The US Military is heavily involved in technology to assure US independence, which includes biofuels and other alternatives.
The thing is, if any one country has a hold on a key commodity, such as fuel, then all they need to do to maintain control, even of a country more powerful, is to restrict fuel supplies. OPEC cut off oil supplies in the 1970s and the US went into a recession. Cut off oil supplies in a military engagement and a country could essentially immobilize a fleet that runs off those supplies. Think of a siege in ancient times. Cut off the food and water supply and starve them until they’re a little more docile.
The US military doesn’t want to be under some oil baron’s heel, so what better to do than eliminate the need for petroleum in the fleet. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL], for example, is taking the lead in researching biofuels for the US Navy. A process, developed by Cobalt Technologies, using proprietary microorganisms and natural fermentation to break down switchgrass into biobutanol, which the Navy can then convert into biojetfuel.
All in all, the processes assure a nearly carbon-neutral biofuel, emitting just 5% more carbon dioxide than sequestered in the switchgrass. The program is still in trial stages, and “the results of testing will help determine whether the process is ready for commercial scale. If so, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense are poised to help private firms build the huge biorefineries that would be needed.”
Many technologies perfected for military application eventually trickle down to the private sector. The US Navy biofuels program, if successful, could have multiple benefits, including a more energy-independent military, more jobs in the biofuels sector, and better infrastructure for biofuels here in the US. Not to mention a 95% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.