The path to zero waste.
Aug 13, 2014
Sierra Energy was quoted in a recent Forbes article on how the military has been encouraging biofuel startups in their mission to reduce fossil fuel dependency.
The startup, based in Davis, Calif., is developing technology to transform a blast furnace into a machine that can vaporize garbage and produce either diesel fuel or electricity. It’s a decidedly low-tech-looking metal cylinder connected to a conveyer belt that feeds the contraption a diet of discarded bottles, plastic, metal and other detritus. Oxygen and steam injected into the cylinder’s base gasifies the trash, leaving a gas that can be refined into diesel. The possibility of using such technology on remote battlefield bases caught the Marines’ attention and changed Sierra’s business plan.
“The Marine Corps said, ‘Make it modular so it can be delivered in the field,’ and they wanted us to produce liquid fuels, so that’s what we did,” says Hart, pointing to a prototype being tested at the decommissioned McClellan Air Force base outside Sacramento. Hart is betting that if he meets the Marines’ needs he can capture a potentially lucrative military market – and sell to cities seeking to generate renewable energy while slashing landfill bills.
“The DOD is serious as a heart attack,” he says.
Read the full article on the Forbes website or click here to download a PDF.