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Purdue, U.S. Navy to Explore Alternative Energy Sources

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, at left, and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a statement of cooperation to work to convert up to half of the Navy's energy usage to alternative energy sources by 2020.

Purdue University and the U.S. Navy are pooling their resources to explore alternative energy sources.

In a Statement of Cooperation Purdue President Mitch Daniels and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed last week, the two entities pledged to work together toward a goal of converting up to half of the Navy and Marine Corps’ energy to alternative sources like biofuels by 2020.

Ryan Hilley, Senior Advisor on Energy to Secretary Mabus , says the agreement is a natural partnership.

“We saw synergies between what Purdue is doing, in terms of their alternative fuels and biofuels efforts, and what the Navy’s doing,” Hilley said.

The Navy has been exploring alternative energy resources since it began testing for its “Great Green Fleet” initiative.  Under the initiative, which is scheduled to start in 2016, Navy vessels will run on 10 percent to 50 percent biofuel.

Maureen McCann, Director of Purdue’s Energy Center and Director of Purdue’s Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, says the Navy is a powerful ally in advancing the use of biofuels.

“While we are at the basic research end and thinking about how to get new types of biofuels developed and deployed into the market, the Navy is really providing the market pull, because they’re so interested in purchasing these fuels and actually using them,” McCann said.

Under the agreement, Purdue will also establish the Purdue Military Research Initiative, which will pay for graduate education for up to 10 active-duty members of the military pursuing studies in alternative energy, alternative fuels or energy efficient technologies.

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