MSW Power has been able to successfully demonstrate the Battalion-Scale Waste-to-Energy Conversion (BWEC) systems performance on simulated contingency base waste streams. However, field testing of irregular waste streams has identified several performance and reliability issues that must be addressed before the technology can successfully transition to an acquisition program. The core objective of this program is to demonstrate and validate a BWEC system capable of converting highly variable contingent base solid waste into electricity and heat in an efficient, reliable, transportable, and rapidly deployed configuration. In order to meet the requirements of Force Provider’s Expeditionary Capability Production Document, MSW Power will implement solutions to BWEC system in order for it to be able to demonstrate that it can operate reliably with a diverse feedstock and minimal with manpower. If this goal is reached during this effort, the system will immediately be strongly considered for acquisition for contingency operations.

Technology Description

MSW Power has been developing the BWEC system to process encampment waste generated in the combat theater to on-site electrical energy and heat for use on a base’s distributed grid network in order to reduce the dependence on diesel (JP-8) fuel and the logistical burden of waste disposal.

The key BWEC operations are summarized as:

  • A compact loading system utilizes distributed carts at waste generation areas on the base. The carts are loaded into the front-end loader providing up to 2-3 hours of waste storage. The carts are fed one at time to a vertical lift system that dumps the cart contents into the Solid Waste Preprocessor (SWP) system.
  • A versatile solid waste preprocessing unit capable of converting a range of waste streams (refuse derived fuel and biomass, such as wood), into waste-based fuel pellets of ideal size, density, and moisture content for gasification. The solid waste is shredded, dried and densified into pellets for use in a downdraft gasifier. Densified fuel pellets are much more desirable than unconsolidated shredded waste because they facilitate transport and permit higher gasifier efficiency through enhanced bed stability while maintaining high permeability throughout the reactor allowing for enhanced control of reaction kinetics.
  • A clean-burning downdraft gasification unit capable of generating a low tar, low particulate syngas of composition suited to produce on-site electricity from a modified diesel generator.
  • The diesel generator is designed to operate on JP-8 and was modified to accept producer gas from the BWEC gasifier and has a rated capacity of 115 Kilowatts Electrical (kWe). Based on the waste composition, the BWEC system is expected to provide a total of 80-100 kWe on demand and 55-75 kWe net.
  • An integrated control system to allow 24/7 and weather independent operation with minimal manpower supervision.


Burn pits are known to release harmful toxins and pollutants, exposing the solider to unwarranted health and safety risks. A successful demonstration of the BWEC system will provide the DoD with a solution to replace the use of open burn pits for waste management in the combat theatre. In turn, this will help safeguard the health and security of the solider while promoting environmental responsibility. The cost comparison between open burn pits and the BWEC system cannot be evaluated due to the lack of information regarding fuel, manpower and emissions from open burn pits. It is also not hard to imagine that emissions from a controlled thermal process will produce a drastically reduced emission profile compared to burn pits. However, a cost comparison could be made between the BWEC system and incinerators. Data on incinerator fuel consumption suggest that the BWEC system could provide significant fuel savings, resulting in $16,900,000 in savings per unit over 10 years.