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U.S. seeks to advance biofuels

Aug. 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Getting the U.S. military involved in advancing commercial biofuels is a good strategy for energy independence, the Navy secretary said.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a request for information on how to set up a better biofuels industry in their country.

Through a joint statement, the leaders said the information they gather will help accelerate the development of advanced biofuels to not only boost energy security but rural America as well.

"Our reliance on foreign oil means that the most volatile regions in the world impact whether our aircraft fly and our ships sail," Mabus said in a statement. "Home-grown biofuels will create a more stable market for fuel and greater security for the Navy and the nation."

The three departments in mid-August announced plans to invest up to $510 million during the next three years in biofuel partnerships with the private sector.

U.S. President Barack Obama said advancing biofuels would contribute to U.S. energy security plans. The United States lacks the manufacturing capabilities to take full advantage of the alternative fuel, however.

"Building manufacturing capability for next-generation drop-in biofuels in the United States will support economic development in rural communities, create skilled jobs for American workers, and help the U.S. lead the way toward a secure energy future," Chu said in a statement.

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