Purdue University President Mitch Daniels (left) and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speak during a ceremony in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall to sign a statement of cooperation.
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels (left) and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speak during a ceremony in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall to sign a statement of cooperation.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The U.S. Department of Navy and Purdue University signed a statement of cooperation, agreeing to work together to convert up to half of the Navy and Marine Corps’ energy consumption to alternative sources, including biofuels, by 2020.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed the agreement during a ceremony May 8 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.

The document spells out how the university will work with the Navy to help meet several alternative energy and environmental targets Mabus first laid out in 2009.

“The Department of the Navy and Purdue have a deep interest in working together to reduce reliance on carbon-based fuels and energy sources,” Mabus said. “Not only does this help decrease our dependence on fossil fuel, it makes our Navy and Marine Corps a better war-fighting force.”

Mabus also noted the statement of cooperation will benefit more than just Purdue and the Navy.

“By working together to achieve our energy goals, a partnership between the Navy and Purdue will help us maximize our reach, maintain our global presence, and make our Navy and Marine Corps more combat capable. In short, we as a Navy and we as a nation will have an edge. Teaming up with research centers is an important part of maintaining the strength of the partnership between our Navy and the American people,” he said.

Through this agreement, Purdue and the Navy and Marine Corps will examine efforts designed to improve energy conservation, renewable-energy generation and the implementation of energy-efficient technologies in all areas of application, Daniels said.

“Together, the Navy and Purdue will focus on promoting more efficient production and refinement of advanced biofuels and sharing and discussing the results of testing and demonstration projects involving the certification of advanced alternative fuels in aviation and marine engines,” he said.

“We also will pursue agricultural and other biobased feedstocks that will ensure the most economically viable production of advanced alternative fuels.”

In addition, Purdue will establish the Purdue Military Research Initiative, an annual, no-cost graduate education for up to 10 active-duty officers across all branches of the U.S. military. Areas of study will include renewable energy, alternative fuels and energy technologies.

Mabus was appointed secretary in May 2009. Immediately he set a goal aimed at ensuring that, by no later than 2020, the Navy and Marine Corps would obtain at least 50 percent of their energy from alternative sources.