The world's most powerful air force is seeking to wean itself from foreign oil and nearly zero out its carbon dioxide output as part of a sweeping alternative energy drive, a senior Pentagon official said.
By early 2011, the U.S. Air Force aims to make sure its entire fleet of bombers, fighters, transports and other aircraft can use a domestically produced 50-50 blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuel.
William Anderson, an assistant Air Force secretary, said the goal was to reduce energy demand, look for cleaner power sources and to reuse captured carbon commercially, for instance to enhance the growth of biofuels or improve oil well production.
"We can get ourselves very close to a zero carbon footprint," said Anderson ahead of talks on the issue with counterparts in Britain and France next month.
"Not today. Not tomorrow. But maybe a decade or so down the road," he told a briefing at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.
Anderson said the Air Force's economic clout as a purchaser could help promote sources of power that do not add to emissions of greenhouse gases. Such gases trap heat in the atmosphere.
The largest U.S. solar-electric power array of 14.2 megawatts is to open in December at Nellis Air force Base in Las Vegas, and Anderson said Congress had asked the service to consider if its bases are appropriate sites for small nuclear facilities.
Anderson said the effort on synthetic jet fuel had been spurred by the 2006 challenge to the nation from President Bush to wean itself from its "addiction" to imported oil. Oil supplies are diminishing, Anderson said. ( Reuters )