Friday, June 20, 2008

Trash-fed Generator Tested in Baghdad


The US military is looking to cut back on two things in Iraq: fuel consumption and trash. So they�re finally getting on board with alternative fuel sources, using the trash they don�t want to get the fuel for electricity they need.

In March, we let you know that trash-to-fuel generators were getting shipped to Iraq. Well, they've arrived and are being tested.

If you�ve ever worked for the military, you know they don�t speak English, but Acronymish. So, the generator is called TGER (�tiger�) and the acronym stands for Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery. The prototype, which uses a variety of technologies to run an electrical generator, will be tested until August. If it works, more are on the way to smaller camps and possibly to disaster relief sites.

Right now, the military burns the trash in incinerators, emitting icky emissions and eating up a lot of fuel, time, and human power since it takes quite a few people to run one. Also, cutting down on the use of diesel fuel is especially important since the trucks that haul the fuel are basically moving targets sure to make huge bangs. Decreasing casualties is a priority, and what better reason to get on to using waste as fuel?

The prototype accepts trash in a chute at one end, and the wet and dry wastes are separated. The dry trash is crushed, pelletized, and fed into a gasifier where the pellets are heated until they�re turned into synthetic gas, which then fuels the generator. The wet waste is converted with the use to enzymes into hydrous ethanol, which is then blended with synthetic gas to boost the generator�s output to 55 kw. There are hopes to improve the technology so that literally all trash goes in one end, and electricity comes out the other � kinda the goal we all have for waste-free living. And the improvements are needed, since start-up time is a full 6 hours, and takes up about 1 gallon of diesel fuel an hour. But once started, it is reported that it runs at 90% efficiency. I�m a little incredulous about that, but we�ll see what folks say at the end of August.

With folks like BlueFire and others already working on this, it seems like highly efficient, easy to use trash-to-electricity technology is on the cusp of being large scale reality.

Via Cnet

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