MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Minot Air Force Base began using E-85 in government vehicles nearly three years ago.
That was back in October 2007,
The E-85 projected usage for 2010 is 70,000 gallons, said Master Sgt. Robert Kennedy, fuels superintendent with the base's 5th Civil Engineer Squadron.
Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs craftsman, fuels the bomb wing’s flex-fuel powered van at the military gas station at Minot Air Force Base Monday, shown in this photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton.
Kennedy also provided data for the use of E-85 in the previous years 2007 to 2009:
* for 2009 usage was 65,000 gallons.
* for 2008 usage was 34,000 gallons.
Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part series which is taking a look at Minot Air Force Base's conservation measures of energy efficiency. The conservation measures also are saving taxpayers' money. Part one was published in The Minot Daily News June 6.
* for the three months in 2007, October/November/December, the usage was 10,000 gallons.
Currently, Minot Air Force Base has 103 flex-fuel vehicles. Each vehicle fills up when necessary.
Minot AFB has increased the use of alternative or non-fossil fuel such as the E-85 and also biodiesel while reducing air emissions from government vehicles.
In the warmer months of the year, the base uses 100 percent biodiesel.
The biodiesel is used between April and October, Kennedy said.
Biodiesel can't be used in the winter because of the extreme cold temperatures that cause it to gel up and separate.
The base buys the E-85 and biodiesel from Farstad Oil in Minot and its JP-8 jet fuel from the Tesoro Mandan Refinery in Mandan.
Lt. Col. Monte Harner, commander of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot AFB, said there is a goal to have a 10 percent reduction in air emissions from government vehicles by increasing the use of nonfossil fuels alternative fuels such as E-85 and biodiesel by 2012. He said the base has more than achieved that goal as well as reduction of air emissions.
Besides using alternative fuels in government vehicles, Minot AFB has taken a number of other steps toward energy efficiency including:
* getting rid of its old central heat plant and installing energy-efficient units in each facility;
* replacing lighting systems and controls with energy-efficient systems;
* and the ongoing installation of ground-source heat pumps.
The base's carbon emissions reduction program is being driven by a presidential executive order to reduce carbon emissions
Harner said any increase in air emissions from the new B-52 squadron beddown and those additional facilities have been more than offset by the elimination of the old central heat plant.
The decommission of the base's central heat plant in 2007 and 2008, and its demolition last year, along with installing energy-efficient heating units in each facility resulted in a 69 percent reduction of sulfur oxide or SOx emissions, the engineers said.
Michael Getty, acting chief of the Environmental Management Element of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron, keeps track of emissions through the base's air emissions permit.
"Our SOx emissions were reduced 69 percent it's phenomenal," Getty said. "NOx (nitrogen oxide) was reduced 42 percent and carbon monoxide was reduced 38 percent." Something he said he's very pleased about.
Just from a greenhouse gas standpoint, he said the base is doing very well.
Also as a result of the decommission and demolition of the central heat plant and the installation of energy-efficient heating units in facilities there was the reduction of CO2e or carbon equivalent emissions from 21,000 to 16,994 metric tons per year, reduction of energy costs of 22 percent and water consumption decreased 13 percent.
Following are other results of the base's carbon emissions reduction program:
* The ongoing geothermal well heating system projects accounted for a reduction of 32 percent SOx, 3 percent NOx and 7 percent CO from 2008 to 2009 and over 11,000 MMBTUs (million British Thermal Units) of renewable thermal energy used per year.
* Alternative fuel usage in government vehicles increased 27 percent for biodiesel and 95 percent for E-85 from 2008 to 2009.
* Increased energy efficiency in buildings through ongoing replacement of inefficient electric systems and controls in existing facilities, and replacement of inefficient buildings with new energy-efficient designs when possible.
The base has a new propane air mixing plant which isn't so much about saving emissions but saves the base a great deal of money, the engineers said.
The new plant provides the base with propane if Montana-Dakota Utilities, the base's natural gas provider, needs to cut off the natural gas supply to the base during peak demand times like wintertime coldest days of minus 20 degrees or so.
"We have self-capacity here and we basically operate ourselves during those peak times with propane. That's a benefit to the community because they can effectively cut us off for a period of time while they need the gas to heat the homes downtown," Harner said.
He said the base can buy the propane off season at a cheaper rate. "So it saves us dollars too being stewards of the taxpayers' money," he said. "It's not exactly in emissions because it's trading natural gas for propane."
The engineers said it occurs only a few days of the year and only during spikes. Harner said it happened about three times last winter but only for short durations maybe for a day or so.
The base's carbon emissions reduction program goals are:
* Reduce energy costs by 20 percent by 2020.
* Reduce energy intensity by 3 percent a year starting in 2005 using fiscal year 2003 as baseline. The base is at 26 percent reduction. Goal is 15 percent.
* Reduce water use by 2 percent a year starting in 2007 using 2007 baseline. Base is at 11.8 percent. Goal is 4 percent.
* Increase renewable at target rates (3 percent fiscal year 2007; 5 percent fiscal year 2010; 7.5 percent, fiscal year 2013; 25 percent by fiscal year 2025. The base does not track because major command allocates.
"The bottom line here is not only are we reducing energy but we're also reducing carbon emissions into our environment because whether we buy our energy our electricity which comes from coal-powered power plants, any reduction in energy reduces carbon emissions at the plant because they aren't having to provide that power to us or if it's direct reductions to natural gas which through the burning of which have carbon emissions," Harner said.
"All of that not only saves the government money for energy costs, the reduction in energy usage saves the environment of these carbon emissions," he said. "That's the bottom line the supply of energy has a cost to the environment to produce the energy."