Air Force Operational Energy


Airmen innovation helps optimize cargo loading with simple technology

Airmen innovation helps optimize cargo loading with simple technology

In partnership with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Air Force Operational Energy, Airmen are conducting operational testing on prototypes of the Vertical Pallet Stacker for multiple mobility aircraft to enable more optimized and effective cargo-loading and transport per pound of fuel used.

Originally developed by the now-defunct Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and currently managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Vertical Pallet Stacker (previously known as the Bi-Level Airlift Loading System) significantly increases the amount of cargo a mobility aircraft can move at one time.

Designed and certified for C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, and C-130 Hercules use, the VPS is an aluminum frame that provides a second level of storage on top of a standard cargo pallet, enabling up to 3,000 pounds of cargo per pallet space to be placed on the top pallet.

Air Force Operational Energy has a breakthrough year

Air Force Operational Energy has breakthrough year

2021 proved to be a pivotal year for Air Force Operational Energy as programs received unprecedented support – enabling many long-hoped-for initiatives to get the greenlight and progress to the next stage of development.

“A tremendous amount of effort has led up to this year when we were able to secure funding for operational energy efficiency programs vital to the future of the Air Force,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force Operational Energy, Roberto Guerrero. “These initiatives make a lot of sense. They improve our capability, reduce our costs, mitigate our fuel logistics supply risks, and increase readiness and lethality. They also support the administration's focus on climate,” he continued. “We hope this spurs even more interest in optimizing the Air Force through operational energy initiatives.”

Incentivizing Optimized Flying

Mission Execution Excellence Program

As part of its effort to streamline operations and increase aircraft range and capability, the Department of the Air Force launched the pilot Mission Execution Excellence Program to incentivize optimized flying on aircraft that consume the most fuel across the enterprise.

MEEP will encourage Airmen to increase their use of efficient flying ‘best practices,’ which will not impact their mission and training requirements, through direct and indirect incentives.  

The pilot phase will focus primarily on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, the largest Air Force fuel consumers, at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and Travis Air Force Base, California, and will be active now through December 2022. MEEP will mainly work with pilots and operations planners, as well as maintainers and logisticians, and will leverage Airman innovation to integrate improved techniques and best practices into their day-to-day operations.

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.

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.

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Mr. Roberto Guerrero
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Operational Energy