U.S. Army Selects Mainstream Engineering to Develop Alternative Fuel from Food Waste

ROCKLEDGE, FL – February 12, 2009 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, leading research, and development company specializing in advanced thermal control and energy conversion, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army to demonstrate food waste remediation for field kitchens by hydrothermal liquefaction. This process will not only eliminate waste but will also produce an alternative fuel that can be used on site.

The Army is seeking a technology to rapidly eliminate the waste generated by base camp field kitchens. These wastes generate objectionable odors and gases, can create environmental problems and can contribute to the spread of disease. Studies have shown that solid waste is generated at a rate of 3-4 lb per person per day for base camp operations. A typical maneuver battalion of 550 soldiers will produce about 2000 lb of waste per day. Much of this is food waste, with high water content and low energy content.

Hydrothermal liquefaction is a process that will not only quickly eliminate low-energy-content waste but will also produce an alternative fuel from this waste. The fuel can be used on-site to produce power and electricity for the base camp.

Mainstream plans to use a batch reactor to demonstrate the feasibility of producing fuel from a heterogeneous, low-energy-content waste stream through a hydrothermal liquefaction process. The resulting fuel will be tested to determine its properties and potential applications. In particular, Mainstream will determine the suitability of the fuel as a drop-in replacement for JP-8 in a dual-fuel diesel engine.