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Syracuse University Partners with Arden-Fox to Support the Advancement of Department of Defense's Net Zero Energy Initiative
Date:10/18/2010

n Afghanistan for the importing of expensive petroleum diesel has the potential to save millions or billions of dollars a year. Using $400 per gallon as the Fully Burdened Cost of Fuel (FBCF), a figure the DOD provided Congress in October 2009, the military would save $3.7 billion annually on fuel costs. However, even if the FBCF is only $41 per gallon, the plant has a one-year payback. In the second year of operation the plant would save $90 million and fuel would cost $33.50 per gallon.
  • Challenge the opium trade – Reducing the influence of the opium trade is one of the most difficult challenges in Afghanistan. The biodiesel plant, allowing agricultural specialists to persuade farmers to switch from growing poppy to safflower, could reduce the cultivation of poppy up to 50 percent. This reduction would deny opium revenues to the Taliban, challenge criminal networks, and lower the incidence of corruption related to the drug trade.
  • Create a new industry for Afghanistan – If the first plant is successful in supplying biodiesel to the U.S. military, other plants may be built, further stimulating agriculture in Afghanistan and creating jobs. These plants may be focused on the domestic fuel market, countering the drain that importing petroleum has on Afghanistan's fragile economy. An export market is also possible since neighboring countries import large quantities of oil.    

  • The report also recommends that 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 Biomass Coordinating Council, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) – Lt. Col
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