The United States government is always working hand in hand with concerned citizens in coming up with great ideas to eradicate waste. There are many waste-related problems such as landfills and the pollution they cause on ground water; nuclear waste that need to be transported away (as far away as possible so as not to cause harm); and even industrial wastes that constantly pollute the waters and kill marine life.
These problems, when looked at on a different angle, could be used to solve the concerns themselves. There are now studies and researches (that are being supported by the U.S. government which aim to put a stop to waste disposal problems plus add the benefit of having good sources of clean fuel!)—all it takes is a little innovation from pioneering minds.
One of the departments that consume much fuel reserve is the Department of Defense. Five billion gallons of fuel have been used up by the U.S. military in 2007 alone. Of course, to be able to use these barrels upon barrels of fuels, they have to be transported even to hot spots like Iraq or Afghanistan; and fuel is something that terrorists badly need. With this issue on hand, the Department of Defense decided to do something about it and the result was such a breakthrough!
Velocys and Diversified Energy are two companies that have worked on a system that could produce the needed jet and diesel fuel by the military. Their solution was very simple—all that they had to do was convert all the waste products at the base camps into fuel. This garbage could be mere scraps of paper, food or even wood.
The process begins with the collection of the needed waste products and then placing them in gasifiers (produced by Diversified Energy). The gasifier transforms any material that has carbon into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2 (also known as syngas). Velocys’ fuel synthesizer then converts this gas into fuel (in hydrocarbon liquid form).
The invention of this waste fuel solves two U.S. military problems: the minor problem on how to dispose waste from the bases and the major problem on transporting fuel. In the long run, this could even stop fuel ‘hijacks’ by terrorists. The synthesizer and the gasifier are small enough and so far, the two companies have shown promising demonstrations that these two equipments would be able to deliver what they are promising.
Although this is hardly off of the planning room, military garbage conversion could spell fuel independence for the department in the years to come. Looking at this innovation initiated by solving military problems, the country, in general could actually benefit from it. The source of fuel comes cheap (in fact, it is far from being costly as it comes from waste materials) and the end-product is highly useful. If all types of wastes that are being produced by tons each year are to be converted into sources of energy, America would be able to compete in the production of fuels; and when this happens, it could be economically healthy for the country, too.