Diversified Energy Corp., a Gilbert-based developer of alternative energy technologies, and an Ohio-based partner have received a U.S. Department of Defense contract to design a renewable fuel production system that could be used at remote and forward operating military bases.
The contract, the local company’s first with the Defense Department, is valued at just $100,000 for the first phase to design the system, but later phases could bring the company hundreds of millions of dollars if the armed services order large numbers of the devices, said Phillip Brown, president of Diversified Energy.
The project will turn waste products generated at military installations into 50 to 500 barrels a day of diesel and aviation fuel, he said.
The portable system will use Diversified’s HydroMax gasification technology, under license from Alchemix Corp., to convert waste to synthetic gas and an advanced Fischer-Tropsch system developed by Velocys, an alternative-energy company in Plain City, Ohio, to convert the gas into liquid fuels.
“At military installations being operated overseas and in the Middle East there is quite a bit of waste generated. That includes garbage, municipal solid waste, wood, tires and other waste materials that all contain fairly substantial carbon components,” Brown said.
“We will look at the feasibility of converting all of these waste products into liquid fuels.”
The proposed system has the potential of solving two problems at once: the disposal of waste and the military’s need for high-performance fuels to run its tanks and other equipment, he said.
Producing fuel at forward bases will also reduce the logistical burden of transporting fuel for military operations, he said.
“There are some interesting waste management and energy security synergies that are created,” he said.
The Defense Department is the single largest fuel consumer in the country, with an annual fuel budget of approximately $9 billion and rising, he said.