Friday, July 27, 2007

Disney Dad Fights Global Warming in Iraq

Well, this is our 100th blog entry, and who would think that the 100th post on a theatre blog would once again take us to Iraq. But, as we all know, every person in the United States is connected with this war, including actors and other theatre artists. In case we needed more evidence of this, here’s the latest about Joe Amadee, father of Dave Amadee who plays leading man Troy in our production of Disney’s High School Musical. Dave is now a civilian, but he is nonetheless working for the Army in Iraq. The following is excerpted from Blackanthem Military News, Kuwait.

“Joe Amadee (pictured above and to the left) is not the kind of man you would expect to change the United States military. Amadee is a former Army officer, but at 52, he more resembles a biology professor than a general. He carries with him a loaded briefcase, not a charged M16 rifle. His concern is not with the newest tank model, but how much mileage that tank can get out of a gallon of gasoline.

On May 23, Amadee arrived in Kuwait from Fort Belvoir, Va., to run some experiments in several American military compounds in country. Amadee is the Army’s point man on reducing use of energy from fossil fuels, and he arrived with a mandate to reduce petrofuel dependence in the Army by 40 percent. He came with ideas that test the bounds of imagination.

One idea uses cooking grease from the dining facility, using a portable distillery, to convert the oil into biodiesel. The efficiency of the conversion process – a common criticism of ethanol made from corn – will make about 100 gallons of biofuel with 100 gallons of cooking oil, using just one gallon of jet fuel to power the process. The potential for clean power generation cooking oil could be enormous. One Camp Arifjan dining facility, Amadee learned, uses 180 gallons of cooking oil a week.
The REF team’s arrival came amidst a renewed effort by the Army’s Environmental Health Safety Program in Kuwait to clean up the Army’s environmental footprint in the country. Air conditioning was a particular concern. The Army wants to reduce the need for air conditioning, which would cut down on the need for energy, which would cut down on the need for fuel, which would reduce the need for convoys, which would save lives.

The need for greater energy efficiency was evident to Amadee during an earlier visit to an American compound in Djibouti, where he found that 10,000 gallons of diesel were being used every day. Of that sum, only 1,000 went into vehicles – the rest went into generators, primarily to air condition un-insolated tents. 'Air conditioning the desert,' Amadee jested.

Amadee and his team used tents at Camp Buehring and Camp Arifjan to test an insolating foam solution, which they use to cover the exterior, giving the tent the appearance of a winter wonderland. When the foam dries, it solidifies into a protective shell strong enough to walk on. The REF team predicts that the foam shell will reduce energy use by as much as of 85 percent. Amadee will be back later this month to insolate '30 to 40 tents' at one Baghdad compound, he said.

Amadee is also researching ways to increase efficiency of solar power, a process inhibited by the punishing desert sandstorms. The desert heat and sand make the batteries less efficient, something Amadee is looking to fight.

Nobody is taking their time in implementing these changes. As best-selling magazines publish weekly reminders of global warming, Amadee has sensed an Army ready to transform. 'The people here are working feverishly to do this and looking for all the help they can get,' the REF environmental chief said. 'I sense a very great sense of urgency.' "

All of us associated with Barksdale Theatre, Steward School and Disney’s High School Musical send Joe, Dave and the Amadee family our best thoughts and prayers.

--Bruce Miller


William (Bill) Bogardus said...

I'm so impressed to read that a theater dad is in charge of fighting global warming in Iraq. I had no idea. But it makes sense. Theater people are more likely to see the big picture, and people who see the big picture are more likely to be earth friendly.

I'm sure the Amadee family is proud of both father and son.

FYI - turning used cooking oil into fuel for motor vehicles is really catching on around the world. Here are a few websites your readers may find interesting:

And a final note. Your blog is fascinating. If I ever make it to Richmond, I'm coming to Barksdale Theatre for sure.

B Bogardus

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this. Thanks.