(166c) A Framework for Assessing Solid Waste Energy Recovery Systems for Small-Scale on-Site Applications

Authors: 
Pfluger, A., U.S. Military Academy
Nagelli, E., United States Military Academy
James, C., United States Military Academy
Sheehan, P. L., Army Futures Command, RDECOM-ARDEC
Moore, H. L., Army Futures Command, RDECOM-ARDEC, Picatinny Arsenal
Haney, P., Army Futures Command, RDECOM-ARDEC
The generation of solid waste, which includes wood, paper, plastics, organic wastes (e.g., food wastes) and other debris can be problematic for isolated, small-scale communities. While several known technologies, such as pyrolysis or gasification, can be employed for on-site applications, there is no waste-to-energy technology that can accept all types of solid waste. At present, small-scale communities must decide which technology to use (if any) based on their unique site and situation. The purpose of this study is to develop a framework for assessing available technologies for the destruction of solid wastes with the simultaneous production of energy for small-scale operations (i.e., for populations of 100 to 1,000 people). To assess the feasibility of several existing technologies, we first surveyed several available technologies (by contacting company representatives and/or conducting on-line research) to characterize the technology and obtain the following performance metrics: rate of waste treated, type of waste treated, pre-processing requirements, transportability, number of operators, physical footprint requirements, support requirements (fuel, electricity), permitting and military testing & evaluation, environmental control limitations, safety, operator skills and training, specialty equipment, operational and down time, production of heat & electricity, production of residuals, noise & odor, and air emissions. Second, we developed a framework for assessing characteristics of each technology considering the typical solid waste generation rates (based on characteristics from U.S. military forward operating bases) for population sizes ranging from 100 to 1,000 people. Within the framework, individual metrics where binned into three overarching categories: “waste inputs”, “support requirements”, and “products / residuals”. Each technology was assigned a baseline score considering each individual metric and the binned categories for comparison. Depending on the need, the framework further allowed for weighted analysis of each binned category. The developed framework was employed to assess several pyrolysis or gasification technologies for the U.S. military, but could be modified and employed for numerous small-scale on-site waste-to-energy applications.