Air Force Making Progress on Alternative Fuels
By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2006 The Air Force is embracing an energy strategy that uses alternative sources of power and conservation, a top Air Force official said here recently.
"I think we're making progress, but we certainly need your help and we look forward to increasing partnerships and taking advantage of the good ideas and products you are developing," Air Force Undersecretary Dr. Ron Sega told a group of civilian energy engineers during a World Energy Engineers Congress luncheon Sept. 15.
The undersecretary said energy is an important topic to Air Force leaders, as the service alone consumes about half the fuel purchased by the U.S. government. "It's important to us to pay attention to this issue," he said.
Sega pointed out the great strides the Air Force has made toward fuel and energy conservation. In fiscal 2005, the service was the largest buyer of renewable energy in the country. "I'm proud to say the Air Force is a leader in the use of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources," he said.
Sega said the test flight of a B-52 Stratofortress, in which two of the bomber's eight engines used a fuel that was almost 50 percent synthetic, was a first for the Air Force.
Sega said four Air Force installations currently are meeting 100 percent their electrical energy needs from renewable energy sources, and cited other ongoing energy conservation efforts:
- At Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., officials will use a solar farm to provide the base with some of its energy needs;
- At F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., officials will get additional power from a wind farm; and
- At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, base officials have used land gas production as an alternative source of energy since 1994.
Whether conserving fuel on the flight line or building more energy efficient buildings, the Air Force is working to use energy better and at less cost to taxpayers, Sega said.
"At every level, we are encouraging our airmen and civilians to adopt energy-efficient habits," he said. "That could be something as simple as turning off the lights of the office and the computer screen at the end of the day. So with everything we do, we are looking at energy as an important consideration."
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein is assigned to Air Force Print News.)