Navy puts out first biofuel solicitation in ‘Farm to Fleet’ push

Source: Annie Snider, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Navy put out its first solicitation this week for advanced biofuels as part of its regular procurement process — a step toward having biofuels make up 10 percent of the service’s fuel mix.

The initial¬†solicitation¬†seeks at least 37 million gallons of drop-in biofuels for the military’s largest fuel acquisition region. The Navy is looking for biofuels that can be blended up to 50-50 with conventional petroleum products while meeting all military specification requirements.
The move is part of the “Farm to Fleet” initiative announced by the Navy and the Department of Agriculture last December (E&ENews PM, Dec. 11, 2013). The military will only purchase the biofuels if they are cost-competitive with conventional fuels, but under the initiative, USDA will offer funding of up to 71 cents per biofuel gallon through its Commodity Credit Corp. to help defray additional costs.The initiative is separate from an effort by the Navy, USDA and the Department of Energy to help fund commercial-scale biofuel refineries.Paul Winters, spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said the solicitation will help biofuel producers make their case to financiers.”With a committed large-scale buyer and assistance in establishing feedstock supply chains, advanced biofuel developers will be in a position to secure financing for building or retrofitting biorefineries,” he said by email. “In a risk-averse lending market, financing is a big obstacle for new technologies. This program is well-designed to overcome initial obstacles.”