Hawaii has now become a key federal laboratory for biofuels because of its dependence on imported oil as well as its great weather for growing crops.
It will spend at least US $10 million dollars over the next five years to fund research and development at Maui cane fields for crops capable of fueling navy aircraft jets and ships.
The project may also provide farmers in other warm climates with a model for harvesting their biofuel crops. The navy aims to use biofuel for half of its fuel needs by 2020. To meet its goal, it’s been pouring money into algae, sugar and other crops that could become alternative energy to fossil fuels.
The federal government supports a variety of biofuel programs, but for the military such efforts have a special importance because of the tenuous relationship between US and some large oil exporting nations. The navy identified Hawaii as a priority location for biofuel production because it’s home to the US Pacific fleet and about a dozen cruisers, destroyers and frigates that rely on petroleum.
The navy’s partner in the biofuels development, the US Department of Agriculture, already new Hawaii’s sunlight, warm weather and rain, on average it allows farmers to grow more plants per acre than other parts of the US.