New $6.8 Million waste to energy system unveiled

  • Published
  • By Hawaii Air National Guard and Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism staffs
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs
The High Technology Development Corporation's Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies sponsored a demonstration of a $6.8 million renewable and clean, waste to energy generating system here Feb. 19.

The demonstration runs through this summer at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, near the campus of the Hawaii Air National Guard, and was done through a contract with Biomass Energy Systems, Inc.  The waste to energy project demonstration showcases the efficacy of converting ten tons of waste per day to electricity using a state-of-the art gasification technology.

The Air Force Research Labs selected the HIANG's 154th Wing to demonstrate an integrated microgrid concept that tests the viability of using renewable energy and microgrids to assure that the Air Force can continue mission critical operations regardless of the state of the public utility grid or cyber-attack.  Phase I of the microgrid will utilize a rotary kiln gasifier that turns waste into fuel, heat and electricity.

"The Air Force's effort to develop a microgrid testbed in Hawaii will help ensure that the Air National Guard has access to the energy it needs to execute its defense and homeland security missions, while providing a proof of concept that clean energy and microgrid technologies can support the Air Force's broader energy security goals," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Schatz, who was instrumental in convincing the Air Force to select Hawaii as a demonstration site, officiated over the demonstration ceremony. JBPHH was selected based on Hawaii's variety of renewable energy sources, the high cost of electricity and complexity of the Hawaii Air Guard's 154th Wing, which operates the F-22, the most advanced fighter in the U.S. inventory.  

"The Hawaii Guard's flying wing is as complex as any Air Force fighter wing, but in a much more compact footprint," said HCATT Director, and former HIANG Commander Brigadier General Stan Osserman. "This demonstration signifies an important step toward energy security and Net Zero goals for waste, not only for the military, but for civilian populations throughout the islands, and even beyond."

The waste to energy project represents an investment by the Air Force to determine the feasibility of solving the challenge of waste disposal with the opportunity to offset the cost of electricity on base.  The system at JBPHH was built by BESI. It is designed to handle between two and ten tons of waste per day and generate a net 200 to 300 kW of baseload power using four generators run from the syngas produced by the gasifier.  

"The system is clean, reliable and rugged," said Renee Comly, president and CEO of BESI.  "We are pleased to demonstrate how a system like this can be a real asset as we move towards a world run on clean energy."

The BESI rotary kiln system was installed at JBPHH in December 2015 and has completed all of its initial testing this month.  It will begin running specific "recipes" for several weeks to collect data using specific "feed-stock" that can be expected from a military base with a population of about 2000 people.  The system will then be tested on its ability to produce hydrogen that can be used in fuel cell vehicles already being demonstrated at JBPHH.  It will then be used to produce a liquid jet fuel from waste.  Eventually, the Air Force plans to include the gasifier in the first phase of its micro-grid project at the end of this year.