A Blueprint for Energy

In the future, Air Force aircraft might operate off advanced engines and fuels providing double-digit increases in loiter time and range. In the space domain, revolutionary new technologies could allow for on-orbit refueling of spacecraft. Further, the use of smart grids and “solar-to-petrol plants” could help both fixed and expeditionary bases gain energy independence. These are just some of the short- and long-term goals outlined in “Energy Horizons,” the Air Force’s new technology vision paper. It provides a blueprint for science and technology investment in air, space, cyber, and infrastructure to increase energy supply, reduce demand, and promote operational readiness, resiliency, and robustness in the near term (one to five years out), mid-term (six to 10 years), and long-term (11 to 15 years). “Across all Air Force domains of operations, Energy Horizons identifies game-changing technologies in energy generation, storage, and use,” states the executive summary, obtained by the Daily Report. Secretary Michael Donley in late January approved Energy Horizons for public release. It’s the service’s second recent S&T blueprint, following Technology Horizons, publicly issued in July 2010. (Energy Horizons executive summary text; we’ll post the full document as soon as we have it.)