The alternative fuels that will be used by the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps need to be “drop-in” fuels that won”t require any sort of engine upgrade or overhaul, according to U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in an interview with Platts Energy Week.

Mabus, in a program segment that focused on the issue of energy independence, said he expects that a Navy/Marine Corps goal of using eight million barrels of alternative fuels annually by 2020 can be met. But it won”t be met by an engineering change in the engines that power planes, helicopters, and other methods of transportation, Mabus said.

Mabus declared the goal of eight million barrels of alternative fuels use by the U.S. military is “absolutely possible.” The sheer size of the military needs, Mabus said, means that “what we can do, what the military can do, is we can bring a market.”

“We use a lot of fuel and we can help get some of these smaller companies, some of these new technologies, over the hurdle from being just a good idea to being commercially viable,” Mabus said. He noted that the military has done that before, from flat-screen TVs to the Internet.