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Posts tagged: Navy

USDA Praises Industry, Midwest Stakeholders, as they Sign an Agreement To Develop Commercial Biofuels

Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture Sarah Bittleman talked about the Agriculture perspectives on advanced drop-in biofuels, at the Industry Roundtable held in the Jefferson Auditorium, U.S.Department of  Agriculture Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday, May 18, 2012.  Her talk discussed which feedstocks the USDA sees as coming  advanced drop-in biofuels industry, what a transition from a food to a non-food related feedstock looks like and when/if they are required, and a detailed overview of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs.   USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture Sarah Bittleman talked about the Agriculture perspectives on advanced drop-in biofuels, at the Industry Roundtable held in the Jefferson Auditorium, U.S.Department of Agriculture Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday, May 18, 2012. Her talk discussed which feedstocks the USDA sees as coming advanced drop-in biofuels industry, what a transition from a food to a non-food related feedstock looks like and when/if they are required, and a detailed overview of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Great things continue to happen as America moves forward in developing an “all of the above” strategy to become more energy independent.  For example, an agreement was signed between aviation industry leaders and Midwest stakeholders to develop and commercialize sustainable biofuels.  USDA will act as an advisor to this effort. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Efforts to Expand Aviation Biofuels at the Paris Air Show

 

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Efforts to Expand the Biofuels Industry at the Paris Air Show

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Efforts to Expand Aviation Biofuels at the Paris Air Show

On Wednesday in Paris, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earned the distinction as the first U.S. Agriculture Secretary to attend a Paris Air Show, the largest gathering of the world aerospace industry. The Secretary spoke at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase to a crowd of about 75 aviation business leaders about how USDA is among the forefront of U.S. federal efforts to support the development of bio-based fuels. USDA has established memoranda of understanding with several government and aviation-related agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Air Transport Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Navy, on efforts to research and develop renewable energy and the infrastructure to support it. Read more »

Biomass and Biofuel – What’s in it for Hawaii’s Agriculture?

Hawaii and the Pacific Basin

The dwindling global supply of fossil fuels and the resulting escalation in prices has set the stage for entry of commercial biofuel produced from biomass, including co-products and bi-products.  This transition in the energy sector’s feed stocks offers Hawaii a unique opportunity to locally produce biofuel from locally produced biomass feed stocks, and ultimately support the stabilization of the state’s energy resources; increase the local circulation of energy dollars; and further under gird Hawaii’s agricultural industry.  Read more »

Sugarcane as a Biofuel – How Sweet It Is.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Hawaii, most people would agree, is pretty close to being paradise – and the same things that make Hawaii a great place for a vacation also make it a great place to grow things. The natural capacity of land to produce crops depends on the amount and distribution of sunlight, temperature, and precipitation.  Hawaii has a greater natural production capacity than anywhere else in the U.S.   At one time, sugarcane was planted on over 100,000 acres of Hawaii farmland, and there were nine major sugar producers in the state.  Now there is only one producer, and the sugarcane acreage has shrunk to 37,000.

One way to revive the sugar industry in Hawaii is to diversify its products so that Hawaiians earn more per acre, and have their own sustainable supply of energy.  The USDA has partnered with the University of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (the “last man standing” in Hawaii’s sugarcane industry) to develop new ways to grow and use sugarcane as a source of biomass (the organic material used to create biofuels).

In Hawaii, sugarcane has the greatest near-term potential as a biomass feedstock for producing biofuels—it’s perennial and non-invasive, it’s already been grown in Hawaii for over a hundred years, and there is room to improve the existing yields by using newer varieties and harvesting other parts of the plant.  Sugarcane yields more energy per acre than other existing crops– it produces both cellulosic biomass (that can be converted into sugars) as well as the sugar itself. 

In January, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Navy got together and signed an agreement to work together on developing new biofuels and renewable energy sources.  Why is the Navy interested?  The Navy has also been looking into ways to “green” its large fleet of ships stationed in Hawaii, and it costs $10.6 million per year (at a price per gallon of $2.81) to keep one fueled and ready to move.  Right now all of that fuel has to be imported, too.

It has a 270-megawatt geothermal power plant in California, a wind farm at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and solar photovoltaic panels at its facilities in San Diego.   Using biofuels in its fleet is a logical next step.   The USDA, the Department of the Navy, the University of Hawaii, and the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar are now working together on this project.

Harvesting sugarcane in south Florida, where scientists in the ARS Sugarcane Production Research Unit are identifying research to help sustain both agriculture and natural Everglades ecosystems.
Harvesting sugarcane in south Florida, where scientists in the ARS Sugarcane Production Research Unit are identifying research to help sustain both agriculture and natural Everglades ecosystems.

An experimental ARS sugarcane field near Canal Point, Florida.
An experimental ARS sugarcane field near Canal Point, Florida.

Bar-coded tags identify experimental varieties of sugarcane.
Bar-coded tags identify experimental varieties of sugarcane.

- Ellen Buckley, Program Analyst, Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems, USDA Agricultural Research Service

USDA, Navy Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Renewable Energy Effort

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the Pentagon this morning to sign a key Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems. The event, held outside the building to showcase a light armored vehicle of the type capable to accommodate fuel from renewable energy sources, initiates a long term commitment from both departments to work in consort to secure the strategic energy future of the United States. It also is intended to create a more “nimble and effective” fighting force and provide renewable resources that protect the planet from destabilizing climate changes.USDA, through Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency and the Research, Education and Economics mission, will work with the Navy and Marines to support President Obama’s initiative to make the United States a global leader in developing a renewable energy economy, reducing energy consumption from fossil fuels and increasing energy production from renewable energy sources.

The Secretaries were joined at the event by a number of dignitaries, including North Carolina Congressman Mike McIntyre, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.  The Congressman noted that the renewable fuel production capacity of America’s farmers combines the “strength of our heartland” with our military in a spirit of innovation that sustains our Nation.

In his remarks, Secretary Mabus said that President Obama’s declaration that energy reform is a “national security imperative” underscores the necessity for the government to address the issue in bold fashion.  “The stakes are clear, the stakes are high and as our President said at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, we choose bold action over inaction.”  The Secretary said that the military uses 90 percent of the energy consumed by the Federal government.  The Navy alone has 50,000 non-tactical vehicles and a goal of cutting petroleum use by those vehicles in half by 2015 by phasing in hybrid, flex-fuel and electric models.

Secretary Vilsack began his remarks by saying it was an honor to be in the presence of “those who serve us in uniform.” He thanked the Secretary for the security afforded to him and his staff during a recent visit to Afghanistan and he noted the tremendous response being mounted by the Military, including the Navy and Marines, in earthquake-damaged Haiti.

Secretary Vilsack noted that in addition to the National Security, clean energy and Environmental factors, the MOU creates an opportunity to “Use the resources of USDA, including research capability, to create second and third generation biofuels for Military use” while also establishing “an enormous jobs generator.”  The Secretary said that farmers will sell raw materials to be converted to biofuels to processing facilities that still need to be “designed, built and operated.” “This MOU is about creating jobs, a cleaner environment and a secure America,” all priorities of the Obama administration.

During the actual signing ceremony, Secretary Vilsack used a pen made from renewable materials (corn cob) from Iowa.  Vilsack, a former Governor of Iowa, presented the pen to Secretary Mabus, a former Governor of Mississippi.

Seated, (L-R) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary Ray Mabus sign the MOU between the Department of Agriculture and the Navy Looking on are Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Congressman Mike McIntire and Roger Natsuhara, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Installations and Environment (Acting). Seated, (L-R) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary Ray Mabus sign the MOU between the Department of Agriculture and the Navy. Looking on are Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Congressman Mike McIntyre and Roger Natsuhara, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Installations and Environment (Acting).

Secretary Vilsack, Congressman McIntire and Secretary Mabus answer reporters questions while standing in front of a light assault vehicle of the type capable to accommodate fuel from renewable sources. Secretary Vilsack, Congressman McIntyre and Secretary Mabus answer reporters questions while standing in front of a light armored vehicle of the type capable to accommodate fuel from renewable sources.

Secretary Vilsack presents a pen, made from a corn cob, to Secretary Mabus.  The pen is from Iowa, where Vilsack served as Governor prior to his appointment to USDA by President Obama. Secretary Vilsack presents a pen, made from a corn cob, to Secretary Mabus.  The pen is from Iowa, where Vilsack served as Governor prior to his appointment to USDA by . President Obama

Submitted by Wayne Maloney, Office of Communications