Significant role for biodiesel in Afghanistan

By | July 13, 2010
In a white paper titled "Producing and Using Biodiesel in Afghanistan," authors Wayne Arden and John Fox (formerly head of Innovation Fuels) argue that the production and use of biodiesel in Afghanistan will increase the probability that U.S. efforts will succeed, and that Afghanistan will become a productive and stable nation.

Inspiration for the paper came from the commitment to deploy an additional 30,000 troops made by President Barack Obama at West Point Dec. 1, 2009, and a desire to help advance the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The paper explains that the cost of importing oil into Afghanistan is high yet the cost of proven biodiesel production technology is relatively low. By using biodiesel the military could lessen its dependence on petroleum and save money. At the same time, Afghan farmers could be paid the same amount of money to grow a biodiesel crop as they are currently paid to grow poppy. Until now, these two problems-securing the military's fuel supply and combating the opium trade-have been considered independently of one another. There are five key benefits associated with producing and using biodiesel in Afghanistan: reducing casualties; freeing up troops for other assignments; saving money; challenging the opium trade; and creating a new industry for Afghanistan.

A full copy of the paper can be downloaded by visiting
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