Syracuse University today announced a partnership to advance the use of biofuels by the U.S. armed forces as an alternative energy source. The effort involves entrepreneurs John Fox '92 and Wayne Arden, who have proposed producing biodiesel in Afghanistan as a means to achieve multiple benefits, including reducing risks to American troops and building a new, sustainable economy in the country.
With energy demands growing at home bases, along with many global deployments creating logistical challenges, the Department of Defense (DOD) is working to increase the use of renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuel resources and to achieve 'net zero energy' (NZE) throughout the military. The Arden-Fox report "Producing and Using Biodiesel in Afghanistan" analyzed latest off-the-shelf solutions that could be implemented to produce biodiesel in Afghanistan that will reduce casualties as well as create new industry for building a stable nation.
The creation of this new partnership will allow for piloting of the recommendations included in the report and documentation of the economical viability of the proposal.
The paper's inspiration came from the commitment by President Obama to speed up the deployment of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2009 and his announcement of the expected start of troop withdrawal from the country starting in July 2011.
"We recognize the extensive research and effort that has been put into developing these recommendations," says Gina Lee-Glauser, vice president for research at Syracuse University. "We believe that these recommendations have the potential to reduce U.S. casualties and lessen the military's dependence on petroleum. In the coming weeks, we will be partnering with John Fox and Wayne Arden to evaluate a parallel implementation at one or more U.S. military bases. The purpose of this partnership is to pilot the recommendations and document the economical viability of the proposal. This parallel implementation will help the DOD make further progress in making military bases in the U.S. Net Zero Installations."
"SU faculty members have a broad spectrum of expertise that will help foster this partnership. For instance, understanding plant molecular biology holds the key to the development and sustainable harvesting of biodiesel crops, while innovative process design and integration are critical in achieving cost-effective production" says Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, professor and department chair of biomedical and chemical engineering in SU's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.
"Syracuse University's expertise relating to biofuel science and engineering can make a significant contribution to the industry by advancing the state of the art of feedstock cultivation and production technology," says Fox, co-author of the report. "Their work is relevant to military bases in New York state and across the country."
"The U.S. must increasingly turn to renewable energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," says Arden, the other co-author of the report. "Syracuse's commitment to biofuel research and development is very encouraging, and could benefit the military both overseas and here at home."
In the report, Arden and Fox highlight the five key benefits associated with producing and using biodiesel in Afghanistan:
The report also recommends that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) fund a study to analyze the creation of an Afghanistan commodities exchange. A commodities exchange would bring greater visibility to Afghanistan biodiesel crops, and more generally would strengthen the critical agricultural sector and Afghanistan's nascent mining sector.
Arden and Fox's recommendations have already gained support from Bill Holmberg, chairman of Biomass Coordinating Council, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.); and Gary Katz, co-founder, president and CEO of International Securities Exchange.
|Contact: Sara Miller|