Next month Air Force test pilots will try something new: flying a B-52 bomber on a fuel mixture that includes synthetic gas made from coal. The test flight is part of an energy-conservation program at the Pentagon that takes into account the potential for more instability in the Mideast, which provides much of the United States’ oil.
I’ve noted this plan before: Working the black seam (remix)
Here’s a road bump:
Environmentalists aren’t fans of the idea. David Hawkins of the National Resources Defense Council says burning coal-based fuel will create the same amount of carbon-dioxide pollution as gas, furthering global warming. “The standards we have for carbon-dioxide pollution will only get stricter in the next 10 to 20 years,” says Hawkins, who heads the group’s climate center. “An institution like the Defense Department needs to be thinking beyond just alternatives that will cause the same amount of damage.”
Mr. Hawkins seems confused. He apparently thinks the Air Force is doing this to address the pollution issue. They aren’t.
According to this article, in Fiscal 2005 the USAF used 3.2 billion gallons of aviation fuel, which was 52.5% of the fossil fuel used by the US government, at a cost of $4.7 billion.
For more depth on the military’s fuel situation, see Pentagon and Peak Oil: A Military Literature Review.