The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 11, 2018, President Trump issued a Presidential Determination that the development and purchase of equipment and materials needed for alane fuel cells are essential to the national defense.  Alane fuel cells are, essentially, comprised of aluminum hydride and are possible alternatives to hydrogen fuel cells.  According to manufacturers, the only byproducts are water and aluminum, the latter of which can be recycled.
 
Issuing the determination under Section 303 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, the President stated that “United States industry cannot reasonably be expected to provide the capability for the production of alane fuel cells adequately and in a timely manner. Further, purchases, purchase commitments, or other action pursuant to section 303 of the Act are the most cost effective, expedient, and practical alternative method for meeting the need for this critical capability.”
 
In general, Section 303 authorities can be used by the President to provide incentives for domestic private industry to produce and supply critical goods that are necessary for the national defense.  It vests the President with an array of authorities to create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore domestic industrial base capabilities essential to the national defense. These authorities include purchasing or making purchase commitments of industrial resources or critical technology items; making subsidized payments for domestically produced materials; and installing and purchasing equipment for industrial facilities to expand their productive capacity.


 

Last week, Purdue University (Purdue) President Mitch Daniels, and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together on the development of alternative energy sources, including biofuels, for use by the U.S. Navy. As part of the agreement, Purdue has committed to establishing the Purdue Military Research Initiative. This initiative will cover the cost of graduate education for up to ten active duty members of the military pursuing studies in alternative energy, alternative fuels or energy efficient technologies.


This announcement furthers efforts made by the U.S. Navy in recent years to expand its use of alternative energy sources. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) entered into and has worked to implement an MOU with the DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide a collective $510 million toward the commercial development and availability of drop-in biofuels for military and commercial use. In addition, the U.S. Navy has developed goals to deploy a "Great Green Fleet" strike group of ships and aircraft running on alternative fuel blends by 2016 and to meet 50 percent of its energy consumption through the use of alternative sources by 2020.