By Connie Benson, Frontline ContributorFebruary 5, 2009
FORT STEWART, GA -- Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield help lead the way for environmental conservation with efforts in pioneering alternative fuel sources while meeting recent presidential mandated energy conservation efforts.
According to Jim Niksch, Directorate of Logistics, Chief of Supply and Services, the recent addition of Ethanol 85 (E-85) at the vehicle fueling point located at building 1860, not only puts Stewart in compliance, but also enhances the military's reputation as a good community partner.
Niksch explained that the mandate, handed down in the year 2000, stated that all government agencies should reduce energy consumption by 20 percent.
"Stewart is using the same amount of energy, but by using E85, we are reducing our reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels," he said.
Niksch said the new source, which is 85 percent renewable, was installed at Stewart, Nov. 6 and is still in its infancy stage.
"It's a risk for an industry to fuel with E-85 right now, but we were looking into the future," Niksch said.
He noted the cost of this new source is a few cents higher a gallon, $1.79 as compared to regular fuel at $1.75 a gallon, based on current market prices. He explained that the upside is that if or when gas prices go up in the future, E-85 becomes less expensive than gasoline and Stewart will be prepared to capitalize on the financial benefits of E-85. He further stated that the more you use, the less fossil fuel is used, which contributes to a cleaner environment.
Niksch said the installation of Stewart's new fuel source comes on the heels of years of lobbying with the Army Petroleum Center at Fort Belvoir, who is responsible for stocking fuel at all installations. Niksch explained that bringing any new product to Stewart involves the combined efforts of several installation agencies, but he attributes much of the credit for successfully obtaining E-85 fuel at Fort Stewart to the persistence of Clyde Lynn, Contracting Officer Representative, who Niksch said acted as the liaison between Stewart and APC.
Lynn said the four-year process, which finally led to the addition of this fuel at Stewart involved a lot of telephone calls, emails, and paperwork, which included cost analysis and justifications, just to name a few. He said APC only provides fuel for government vehicles, which he said posed the biggest stumbling block. Stewart had only 100 vehicles that were E-85 compatible at the beginning of this process, which made justification of adding E-85 as a fuel source difficult.
Currently, Niksch said there are more than 200 E-85 compatible vehicles on the installation using an average of 2,000 gallons of fuel a month. He projects that by the year 2014 all Government Service Administration vehicles at Stewart will be compatible.
Niksch praised Stewart's efforts in helping to lead the way to a cleaner environment for future generations.