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Air Force leader visits to observe base's energy conservation methods

William C. Anderson reviews samples of the Fischer-Tropsch fuel under the wing of the B-52 used during a recently alternative fuels test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 25. The alternative fuel used was a 50-50 blend of traditional crude-oil based jet fuel and the Fischer-Tropsch fuel derived from natural gas. Mr. Anderson is the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. (Courtesy photo)

William C. Anderson reviews samples of the Fischer-Tropsch fuel under the wing of the B-52 used during a recently alternative fuels test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 25. The alternative fuel used was a 50-50 blend of traditional crude-oil based jet fuel and the Fischer-Tropsch fuel derived from natural gas. Mr. Anderson is the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. (Courtesy photo)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics visited Edwards Oct. 25 as part of a multi-base visit to the service's top energy saving bases.

William C. Anderson made Edwards a stopping point in his trip for what he said were "several reasons."

First, he said he was interested in the progress of the alternative fuel testing that ran B-52 engines on a 50-50 blend of traditional crude-oil based fuel and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel derived from natural gas.

The test, Sept. 19, ran two of the B-52's engines on a blended fuel while the remaining six engines ran on traditional JP-8 jet fuel.

According to officials overseeing the alternative fuels test, the test is progressing well and the next recommended test will be to have all eight engines running on the Fischer-Tropsch fuel blend.

Mr. Anderson said the Air Force, as the largest consumer of aviation fuel in the Department of Defense, has an obligation to research alternative fuel sources.

To show the Air Force's ongoing interest in alternative fuels, Mr. Anderson said the Air Force wants to use 100 million gallons of alternative fuel by 2008 in its operational aircraft.

The second item Mr. Anderson said he was interested in seeing was the base's energy-minded equipment recently implemented into the Air Force Flight Test Center mission.

Mr. Anderson was first shown one of several electric-powered utility vehicles designed to reduce the number of large gas-powered vehicles used on base.

Next, he was shown a building's air cooling system here which freezes water during nighttime hours -- a more cost-effective time to use energy -- to cool the air throughout business hours instead of using more costly compressors that need to run during daytime hours.

Mr. Anderson said Edwards is pushing the envelope, like it does with its aircraft testing mission, concerning energy conservation.

The Air Force's conservation strategy is two-fold and Edwards is mindful of both, Mr. Anderson said. "First, is reducing the Air Force's overall demand for energy. Secondly, is looking for cost-effective ways to supply the Air Forces' need for energy."

The Air Force's current strategies for energy conservation designed to meet these goals are:
· Making energy a consideration in all Air Force actions
· Promoting a culture where Airmen conserve energy
· Accelerated development and use of alternative fuels
· Mitigating energy-related critical infrastructure program vulnerabilities and risks that impact Air Force operations

"Even though we are the largest green power customer in America and the third largest in the world, we are still just scratching the surface right now," Mr. Anderson said. "We know there is unlimited potential for energy conservation ahead of us, and we are focused on continuing to be an energy-conscious force for years to come."