Lockheed Martin combined its engineering and systems integration expertise with Concord Blue’s patented Reformer technology to convert waste into electricity, heat, hydrogen, fuels or specialty chemicals. The waste conversion plant can be designed to handle a variety of waste feedstocks without incineration or significant space requirements. The hydrogen-rich product gas can be used to power electric engine-generators or turbines, and it meets or exceeds internationally recognized global pollution standards.
In addition to saving money on waste disposal costs and transportation, the closed-loop system requires no additional power once the conversion process begins, Lockheed Martin reports. Power can be used at the site or sold to create an additional income stream. The plant creates clean energy jobs, and helps users find economic value in agricultural, industrial and municipal solid waste streams.
Unlike conventional waste incineration technologies, gasification addresses the challenges of over-capacity landfills and the energy demands of a growing population. It can provide environmental benefits such as reduced water pollution, reduced methane emissions from landfills, reduced use of virgin fossil fuels, reduced transportation of waste as well as sustainable energy for locations without access to a central power grid. The waste inputs are flexible and include categories such as paper recycling refuses, manufacturing sludge, residual woody biomass, and restaurant food waste. The plant design is modular plant and requires as little as an acre of land.
Compared to other waste-to- energy solutions, the advanced gasification plant requires no incineration or combustion. It features a comparably high input to output ratio: It can convert 1 ton of waste per hour into 1.4 megawatts of electricity. In addition, the wide range of acceptable waste inputs address barriers to similar systems. The higher quality nature of the energy output can appeal to a broader set of use cases — from thermal electricity to hydrogen to specialty chemicals to bio- char. The Lockheed Martin system does not require plasma torches. A patented heat carrier process can achieve complete heat transfer without additional fuel or power. Due to staged reforming and an oxygen-free steam thermolysis process, the system produces a clean hydrogen-rich syngas, which can be used in high-efficiency gas engines.
In Owego, New York, an advanced gasification plant is expected to help power a nearly two-million-square-foot campus, reducing carbon emissions by 9,000 metric tons per year, according to Lockheed Martin. The vertical layout of the plant minimizes parasitic load and footprint, allowing for increased overall efficiency. The reformation process excludes oxygen, ensuring an environmentally friendly process without the use of incineration. The technology fulfills international, EPA, and European regulations for air emissions. Lockheed Martin is currently building a larger, 5-megawatt plant in Herten, Germany that will power about 5,000 homes and businesses by processing 50,000 tons of raw waste per year.