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Modular waste-to-energy system is cost-competitive at smaller scales

| By Scott Jenkins

A newly launched modular waste-to-energy system is capable of delivering off-grid heat and power with competitive economics to a variety of locations, including military bases, remote sites and commercial installations, according to creator Enexor BioEnergy LLC (Franklin, Tenn.; Under a contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in April, the company is testing the proprietary units, known as Bio-CHP, on locally generated organic waste from U.S. Navy vessels and bases.

The Bio-CHP units are housed in 20-ft custom shipping containers that can be trucked to various locations to provide combined heat and power by combusting organic material, such as food waste, agricultural waste, seaweed, wood waste and others. Enexor has also designed a companion unit to combust common, non-chlorinated packaging plastics, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

“These ‘behind-the-meter’ energy units are based on advanced combustion, not on gasification, which tends not work economically at smaller scales,” explains Enexor CEO Lee Jestings. “Among the keys to the technology is a specially designed turbine that was custom-made for this application, as well as a high-temperature ceramic filter for cleaning the exhaust stream, and advanced heat exchangers.”

Rather than selling the modular units, Enexor is using an “energy-as-a-service” model, where the user will pay for the heat and power consumed onsite, but the company will own the units. “Application areas for these units include any location where organic waste is generated, such as food-processing facilities, military installations, distilleries, island resorts and others,” Jestings says.