Department of Energy, US Navy and Department of Agriculture, DOE-USN-USDA,

In Washington, the Department of Defense has awarded $210 million under the Defense Production Act to Emerald Biofuels, Fulcrum BioEnergy and Red Rock Bio towards the construction of biorefineries that produce cost-competitive, drop-in military biofuels reports Biomas Digest.

Under the grants, the companies will build biorefineries to produce military spec fuel that is expected to cost the US military, on a weighted average, less than $3.50 per gallon — or cost competitive with petroleum-based fuels, with availability expected as soon as 2016, and have a 50 percent of greater reduction of emissions compared to conventional fuels.

The biorefineries, once complete, will have a combined capacity for producing 100 million gallons of military-spec jet fuel and marine diesel.

The Defense Production Act was passed during the Truman Administration to permit the Department of Defense to invest in building production capacity for a wide range of military materials. The Act was passed in recognition that the military, given the nature of its missions, is often the first large customer for a technology.

The military uses slightly different versions of jet fuel and marine diesel. It’s fuels are generally less volatile fuel than conventional fuels, with a higher “flash point” that were established because of the harsh conditions that the military must operate under at sea. For this reason, the military cannot simply buy conventional marine diesel or jet fuel, whether it contains biofuels or not.

In an innovative program, the USDA will make available up to $161 million in Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds — in support for the Navy’s fuel program. The USDA’s support was originally announced by the Administration in 2012.  The CCC is a wholly-owned government corporation created in 1933 to “stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices”.