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In an effort to increase America’s energy independence and reduce greenhouse gases, Congress has mandated that an increasing amount of the country’s transportation fuel be made up of ethanol and other biofuels. At the same time, many federal agencies and cities have set their own, often much more ambitious, alternative fuel targets.
Such goals, however, present formidable challenges—not only in developing new biofuels, but in adapting the cars, trucks and planes that will use them. Booz Allen is stepping in to provide its knowledge and technical expertise across the board, according to Principal Gary Leatherman.
“Want to make your fleets more sustainable with alternative fuel vehicles? Booz Allen can show you how.”
For example, the military wants biofuels for its aircraft that do not require making any adjustments to the planes, which would be costly and would complicate supply-chain logistics, he says. Early-generation biofuels may not be up to the task. But new processes are being developed that can make alternative fuels “fit-for-purpose,” so they can be used directly in place of petroleum-based fuels. Booz Allen is helping the military assess which of these new fuels and technologies will work best—now and in the future.
“We help them understand what their options are, and where these processes stand in technical maturity,” he says. “We’ll say, ‘Here is the status of the current technology, here’s what’s coming down the pike that you may want to keep an eye on, and here is where you may want to fund additional research.”
Booz Allen is also showing the military how to use this kind of information to develop high-level strategic planning on energy issues.
Federal agencies and municipalities are switching to cars and trucks that can run on biofuels, and Booz Allen is providing its guidance here as well, says Leatherman. “Cities want to take the lead in showcasing themselves as being green, and we show them how to make their fleets more sustainable with alternative fuel vehicles," he says. "We give them a portfolio of options."
In addition, the firm conducts market analyses so agencies and cities will know when to make the right kinds of investments in alternative fuel vehicles. These assessments look at factors such as the economics of biomass feedstock (corn, soybean oil, etc.), oil and gas prices, and current and future regulations of greenhouse gases. “We look at where and when biofuels will be competitive,” says Leatherman.
Through similar market analyses, Booz Allen advises major oil companies on the economics of biofuels, and helps investment houses develop biofuel investment strategies for their clients.