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Greening GI Joe

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The Defense budget is allocating millions of dollars for green energy projects through congressional earmarks. 

These earmarks beg the questions: Has the green movement advanced in full force on the military or are auto industry lobbyists getting what they want through congressional earmarks?

The Washington Times has contacted several Senators, most of whom haven’t responded. 

The question remains: If the energy projects earmarked by these congressmen are so crucial to the future of the military, why doesn’t congress trust the military to fund the projects through the standard research and procurement process?

Here are some earmarks from Senators whose spokesmen we’ve talked to.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Sen. Tom Udall
Algal Biofuels for Aviation; $3 million

 -Official statement from both offices:

“Moving toward an alternative source of fuel for aviation would address sustainability, environmental impacts, economic dependence and energy security related to our military and our national security.”

  • Sen. Bingaman’s office said several military officials view this as a noble cause and referred us to the Pentagon.
  • Sen. Udall’s office said: “Increasing reliance upon foreign energy sources is a major national security concern, particularly for the military, and they have made an effort to set goals for achieving new reliance on domestic, diversified energy sources. This project will research ways to produce and use biofuels for civilian and military aviation use. This includes research on optimal means of converting algal fuels into aviation fuel and designing aviation hardware that will best be used with such fuel.”

Remaining questions: Is algea really the best domestic source and is there any evidence it will ever be cost effective?

Sen. Kit Bond
1.Military Installation Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project; $2 million

Official statement:

Battery research with the goal of “deploying more electric vehicles on military installations.”  

2. Stabilized Enzyme Biofuel Cell for Unmanned Ground Sensors; $1.5 million

Official statement:

“…to develop a long-lasting power supply for unmanned ground sensors on the battlefield.”

Remaining questions: More electric cars?  Longer-lasting power supplies for UNMANNED sensors? Good intentions aside, with troops on the ground now are electric vehicles and biofuels really a priority?

Here are some more earmarks that involve fuel and battery technologies from Congressmen we’re still waiting to hear from: 

Sen. Christopher Dodd & Sen. Joe Liebermn:
Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell Demonstrator  $4.5 million

Sen. Carl Levin:
Advanced Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery System $10 million
Amorphous Si Flexible Photovoltaics for Grid Parity $2 million
Smart Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Program $3 million
Biofuels Program $2 million

Updates will come as Congressmen respond to the Washington Times inquiries.

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Anthony Bowe

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