Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bank Robbers and Energy Efficiency: “Where the Money is”


Legend has it that Willie Sutton, the infamous bank robber, was once asked, “Why do you rob banks?”. His reply? “Because that’s where the money is!” The USAF recognizes that in energy, the money is in aviation fuel. In 2010 they spent $6.7 billion on mobility fuel verses $1.4 billion on installations. Last week, all Air Force commands assembled at Scott AFB for the 1st Aviation Operations Energy Steering Group summit. The Air Mobility Command’s Fuel Efficiency Office (FEO) hosted the meeting to discuss the way ahead in, I assume, fuel efficiency. The FEO reported that $83 million in fuel costs have been saved since 2008. Assuming that number is for a three year period, that is about $27.67 million a year. So for 2010, efficiency saved about .41% of mobility fuel costs. But this does not tell you what the reduction in actual fuel has been. We need to focus on meaningful metrics.

The FEO is facilitating a couple of interesting technologies such as web based Fuel Tracking and looking at improved engines for old air frames. Another initiative is the Next Generation Cargo Capability which focuses on moving more cargo with the same number of airplanes. That the USAF has designated an office specifically to examine efficiency shows a keen understanding of “where the money is”. The cleanest, cheapest, most secure BTU is the one you don’t use. In the austere budget realm in which DOD finds itself, energy efficiency is the key to the kingdom.

The challenge for the FEO here is that the Air Force has established a goal of 10% reduction in consumption of aviation fuel from a 2006 baseline by 2015. According to the AMC PAO, AMC consumed 675 million gallons of jet fuel at a cost of $1.5 billion (@ $2.27/gal) in 2006. Volatility in fuel prices means that measuring savings in dollars have little meaning as it relates to Air Force goals. Even if the average price per gallon in 2010 was $4.00/gallon (high SWAG), then the AF saved about 6.9 million gallons. As long as AMC is saving 6.57 million gallons a year since 2006 and continues at that rate until 2015, they should make their goal handily. I will be attending USAF sponsored 5th Annual Alternative Energy NOW conference in Orlando 23-24 February. I will ask how it is going.

Note: this is the first post in which we've enabled reader comments. You may also notice that older posts now can be commented on as well. Enjoy!

Picture courtesy of http://www.dvidshub.net/

8 comments:

Andy B said...

Well, my comment is that we've enabled comments. I hope blog readers who've previously responded by email (and others) will air their thoughts here for the benefit of others. Cheers, Andy

Jerry.Dion said...

You might want to correct the typo on the total cost of the AMC fuel in the last paragraph . . . billion not million I believe.

Great article anywat.

Jerry.Dion said...

Another thought . . . the Air Force assessment on replacing old engines with new ones could be implemented in short order if energy saving performance contracting authority was expanded from facilities only to include mobility energy savings opportunities. A draft DOD-DOE report on the topic is in the last stages of review on the topic before submission to Congress.

Dan Nolan said...

Thanks, Jerry. Corrected! Dan

Brother LC-61BK said...

This is an interesting article they must save and use the money properly especially U.S is still under crisis.

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Carolyn said...

Very interesting article. Thank u very much.

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