You’ve probably heard of the war in Iraq. 🙂 . You’ve also probably heard on the radio or on the TV that the fuel convoys get shot at, and there are immense human and material losses. So, what did uncle Sam think, for the sake of not losing American soldiers and fuel trucks?: “Let’s recycle”. Until now, all the trash from the American military camps was burned and consumed a lot of energy (let’s not speak about the pollution it caused, but that’s not the army men’s concern.
TGER is the name of the trash-eating machine. It uses multiple technologies to fuel a standard 60-kilowatt electrical generator.
HOW IT WORKS:
People put trash into a chute and then the wet waste is separated from the dry. The cardboard, plastic, and other dry trash are crushed and pelletized. Those pellets are then put into a gasifier, which heats them until they turn into synthetic gas that acts as fuel for the electricity generator.
The developers found that the relatively low-grade fuel from the trash over-heated the generators and maxed output at about 40 kilowatts.
So it created a system to convert the sugar-rich wet wastes into a form of ethanol. The wet waste is treated with enzymes and then fermented into hydrous ethanol which represents a mix of 85 percent pure ethanol and water, explained James Valdes, scientific adviser for biotechnology at the U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command. That ethanol is blended in with the synthetic gas, which boosts the generator’s output to 55 kilowatts.
Valdes says that compared to an incinerator, TGER is much more better, because it runs at about 90% efficiency. The whole process of transforming the residues to energy lasts about 6 hours and uses about 1 gallon of diesel per hour.
If the generator will work well in the Baghdad conditions, it could work well in disaster relief situations or in the areas where trash is a big problem for the ecosystem. The city I live in is an example of such situation (there are hundreds of acres covered with decades-old trash which nobody knows what to do with). A higher scaled energy trash-to-energy converter like this one would be a perfect solution for cleaning up the mess in the nicest way possible.
Why do all the good inventions go to the army first?