The US Navy will spend $170m over three years as part of a $510m joint investment programme to develop alternative fuel sources, according to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

The joint investment programme by the navy and the Departments of Agriculture and Energy aims to help private companies construct new biofuel processing plants in the country.

“While the navy and the marine corps would be the first group to provide a market, obviously the goal would be to make it competitive with petroleum, to get it out to the commercial sector,” Mabus added.

According to Mabus, the navy will require around eight million barrels of biofuel a year by 2020.