Eielson possible home for alternative fuels facility

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Federal, state and local government leaders met July 18 in Fairbanks, Alaska, to plan Alaska's energy future.

The Interior of Alaska Strategic Energy Summit, sponsored by the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation, was attended by Senator Ted Stevens, Under Secretary of Energy Bud Albright, Congressman Don Young and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Kevin Billings.

These officials were joined by Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler, the Pacific Air Forces commander and Brig. Gen. Mark W. Graper, the 354th Fighter Wing commander at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

During the summit, organizers presented a construction proposal to have a coal-to-liquid fuel facility built here. Eielson AFB is one of three locations being researched as the possible home for this alternative fuels facility. Once operational the facility could expand domestic resources and reduce the U.S. dependency on foreign oil.

The 354th Fighter Wing spent $12.5 million alone in 2007 on jet fuel at a rate of $2.20 a gallon.

"Currently we have added $10 million to the defense budget to help develop this project," Senator Stevens said.

Senator Stevens said he hopes once the facility is operational, it will produce approximately 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day depending on the size of the final facility. While Eielson AFB would a key consumer of this product, using it for jet fuel and ground vehicles, surplus product would enhance energy needs throughout the state.

"The increase of domestic supply of fuel should stabilize the price of gasoline and keep it from rising further," Senator Stevens said.

During the summit the committee estimated construction of this facility would cost $3.5 to $6 billion, the final costs will be determined by the size of the facility

Currently, the Air Force has tested and certified a synthetic and JP-8 fuel blend on the B-52 Stratofortress, C-17 Globemaster III and B-1B Lancer.

"The Air Force has made a commitment to certify our entire fleet to fly on a 50/50 blend of synthetic and JP-8 fuel," Mr. Billings said.

The proposal for the new facility is in its early stages and will face further consideration from Air Force officials if Eielson AFB is selected. However, the Air Force is interested in showing support for alternative renewable energy sources for future use in the operational Air Force, officials said.

"Our country has entrusted us with its resources and Eielson (AFB) Airmen will remain good stewards of our prepare/deploy/enable mission, of the environment and of taxpayer dollars," General Graper said. "We will execute the decisions our senior leaders make on this energy initiative."