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Mobile Integrated Sustainable Energy Recovery


U.S. military land-based operations of the future are intended to be self-sustaining and must minimize long logistics tails. Units engaged in stationary field operations generate substantial quantities of solid waste in the form of packaging materials. Personnel, fuel, and critical transport equipment are needed to support the removal and disposal of these large volumes of packaging waste. The quantities involved today (estimated to be 4-7 pounds/day/soldier) can potentially overwhelm the capacity of foreign nations' waste disposal systems, create tension with the host nation, and create health and security issues. Reduction of packaging waste through reduction of packaging use is not likely to be attainable at any significant level due to health, security, and operation requirements. Consequently, alternative solutions to the forward base waste disposal problem are required.

The goal of the Mobile Integrated Sustainable Energy Recovery (MISER) program was to convert trash into electricity in a compact unit suitable for use at forward bases and thereby reduce or eliminate the need to truck-in fuel for electricity generation. The challenge was to develop a robust, reliable technology that can efficiently harness the energy content (>90 percent energy capture) of a mixed plastic/paper/food packaging waste stream in the field and do so in a timely manner. Successful development of a MISER unit would increase the availability of power when needed in the field while simultaneously zeroing the logistics waste footprint.

Program accomplishments include―

  • Successful demonstration of the Super-Critical Water Depolymerization (SCW-DP) approach to convert plastic and paper waste into a high energy content gas that can be used in a conventional motor-generator unit to produce electricity.
  • Design and fabrication of a SCW-DP 5kWelec pilot plant (Phase 1) and a SCW-DP 60kWelec pilot plant (Phase 1A).
  • Demonstration in the SCW-DP 60kWelec pilot plant of >70 percent energy capture using a plastic fuel feed.
  • Development of synthesis route to convert agricultural waste into a polymer suitable for packaging material that can then be easily “recycled" in the field into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.







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