05.23.19

Whitehouse, Reed, Sullivan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Military’s Energy Security

SEA FUEL Act would spur military innovation in carbon capture technology

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) today introduced legislation to improve the U.S. military’s energy security and reduce carbon emissions.  The Securing Energy for our Armed Forces Using Engineering Leadership (SEA FUEL) Act would direct the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to pioneer new technologies that will capture carbon dioxide from air and seawater and convert it to clean fuels or other useful products.  This legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act marked up by the Senate Armed Services Committee this week.

“The military has an enormous amount at stake with climate change.  Bases at home and abroad are threatened by rising seas, and the threat of conflict across the globe is increasing as natural resources become scarcer,” said Whitehouse.  “Investing the military’s outstanding research capabilities in carbon capture technology holds the promise of making overseas military installations safer and more self-sufficient while helping prevent the most severe consequences of climate change.”

Technologies are emerging from the carbon capture sector that remove carbon emissions directly from the air and convert carbon dioxide into new materials like plastics, chemicals, or jet fuel.  These promising technologies could generate new industries and jobs, and have an important role in removing carbon emissions from the environment.

Defense Department facilities and vessels rely heavily on fuels transported from offsite, creating security risks.  Overseas military installations would benefit from technology to convert excess carbon dioxide into fuel onsite.  In addition, the captured carbon may be turned into useful products like building materials that could be used to increase low-lying elevations and protect infrastructure in remote areas.

The U.S. Navy has already patented a technology that would remove excess carbon dioxide from ocean water and turn it into fuel.  

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