity when waves are present. PG&E, as the lead developer, will be responsible for the permitting of the sites and will encourage the participation of multiple WEC device manufacturers in the projects.

Phased development of the sites would proceed if technical results support feasibility, environmental studies show that any significant impacts can be fully mitigated, and stakeholder considerations can be satisfactorily addressed.

Working closely with stakeholders, PG&E will take a leading role in identifying and mitigating any potential impacts to the marine environment in order to maintain the beauty and diversity of coastal waters. PG&E, working with environmental agencies and consultants, will undertake studies of the water resource and its various ecosystems. The project will be designed to minimize effects on the environment, coastal processes, and ocean users.

February 28, 2007 in Power Generation | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Air Products Introduces New Dual-Pressure Capable Hydrogen Fueling Station; First Public-View 700 Bar Station in US

Air Products and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) unveiled a new dual 700 and 350 bar (10,000/5,000 psi) pressure capable vehicle fueling station on the UCI campus.

The 700 bar fueling station is the first in the United States to be sited at a location with wider accessibility for vehicle fueling demonstrations. The station is also the first deployed by Air Products as part of the California Hydrogen Infrastructure Project (CHIP) with the United States Department of Energy (DOE), along with project collaborators Toyota, Honda, BMW and Nissan.

One way for hydrogen vehicles to achieve a greater range between refuelings is through vehicle on-board storage at higher pressures.

This is really a milestone project in the continued development of fueling station technology. The dual-pressure dispensing capability allows drivers to select the pressure at which to refuel their hydrogen fueled vehicles. This station is the first in California and the United States with the ability to dispense hydrogen at varied and advanced pressures, and to be sited in public view.

—Ed Heydorn, business development manager for Air Products

The fueling station features non-interchangeable fueling nozzles, which reduce the potential for user error. The stand-alone dispenser features a familiar gas station-like interface designed for ease of use and safety. The fueling station has a capacity of 25 kg per day—about five to ten fills, depending on vehicle capacity. Computerized vehicle communications help optimize the refueling process, and vehicle fill times are approximately three to six minutes for both fueling pressures.

Vehicle communications help optimize the fill by allowing the station to monitor tank temperature and pressure during the fueling process. Hydrogen can be dispensed with or without vehicle communications.

The gas supply for the station comes from trucked-in liquid hydrogen.

Air Products designed, engineered, installed, and will maintain the dual pressure station with funding from the DOE and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District. Planning is underway for the addition of a separate liquid dispensing unit which can directly fill vehicles that carry liquid hydrogen on board as a fuel.

Toyota, Honda, and Nissan’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and BMW’s hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle, which uses liquid hydrogen, anticipate fueling at the station. The National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine operates the station, which is open to authorized users in furtherance of the DOE project. Air Products has installed prior 700 bar stations for private use at vehicle original equipment manufacturer facilities.

The CHIP program is a DOE-sponsored multi-year project led by Air Products to demonstrate a model of real-world hydrogen infrastructure and to acquire sufficient data to assess the feasibility of achieving some of the nation’s hydrogen infrastructure goals. To accomplish this, several hydrogen fueling stations employing a variety of hydrogen production methods are planned in the greater Los Angeles area, including the station at UCI.

February 28, 2007 in Hydrogen, Infrastructure | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

US Air Force Plans to Certify All B-52s for GTL-Blend Use by End of Year; On the Ground, More Electric Vehicles

If detailed analysis of flight test data and physical inspection prove out, the US Air Force plans to certify its entire B-52 bomber fleet for use of a GTL-JP8 blend by the end of the year. The Air Force recently concluded its flight and ground tests of the 50-50 GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) blend. (Earlier post.)

Michael A. Aimone, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, US Air Force made the statement during testimony before the Finance Committee of the US Senate.

It should be pointed out that we chose a domestic source of SynFuel for our first military aviation demonstration, and this SynFuel was manufactured from natural gas. We recognize that Gas-to-Liquids do not assure the Air Force a dependable supply of jet fuel, since domestic natural gas production is insufficient to meet the Nation’s needs.

The production of SynFuel from coal, oil shale and biomass sources would solve this constraint; however, there are considerable technical, environmental, and economic issues that remain to be worked out. We are partnering with the Department of Energy and the Defense Logistics Agency, as well as the Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels mandated by Section 369 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act to explore what can be done in these areas.

—Michael Aimone

The Air Force, which in FY 2006 was the largest green power purchaser of electricity—more than 990,000 MWHrs—in the Federal Government, and 3rd largest in the United States is increasing its efforts to improve its energy efficiency and reduce fuel use.

Thirty seven Air Force Bases in the United States procure green power, according to Aimone, and Dyess AFB in Texas, Fairchild AFB in Washington, and Minot AFB in North Dakota achieve nearly 100% of their electrical energy requirements from wind energy systems located near their installations.

More than 8% of Air Force fuel is B20. Although the Air Force has 4,479 flex-fuel vehicles in the fleet, the refueling infrastructure for that fuel is much smaller. Today, 58 Air Force Bases are dispensing B20, and 16 bases are dispensing E85.

Aimone also said that the Air Force has established a goal to right-size the ground general purpose vehicle fleet. This includes the purchase of at least 30% of the new vehicle requirement as electric Low Speed Vehicles, also known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles.

With more than 80% of the annual $7B energy bill going toward fueling aircraft, the Air Force has set a target of reducing aviation fuel use by 10% over the next six years.

We will accomplish this aviation fuel optimization strategy through a series of operational changes by our pilots and aircraft maintenance specialists—some changes are as simple as reducing unneeded weight on aircraft. For example, every 100 pounds of excess weight removed from one of our strategic airlift aircraft results in an annual savings of 240,000 gallons of aviation fuel.

—Michael A. Aimone


  • Testimony of Michael A. Aimone, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, US Air Force

February 27, 2007 in Aviation, Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL), Coal-to-Liquids (CTL), Electric (Battery), Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

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