Air Force Testing Waste-To-Energy Technology at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Air Force Testing Waste-To-Energy Technology at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam

A waste-to-energy demonstration project at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, aims to show that waste products such as wood, plastics, biomass, and other materials can help power an installation while reducing its reliance on landfills.

The $7 million project, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office, is expected to demonstrate that 10 tons of waste per day can be converted into 300 kilowatts of continuous electric power, or the equivalent of the total electrical load for about 100 homes.

The process relies on gasification to convert wastes into synthesis gas, which can then be used to produce electricity, reported AFRL. The project is sponsored by the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies and is part of a larger microgrid demonstration testing whether the 154th Air National Guard Wing can function independently of the power grid for extended periods of time.

“If a technology can provide mission assurance through energy assurance, it can then be considered for more widespread implementation,” said Lt. Col. Scott Fitzner, chief of AFRL’s Acquisition Systems Support Branch, which leads the Advanced Power Technology Office.

Waste-to-energy technology offers several benefits beyond energy production, such as reducing the use of landfills and toxic burn pits on bases. Reducing landfill waste cuts greenhouse gas emissions produced during decomposition.

AFRL chose the Air National Guard complex on JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam as a test site because it represents a Pacific region environment where energy costs are high but the environment is conducive for various renewable energy technologies, according to the story. After the demonstration is completed this summer, AFRL plans to implement the gasification process into the first phase of the base microgrid project. Longer-term efforts may explore the expanded use of the technology to produce fuel for vehicles and ground support equipment.

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