Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lovins on DOD Energy (Part II)

OK, now that the previous post gave a skeleton outline of Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) founder and energy visionary since the 1970's, I'll drill down a bit more on Tuesday night's conversation in Cambridge. Here are a couple of the more pointed comments I captured that night:
  • Lovins said DOD is setting the pace for the nation on energy efficiency and emissions reduction. In particular, it's embracing the concepts of negawatts and neg-emissions so troops have greater flexibility and face less exposure to hostile fire while protecting fuel in transit
  • Speaking of which, he noted that DOD uses 70% of its total fuel resources on moving people, equipment ... and fuel
  • He remarked that DOD used to think of price of fuel delivery was free. Since April of this year, and the NDAA 2009 (both well documented on this blog) however, the FBCF and its energy KPPs will ensure that Prime DOD contractors will be competing to see who can bring the most energy efficient solutions. And he predicted that those efficiency technologies and strategies will find their way into the commercial sector as have so many other groundbreaking military technologies before them
  • When the moderator, Paul Maeder of Highland Capital Partners asked him about the effects on certain world leaders of today's lower oil prices, as well as in the future envisioned by Lovins, Lovins replied that folks like Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez and the Saudi's "would have to get real jobs." Much laughter ensued.
  • Lovins passed around an ultra light, ultra strong carbon fiber ballistic helmet intended for military use, and noted similar materials used for auto bodies will be game changers, allowing cars to lose half their weight. Said to check out the Toyota 1X
  • When asked about Obama, Lovins said he was already exerting strong energy leadership and stressed that this was going to be very helpful. And then he said Obama is going to have to restructure/repurpose the DOE
  • The last thing I got to ask him was what fuel did he think would power USAF planes 10-20 years from now. At first he mentioned liquid hydrogen, but didn't seem too sure about its military utility. And then he moved on to saying maybe it'll be what we use today: JP8 from traditional sources. But suggested that if the DOD and the nation continue on the energy efficiency course on which they've embarked, it won't cost much as it will be in less demand. 
Here's hoping he's right on that. All that. He's been nothing but right so far.

Photo: RMI HQ in Snowmass, CO

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