Defence scientists are developing a prototype waste-to-energy (WTE) system that could generate electricity for troops in areas without power infrastructure.
Jointly developed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and energy consultancy HRL Technology, the system could generate 200 kW of power from two tonnes of waste.
Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that would save up to 1,300 litres of diesel a day, and was enough to power 240 homes and 3,000 litres of hot water an hour.
A typical Australian battalion of 500 deployed soldiers produced between one and two tonnes of waste per day, he said.
The WTE system used a gas turbine to convert hot gases from burning waste to electricity. Snowdon said it was capable of processing up to five tonnes of solid waste a day.
“That’s processing more than twice the amount of rubbish produced by a typical battalion,” he stated.
“Not only could that benefit the environment but it’s also a substantial potential cost saving.”
Defence announced that the technology could be used at military bases, as well as in disaster relief situations where there was plenty of waste and no power infrastructure.
Power generation has been one of the biggest fuel uses in a deployed environment, excluding air operations, according to the department.
A prototype was expected within two years.