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TGER: the Machine that Turns Trash into Electricity


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.


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?

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  1. We are planning to go to Congo DRC to start installing those machine to clear all the roads as majority of the population in my country aldealing with high rate of malaria and typhoid from mosquitos. Which is cause from trash all over every street..
    By starting my clearing all those garbage we can reduce the rate of malaria and relate sickness, create jobs and produce energy as is basically no electricity.
    How much this electronic cost?

  2. I’ve got a few questions and comments.
    1)How much garbage can TGER burn in a day?
    2)Can the system be tweeked so it could run on the garbage as well and not need an external fuel source?
    I once read some paper work about a plant that could burn 50tons of garbage a day and output 50mega-watts of eletricity from the garbage as well as potable water. It took anything from household garbage to hazardous material. I’ve since lost the paperwork on this facility and have been searching for a comparable tech.
    I know there are many tech’s out there that turn trash-to-elect., but none of them seem to have the efficiency of the garbage plant I had originally read about. I think it would be great if this tech. could be scaled up, modified, and could produce the equivalent or greater results. This would be something I would be willing to invest in.


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