The military’s already working on using seawater to create fuel, but that’s more of an option for maritime operations. Without an endless supply of seawater, they’d need an alternative carbon source. Enter the massive quantities of sludge that inevitably accumulate around troop outposts. It’s been a problem for decades, according to environmental management expert Dr. James Lee. In an article for the Army’s Engineer School, he writes that the military spent upwards of $65,000 in annual fuel costs just to burn off human refuse at base camp in the Balkans.
So Darpa’s proposal would offer two major benefits: Less waste to treat and dispose of at bases, and fewer financial and tactical burdens around sourcing adequate fuel — whether to power jets and facilities or burn off heaps of odorous fecal matter. And with a single trooper stationed in Afghanistan using 22 gallons of fuel a day, that’d add up to major savings.
Link via Fast Company | Photo: US Department of Agriculture