May 232012

Photo by Naomi Hatch -- Testing on a small incinerator, which has the capability of incinerating solid waste, is being done at Larson Waste for the Department of Defense. The results will be used to identify, monitor and document the potential for adverse human health impacts during mobilization, operation and demobilization, as well as the functionality of the incinerators, which would be used mainly by the U.S. Army.

By Naomi Hatch —

Nolan Larson was on a plane bound for Phoenix, coming home after a visit with his son in Virginia, when he began talking to the lady seated next to him. She said something about waste energy and being in need of a testing facility.

Larson’s interest was peaked when she mentioned waste energy, because he’d been looking into a way to make energy from the tons of waste he collects at Larson Waste in Snowflake.

“I’m really excited about anybody bringing dollars into our community,” said Larson, who is actively in-volved in economic development in the area, serving on the RealAZ Board and recently appointed the Navajo County representative on the Arizona Commerce Authority Rural Business Development Advisory Council.

Community leaders from throughout the White Mountains attended a waste-to-energy and mobile incinera-tor demonstration May 17 conducted at Larson Waste by National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE).

Joe Jackens, of NDCEE was on hand for the demonstrations.

The mobile incinerator demonstration will provide information to Department of Defense decision makers, including United States Army Central (ARCENT) and Product Manager, Force Sustainment Systems (PM FSS) to allow them to determine if incinerators are a safe and viable option for reducing the volume of non-hazardous solid waste generated at contingency bases.

Incinerators are designed to promote combustion by operating at higher temperatures with a constant supply of oxygen, and they control emissions to one release point.

“The biggest challenge was finding a test site,” said Jackens.

A small-scale incinerator was used in the demonstration as well as a larger unit.

Jim Mason of All Power Labs explained the small, portable waste-to-energy converter.

The demonstration by NDCEE will assess the applicability at small to mid-size contingency bases, and will evaluate small-scale biomass power generation.

Rather than need to temporarily store, then pick up and transport waste that would go to a landfill or incin-erator, the portable unit would be on-site. It was noted that open burning could expose soldiers to hazardous air emissions.

Waste-to-energy (WTE) is a gasification process which transforms organic materials such as biomass or municipal solid waste into a synthesis gas that can be burned directly in internal combustion engines. The 20-kilowatt Power Pallet is a complete gasification system that is synchronized and governed by a digital control-ler.

The objective of the demonstration was to evaluate the ability of the small-scale, mobile WTE technology to generate electrical power and process mixed waste streams. The labor time and skills required to successfully mobilize, demobilize and operate a small-scale WTE system will be analyzed.

Mason said that they export 70 percent of the units overseas, delivering kits that are on a 4’x4’ shipping pallet and that can be welded together.

The plan is to expand and use the units for heating, and eventually have the capability of shaft power.

The units use wood matter, which is available around the world. The wood matter is broken down to a gas form and goes into an internal combustion system. Mason noted that they are currently using forest, egg shell and coconut waste, but it will not work on wet stuff such as manure.

These tests will be going on until June 2 at Larson Waste and results will be available on the NDCE website in approximately six months.