Energy and infrastructure security are a key part of the Department of Defense's (DoD) mission. Fixed installations that do not have independent energy supply may be exposed to interrupted service should civilian energy grids fail. Alternative baseload power sources are needed to mitigate this risk. Fixed installations that procure energy from commercial grids are also subject to changing cost, and this can cause budget overruns.

Sierra's FastOx® gasification waste to energy platform is designed to provide baseload power and has the added advantage of eliminating the need to transport waste to landfills. It also can allow DoD facilities to control energy costs by generating on-site power.

The objective of this demonstration project was to validate that FastOx gasification is an environmentally sustainable and economic solution to energy security issues both on DoD installations and in the broader civilian market.

Technology Description

Sierra Energy was selected to design, fabricate, install and operate its first commercial scale waste gasification system at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett to generate on-site energy products and mitigate waste disposal costs at the facility. After onsite preparation, the individual fabricated sections of the plant arrived on-site and were installed. Several phases of commissioning and testing followed each portion of the install. All subsystems were connected to the controls and monitoring system and a full plant commissioning was completed in 2018.

Testing on wood waste was conducted over several short campaigns to create baseline data and further understand the plant operating envelope. The final test of the demonstration phase was completed in February 2019.

Demonstration Results

Sierra Energy completed the design, fabrication and installation and initial operations of the first FastOx gasification demonstration plant. Although the plant is still in early operations-demonstration, data was collected from the campaign’s steady state FastOx operations on waste wood to syngas. While a major goal is operating the system at steady state and generate electricity, the electrical generator is yet to be operated, so there is not enough empirical data to validate the success criteria relative to actual operations and electricity metrics. If implemented at Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL) again without cost overruns and assuming 100% of the syngas is converted to electricity, the system would provide on-site distributed power at a lower cost and eliminate waste.

Implementation Issues

The FHL facility successfully produced syngas and anticipates producing electricity and liquid fuels on-site during future operations. The plant will continue to operate for the expected lifespan of the equipment to mitigate waste on-site and generate baseload power.

This Environmental Security Technology Certification Program funding has enabled Sierra Energy to build its first commercial unit. The project moves the gasification industry forward with both Life Cycle Analysis and Techno Economic Analysis reports, and progress on a new Low Carbon Fuel Standard pathway, and by advancing public knowledge and improving the standard greenhouse gases, regulated emissions and related knowledge bases.