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Posted by: Dennis Hinkamp on Sep 17, 2012

Biomass Group to Work with Military

Contact: Dallas Hanks
  Center for Agronomic and Woody Biofuels director
  Phone: (801) 468-3184
  Casey Saxton
  Utah State University Extension public relations assistant
  Phone: 435-797-0810

USU Extension Educators Discuss Army Land Use with Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

TOOELE ARMY DEPOT, UT – Two Utah State University Extension educators met with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States Military, on Aug. 17 at the Tooele Army Depot. Dallas Hanks, director of the Center for Agronomic and Woody Biofuels, and Chuck Gay, associate vice president for USU Extension, met with Gen. Dempsey and gave him a report that detailed information about the potential of growing biofuel feedstock on U.S. Army ground.
“It was one of the most important meetings the center has ever had,” said Hanks. “This was an extremely significant event for us to be a part of.”
Gen. Dempsey was briefed by Hanks about his project of working to utilize Army land to grow biofuel feedstock, specifically on the land managed by the Tooele Army Depot. Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, Grace Bochenek, chief technology officer for the Army and Col. Christopher Mohan, commander of the Tooele Army Depot, were also present for the report.
According to Hanks, great progress was made in the meeting toward furthering the discussion between the U.S. Army, the Tooele Army Depot, USU Extension and the Louis Berger Group about the biofuels project. These organizations would work together should the project be approved.
Five-thousand acres, under the management of the Tooele Army Depot, would be used to grow oil seed crops that would be harvested and used to create biofuels. The project would phase in over a three-year period, beginning by planting 500 acres of oil seed crops the first year.
The final outcome of what the fuel would be used for has yet to be determined, but Hanks and officials at the Tooele Army Depot would like to see the biofuels be used to fuel military operations since energy is a source of national security.
“It would assist the Toole Army Depot in offsetting their fuel costs for vehicles and other equipment using land that is currently idle,” said Gay.
Hanks envisions the Army using the biofuels grown on their lands as part of filling their mandate to make 50 percent of the energy they use be from renewable energy sources by 2022.
“What we want to do is develop a model that looks at these lands as resources rather than problems or simply training areas,” said Hanks. “It’s not just a new project; it will be a new way of doing business for the Army.”
The meeting allowed USU Extension to showcase their biofuels program and foster a relationship with the U.S. Army, according to Gay.
Gen. Dempsey was also shown USU Extension’s Gasifier Experimenter’s Kit (GEK), a mobile gasification unit that takes energy out of wood to make electricity.
A video of the meeting is available to view at


    Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

Dallas Hanks (left) briefed Gen. Martin Dempsey (right), Katherine Hammack (center right) and Col. Christopher Mohan (center left) about the benefits of growing biofuel feedstock on Army land.
Gen. Martin Dempsey (left) and Katherine Hammack (right) were shown USU Extension's "Dragon Wagon," a mobile gasification experimentation unit that turns wood into electricity.

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 337330


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