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