Army Aviation

Fort Rucker Takes Novel Energy Crisis Action:  It Salvages Crankcase Oil!

Looking Back – 1974 /  Fort Rucker, Alabama:  Army Aviation went out its way to help out in the energy crisis.  First the standard actions:  Shutting lights in unoccupied rooms; lowering thermostats to 68 degrees; reducing speed limits, as well as curbing unnecessary driving.

However the Department of Facilities-Engineering (DFAE) decided to go the extra mile.  Since DFAE personnel control base heating facilities they instituted energy-saving techniques that were quickly implemented.

One solution they developed was to employ used crankcase oil from internal combustion engines in anything from helicopters to Jeeps to the general’s staff car.  It was found that a blend of 40% crankcase oil and 60% number 5 fuel oil would burn efficiently.

According to Guy Dunnavant, Chief of the Utilities and Pollution Control Division, the use of crankcase oil will bring about a savings of 21-cents per gallon on fuel oil as well as reusing an energy source that normally would have gone to waste.

The Division has approximately 40,000 gallons of this crankcase oil on hand and is trying to get all such oil available.  It picks up the oil in 55 gallon drums or asks that it be delivered to the storage area located in the Firefighter Training Area on Dilly Branch Road.  The drums of oil should not be contaminated with extraneous cleaning fluids

In addition to the recycling operation for oil, available, too, is a pair of coal-burning heating plants.  These are sitting idle due to air pollution laws which forbid their use, but could be brought on line when circumstances deemed it necessary.

  • SourcePage 34, Army Aviation, Vol. 23, No. 2, Army Aviation Publications, Inc., Westport, Ct., February 8, 1974.