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Temporarily deployed relief centers, military bases (bare bases), emergency centers, and other encampments are routinely put in place by governments or quasi-government agencies to meet particular needs. To sustain these deployed bases, particularly over long durations, a large number of personnel are required to provide operational support, inevitably generating significant amounts of wastes on a daily basis. According to a study on deployable waste management systems, more than 196,000 lbs/day of solid and liquid wastes and wastewater are generated at a typical 1,100-person bare base.
Typical wastes include significant amounts of blackwater, graywater, food waste, solid wastes such as wood and cardboard, medical wastes, and waste oils. Traditionally, blackwater and solid waste are trucked off-site by local contractors, an on-site incinerator is used to treat medical waste, and an on-site lagoon is constructed and maintained to treat graywater. This traditional waste and resource management approach is not only a logistical burden, but using local contractors and truck convoys pose significant security issues. At the same time, essential materials, particularly water, must be supplied in large quantities on a daily basis. Water is an essential and high-volume logistical material for operations involving long-duration human settlement in isolated areas.
In order to provide greatly improved waste management, the Air Force has developed an integrated system to recycle wastes and wastewaters generated from human activities that maximizes synergies among selected component technologies to achieve system versatility, deployability, and robustness. The waste management and resource recovery system comprises several subsystems, wherein at least part of the output of each of the subsystems is supplied to at least one other subsystem as an input. The subsystems include a gas burner for solid and fuel waste that supplies heat to a hydrothermal processor for saccharification of paper and cardboard. The resulting saccharification broth, along with kitchen wastes and blackwater, are supplied to a bioreactor using dark fermentation to produce hydrogen and volatile fatty acids. The hydrogen and volatile fatty acids are supplied to hydrogen and microbial fuel cells to produce electrical energy for operating the system and potable water. A steam accumulator is added to provide sufficient temperatures and pressures to reach the necessary thermodynamic states for the saccharification process while an enzymatic saccharification processor may also improve the saccharification process.
- Self-contained system that effectively handles the waste from a temporary base
- Enhanced environmental stewardship
- US patent 8,114,663 available for license