Waste Gasification System for Fixed Installation On-Site Distributed Generation

Michael Hart | Sierra Energy



Sierra Energy’s FastOx Pathfinder™ waste-to-electricity system incorporates Sierra's innovative FastOx™ gasifier which efficiently converts waste into syngas using a simple modification of the centuries-old ironmaking blast furnace. Exhaust gases (syngas) are captured and fed to a distributed generator system (genset), thereby alleviating three areas of concern for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD): 1) dependency on vulnerable civilian electrical grids, 2) rising waste disposal and electricity costs, and 3) the cumulative environmental impacts of DoD facilities.

An unobstructed military response is vital to national security and military reliance on vulnerable civilian power sources, which are especially fragile in emergency scenarios, directly threatens that response. A lack of electricity could render a DoD facility incapable of achieving its mission. The ability to generate electricity on-site using local feedstock solves that problem and provides the added benefit of self-reliance and the ability to respond in the event of a civilian electricity grid failure.

As the military reduces outside the continental United States (OCONUS) presence and returns troops to continental United States (CONUS) sites, the size of domestic facilities will grow. This growth will dramatically increase demands for electricity and waste disposal, driving up costs in terms of dollars and environmental harm.

The Pathfinder project at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett, California is intended to demonstrate that Sierra's system will provide the DoD with a flexible and efficient waste-to-electricity system and the ability to ensure a secure, cost-effective, and green source of electricity.

Back to Top

Technology Description

Sierra's Pathfinder system is a waste gasification system that uses a patented high-temperature thermochemical conversion process to break down waste at the molecular level, efficiently converting virtually any waste into renewable electricity. Sierra's compact and streamlined Pathfinder system consists of containerized modules. The process begins with waste being fed in through the top of the refractory-lined gasifier shell, with oxygen and steam injected in at the bottom. The design allows the entire process to occur within a single vessel with no internal moving parts, minimizing maintenance and increasing uptime. This process has no toxic byproducts that require disposal.

This project will demonstrate the technical abilities and economic performance of Sierra's Pathfinder system by completing operations analysis on electricity output, operation costs, emissions, and general operation data under varying conditions and feedstocks.

Back to Top


Sierra's Pathfinder system can provide secure, cost effective, and environmental sources of electricity for DoD fixed installations. The system’s modular and compact design opens opportunities for deployment of beneficial distributed generation across all DoD facilities in remote locations. The Pathfinder is a worthwhile investment due to its brief payback period of less than four years, significant waste disposal, and electricity savings. Environmentally, the Pathfinder avoids greenhouse gases by diverting landfill emissions while also operating with fewer criteria pollutants than natural gas for electricity generation. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2016)

Back to Top

Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Mr. Michael Hart

Sierra Energy

Phone: 530-759-9827

Fax: 530-759-9872

Program Manager

Energy and Water