Saturday, April 14, 2007
Interesting bio-fuel idea for the Army
A so-called “tactical bio-refinery” is another mobile system being pursued to convert field waste to energy. The system, which is built by Defense Life Sciences, McLean, Va., will convert paper, plastic, cardboard and food slop into bio-fuel gas to power a 60 kilowatt generator, Nolan said. The food waste goes into a bioreactor, where industrial yeast ferments it into ethanol, a “green fuel,” according to Purdue University, whose scientists are working with Defense Life Sciences. As an added benefit, the system helps to eliminate much of the waste on the battlefield.
The bio-refinery can save 115 gallons of fuel for every ton of waste converted, Nolan said. The first prototype has already been built and the full system will be ready for demonstration within 12 months, said Jerry Warner, founder of Defense Life Sciences.
On this project, the REF worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Under a separate effort, DARPA is developing a mobile integrated sustainable energy system, or MISER. The idea is to take packaging materials — not garbage — from the field and convert them to generator fuel, which could eventually be used in a fuel cell.
Packaging materials account for a large amount of field waste — more than seven pounds per day per soldier. DARPA aims to reduce the cost and logistical burden of disposing the plastic packaging by harvesting it for energy.
The high-energy content of the plastic packaging — close to that of diesel fuel — makes it an ideal alternative energy source. “At today’s level of packaging being discarded, a military unit could achieve well over 100 percent self-sufficiency for its generator fuel needs,” according to a DARPA document.
What I find more interesting is not the bio-fuels use for generator capacity. But its potential use as a fuel for military vehicles. I think we have a great idea for renewable power generators, with SkyBuilts idea. The mobile power station, which looks like a train container with solar cells and wind turbines.
All in all though, i'm glad the military is looking into alternatives.