U.S. Military to use Algae for Biofuel
Okay, humans will still have their hands at the controls of military aircraft, albeit often from a distance. But the U.S. military is now "months away" from deriving jet fuel from algae ponds, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The advantages of oil independence for the U.S. military are obvious, but the algae fuel is also, well, green. It offers lower carbon emissions than oil-derived jet fuel, and will be mass-produced at about three dollars per gallon ("crude" algae oil has already been extracted for two dollars per gallon.) And since the Pentagon does things on a big scale, the mass-production technology holds the tantalizing promise of a big boost to the commercial biofuel industry.
The Navy has already embarked on a "Great Green Fleet" project, complete with an attached air wing powered by biofuels. And while the diversion of algae slime to military applications might impoverish America's stock of political operatives and reality-television heiresses, the effect may not last long. After all, independence from fossil fuels may leave the armed forces with a good deal less to do.
Other biofuel technologies: