Air Force Operational Energy



The Air Force and Twelve Prove It's Possible to Make Jet Fuel Out of Thin Air

Jet Fuel Out of Thin Air

What if you could access fuel from anywhere on the planet, at any time, no tanker required? The Air Force thinks it’s possible with ground-breaking carbon transformation technology.

Separate from carbon capture and storage or carbon utilization, carbon transformation can turn carbon dioxide from the air into nearly any chemical, material, or fuel, including jet fuel.

In 2020, Air Force Operational Energy endorsed the carbon transformation company Twelve to launch a pilot program to demonstrate that their proprietary technology could convert CO2 into operationally viable aviation fuel called E-Jet®.

The project hit a major milestone in August of this year when Twelve successfully produced jet fuel from CO2, proving the process worked and setting up the conditions to create the synthetic carbon-neutral fuel in larger quantities. The first phase of the project is scheduled to conclude in December with a report detailing the process and findings.

Department of the Air Force Recognizes Energy Awareness Month

Energy Awareness Month

Energy Awareness Month gives the Department of the Air Force the opportunity every October to look at the critical role energy plays in its combat capabilities and readiness.

This year marks the final iteration of the three-year observance theme: “Energy Able, Mission Capable.”

The awareness this month brings also serves as a chance for the department to emphasize the strategic importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change through energy-informed solutions.

“Effectively distributing, generating, and managing energy and fuel should be a top priority for all Airmen and Guardians,” stated Jennifer Miller, Acting Assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy. “To win a conflict against a peer competitor, specifically China or Russia, energy-informed solutions are critical, to not only enhance the combat capability and readiness of our aircraft and installations, but to improve fuel efficiency and mitigate climate change.”

Air Force discusses the future of energy efficiency

The Air Force seeks to accelerate efficiency

As modern warfare continues to evolve, the Air Force has renewed its focus on maintaining secure fuel networks and optimizing operations for maximized combat capability. Over the past year, the Air Force Operational Energy office targeted specific initiatives that aim to increase operational efficiency, incorporate modern technology and processes, and improve sustainment. Furthermore, these efforts have an added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a critical aspect of the Secretary of Defense’s climate change prioritization. Here is a breakdown of our latest accomplishments and how we’re bringing 21st century energy solutions to the Air Force.

Air Force Energy Helps Lead AFWERX Energy Prime

Energy Prime

Air Force Operational Energy will take a leading role in the AFWERX commercial-military innovation accelerator, Energy Prime, bringing together industry, investor, and government partners to advance the development of a 21st century energy initiative that significantly increases both Air Force and commercial operational efficiency. 

The Energy Prime leadership team, which includes members from AFWERX, Air Force Operational Energy, and the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC), recently narrowed down its focus to two areas of consideration: Ultra-Efficient Aircraft and Next-Generation Aviation Fuel.

Energy Prime, the first energy-focused Prime, is one of several Prime candidates being considered for further pursuit and funding. There will be multiple research & planning Energy Prime events scheduled throughout 2021 until a Prime initiative is selected.

Call for Submissions: Energy AFWERX Challenge

Energy AFWERX Challenge

The Department of Defense (DoD) consumes large amounts of operational and facility energy to provide a combat-credible force. In fact, the DoD is one of the largest single consumers of energy globally, and the Air Force is the largest user of fuel energy in the US Government. The way we generate, transmit, store, and use this enormous amount of energy today is both a paramount combat enabler and a potentially crippling vulnerability.

AFWERX is soliciting proposals for six individual challenge topics, each with its own evaluation team. 

The outcomes that we are hoping to achieve from this challenge include:

  • Energy availability when and where needed for mission effectiveness and quality of life
  • More effective warfighting and humanitarian missions less reliant on fossil fuels
  • Increased ability to rapidly respond to humanitarian crises
  • Leveraging all energy sources for military use such as wind, water, nuclear, hydrogen, thermal, etc.
  • Creation of new industries and capabilities inspired by the U.S. DoD
  • Leveraging energy from space

Airmen find solution to battery testing failure

Airmen find solution to battery testing failure

Airmen from Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, helped revise outdated procedures for testing the condition of aircraft batteries on the KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130 Hercules, preventing the premature disposal and replacement of batteries and avoiding unnecessary equipment costs and maintenance hours.

The batteries serve as the aircraft’s back-up to power essential equipment should engine generators fail. To date, the Air Force C-130 and KC-135 fleets, more than 600 aircraft globally, operate with the batteries.

Calculating risk in the fuel supply chain

Calculating risk in the fuel supply chain

What’s the safest path to transport fuel from a refinery in Texas to storage in California? Does Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, have the pipeline capacity to sustain two weeks of operations after a storage disruption? What risk do cyber-attacks pose at a bulk storage terminal in Louisiana?

X-Force Fellows assigned to our office were tasked to answer these questions (among others) and develop a network flow model to assess possible operational risk to the Air Force’s fuel supply chain.

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Mr. Roberto Guerrero
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Operational Energy 

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