Lockheed Martin has opened a waste-to-energy facility that the company says will reduce its energy costs and waste sent to landfills. Unlike incineration, the process is oxygen-free and flame-free, which limits emissions and means no harmful byproducts are produced, the company says.
The new 250-kilowatt bioenergy plant uses Concord Blue’s technology to convert waste material into energy for the Lockheed Martin Owego, New York operations where it designs and builds space-flight hardware, military helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
It will process 8 tons of waste each day and will be able to provide power for the 2,500 employees at the company, Frank Armijo, vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy, told Gannet. It cost between $10 million and $20 million to build the plant, Armijo said.
There are four key steps in the process. First wood-waste is collected and used as input. The Owego facility’s managers plan to also use municipal, commercial or industrial waste in the future.
After collection, metal, glass and other materials are removed, and the waste is dried to specification.
Next, heat carrier spheres are heated and mixed in with the organic waste. Once a certain temperature is reached, the solid waste turns into gas, which then travels to a reforming vessel where the gas is turned into synthesis gas, or syngas.
The syngas is then used to fuel a combustion engine that produces electricity. Alternatively, the syngas can also be used to produce hydrogen and biofuels.
Lockheed Martin and Concord Blue also recently began construction on a waste-to-energy plant in Herten, Germany. The facility will convert 50,000 tons of feedstock per year into 5 megawatts of energy output, enough to power about 5,000 local homes and businesses.