Mr. Hart checked out Mr. Kasten’s gasifier and decided to buy the patents. Then he applied to a Pentagon program established to shepherd proven concepts to the production stage. Results at the Defense Department’s testing facility near Sacramento have been promising; after about four hours, one ton of waste creates enough gas to produce 1,580 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which would power an average home in the United States for about a month and a half — at one-third the emissions of coal — and 42 gallons of renewably sourced fuel. And that’s with a 12-ton-a-day gasifier; existing blast furnaces can handle as much as 2,000 tons a day.
Now that the Pentagon is convinced that the FastOx will work as advertised, the system should be providing electricity later this year atFort Hunter Liggett, a small training base in Monterey County, Calif., and fuel for vehicles and generators in early 2014.
“California produces 30 million tons of garbage a year,” Mr. Hart said. “If it decided to turn its waste into clean fuels, at that rate it could meet all its oil consumption needs and still export more fuel than some OPEC members.” That is, if the FastOx can do what no other waste-to-energy gasification technology has done before: take any kind of trash, in any succession, without additional separation or preparation.
Sierra plans to license its technology and to sell systems to make electricity or ethanol from the synthetic natural gas produced by the FastOx. The first will be small and cost about $3 million. But Mr. Hart said he expects to sell larger systems to municipalities and biofuel makers that will go for much more.RTWT.