Three major government departments want to inject more than a half billion dollars into the domestic alternative energy industry, which they deem is critical to the nation’s military operations.

The Navy, Agriculture and Energy Departments updated their biofuel plans recently with a nine-page request for information which outlines an allocation of $510 billion to get the industry going. However, alternative energy companies would have to match the government funding.

“It would have to matched at least one-to-one by the private sector,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. “This government assistance is to get the industry started, but then it could stand on its own two feet.”

Once the biofuel industry is running, the Navy said it would become a large, long-term customer and sign contracts of at least five years with companies that can supply the new fuels. Alternative fuels are becoming important for the Navy, which is mandated to get 50 percent of its energy from non-fossil sources by 2020.

The alternative fuels would have to replace or combine with petroleum products the Navy and Marine Corps use now. Both services envision using a 50-50 blend of biofuels and traditional fossil fuels for ships and aircraft. The Navy already demonstrated this concept with several aircraft, including an F-18 fighter, an MV-22 Osprey and a T-45 training jet.

The RFI says the Navy is particularly interested in having a biofuel station in Hawaii, due to its geographical diversity and the state is “the most dependent on imported oil of any state in the union,” Mabus said.

Vice President Joe Biden said at recent energy summit that a failure by the U.S. to lead the world in developing clean-energy technology would be the “the biggest mistake this nation has made in its entire history.”

Biden said five companies that are developing technology to charge electric vehicle batteries more quickly and turn heat from power plants into electricity have attracted $100 million in private investment. They received a total of $15.5 million in investment from the Energy Department.

However, projects like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) could face cuts as a congressional supercommittee looks to slash $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.