Mainstream Engineering Awarded Contract from the Air Force for Transportable Waste-to-Fuel Process
Many landfills across the country, including some on military bases, are reaching capacity. Faced with the prospect of having to truck waste over long distances to alternative landfills, the Air Force sought out processes that could divert organic material from the landfills and extend their useful life.
Under this Air Force SBIR contract, Mainstream Engineering is developing its patent-pending fast-pyrolysis process to convert waste organic material to a liquid fuel commonly called bio-oil. In a previous effort, Mainstream engineers constructed a pilot reactor and tested it with pine wood and mixed waste. The bio-oil that was produced can be used raw as a replacement for heavy fuel oil or can be further refined to gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. Engineers at Mainstream are now making improvements to the pilot reactor to make it self-sustaining and ready for a field demonstration.
Fast pyrolysis was first discovered about 25 years ago but has yet to be adopted at a large scale except in niche applications. The engineers at Mainstream are working to circumvent key technical barriers that have prevented biomass fast pyrolysis from taking hold commercially. The company has developed proprietary technology to improve the bio-oil yield and to use process energy more efficiently.
Extending the life of landfills simplifies waste management logistics and reduces operating costs. In addition, expanded on-site generation of renewable energy improves energy security and helps mitigate the risk of power outages. The transportable fast-pyrolysis technology supports the Air Force’s goal of producing more on-base power from renewable sources.
About Mainstream Engineering
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development, and manufacturing small business with a history of leading-edge research and development that has resulted in advanced, lean-manufacturing, cost-competitive products, which are all made in the USA. Founded in 1986, Mainstream’s mission is to transition advanced thermal control, energy storage, and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, environmentally safe green, commercial products. Products include lightweight diesel/JP8-fueled engines (including generators and hybrid vehicle drive trains), advanced thermal control units, advanced biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers, and the QwikProducts™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of advanced research include thermal control, energy conversion, engine and emissions research, turbomachinery, chemical technology, and materials science.