Low Emissions Waste to Energy Disposal
Navy SBIR 2015.2 - Topic N152-097
NAVFAC - Mr. Kail Macias - kail.macias@navy.mil
Opens: May 26, 2015 - Closes: June 24, 2015

N152-097    TITLE:  Low Emissions Waste to Energy Disposal

TECHNOLOGY AREAS:  Materials/Processes, Human Systems

ACQUISITION PROGRAM:  NAVFAC Directed Energy and Navy Expeditionary Combat Command

OBJECTIVE:  Develop new waste to energy incinerator system with the goal of achieving net zero consumption of energy in disposal of waste while meeting air quality standards and reducing fuel consumption.

DESCRIPTION:  Island bases and other remote forward operating bases (FOB) have limited land and energy resources to dispose of municipal solid waste (MSW). Open air pits are discouraged and congressionally required to be nearly-eliminated. Due to the high volume of generated MSW and limited amount of real-estate, landfills and bio-digestive approaches are impractical. Incinerators currently being used require expensive, complex scrubbers in order to meet air quality standards. Existing incinerators in use also consume excessive amounts of fuel (diesel or JP8) and require waste characterization and sorting to ensure proper operation. On island bases and other remote FOB’s, fuel is costly to import - not only in monetary value, but manpower and lives as well. Current DoD waste disposal practices for contingency bases involves trucking away waste or bringing in additional fuel to burn the waste, which adds to the transportation burden and increases risk to personnel. An Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) study reported than a soldier or civilian was wounded or killed for every 24 fuel resupply convoys in Afghanistan during FY 2007 [2]. Thermal approaches to MSW disposal are sought that would generate energy in the form of a fuel, useful thermal energy, or electrical energy. The goal is to achieve net zero consumption of energy in the disposal of MSW, while meeting air quality standards (see Ref 6). However as a minimum the results of this project must show quantifiable improvement in energy consumption. The new incinerator system must be simple to operate and maintain in all climate conditions. The system must be able to be setup and operational within 24hrs. Fuel or energy generation must be produced within 24 hours of operation. Typical thermal approaches that may be considered in developing the incinerator system include but are not limited to: combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, and thermal depolymerization. Plasma arc gasification concepts should address energy intensity of the process, include simplicity and robustness of the hardware to be used. Bio-approaches are not ideal, but will be considered. Any bio or chemical system must be robust and capable of functioning in all global climate conditions. GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS: The proposed incinerator system, when developed into a working system, should meet the following logistics foot print and capacity: For transportability to remote island bases or FOB, as well as ease of assembly, the system should be contained in TRICON size containers that can be reassembled and dismantled like modular building blocks. Each TRICON must weigh not more than 10,000 lbs, the maximum capacity of the material handling equipment within the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion’s Table of Allowance. The system should be contained in no more than eight TRICON containers. The proposed incinerator system should be able to deliver at least a 95% reduction in volume of waste, be flexible in handling solid waste to include food, waste oil, and damp wood or vegetation. The system should be able to handle at least 1200lbs of waste a day and be able to be operated with a minimum of two personnel. Effluents and any char from the process needs to be environmentally safe for easy disposal. The system must be able to be setup and operational within 24hrs. Fuel or energy generation must be produced within 24 hours of operation. 

PHASE I:  Determine feasibility of developing a portable incinerator system capable of MSW disposal with the goal of achieving net zero energy consumption while meeting air quality standards. Provide simulation and design plans for fabrication of working prototype waste disposal incinerator system. Laboratory scale demonstration would be desirable but not required as a Phase I deliverable. 

PHASE II:  Fabricate and demonstrate a fully functioning incinerator system prototype with measurable energy consumption improvement. The measurable improvement should be close to or at the goal of net zero energy consumption. Air quality measurement will be tested to quantify emissions. Prototype system should be delivered, sized and fitted into TRICON containers, meeting specifications as discussed in the Description section.

PHASE III:  Based on the results of Phase II, the small business will manufacture an incinerator system with measurable energy consumption improvement close to or at the goal of net zero energy consumption and transition the system for Navy use in an operationally relevant environment. The small business will support the Navy with testing and validation of the system to certify and qualify it for Navy use. A system capable of handling a small 150 man camp will be field tested and evaluated. Standard MSW will be consumed with targeted >95% reduction in volume. Portability and ease of setup will be evaluated. The primary application will be fixed facilities at remote Naval locations. Simple system operation and maintenance will also be considered in evaluating possible wider DoD implementation.


1.     “Department of Defense Instruction No. 4715.19 Incorporating Change 3, Effective July 3, 2014 USD (AT&L) + SUBJECT: Use of Open-Air Burn Pits in Contingency Operations”

2.     Army Environmental Policy Institute (www.aepi.army.mil): “Sustain the Mission Project: Casualty Factors for Fuel and Water Resupply Convoys”, Final Technical Report, September 2009

3.     Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), 2015 NECC Science and Technology Objectives

4.     Kip Funk, et. al., “Waste Not, Want Not: Analyzing the Economic and Environmental Viability of Waste to Energy (WTE) Technology for Site-Specific Optimization of Renewable Energy Options”. NREL/TP-6A50-52829 Technical Report, Feb. 2013.

5.     Caroline Ducharme, MS Thesis: “Technical and economic analysis of Plasma-assisted Waste to Energy processes”. 2010 Columbia University.

6.     40 CFR 60, Subpart EEEE, "Standards of Performance for Other Solid Waste Incinerators." Table 1 of subpart. A.

7.     Masoud Pourali, “Application of Plasma Gasification Technology in Waste to Energy Challenges and Opportunities”.

8.     “Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Conversion Technologies”, Alternative Resources, Inc. Report for City of Santa Barbara. 2008.


KEYWORDS:  Waste to Energy, incinerator, trash, disposal, green energy, emissions, EPA, alternative energy, plasma, gasification, pyrolysis

TPOC:  Ken Ho Phone:  (805)982-1636

Email:  ken.ho@navy.mil

2nd TPOC:  Grant Davison Phone:  (805)685-1312

Email:  grant.davison@navy.mil



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