The program is aimed at boosting energy generation within Air Force bases through the natural remediation of pollutants found inside.
This program is made by a complex framework, that involves all vehicles, buildings, storage facilities and the personnel (civilians as well).
Air Force bases, especially those located on hard to reach areas of the planet, must exploit locally available resources in a more sustainable way. This is not only good for the mission, but also and even more for making a positive impact to the affected area.
But, why Air Force bases? Simply because since 90s, the example of natural decontamination through composting which took place @ John Seymour Base (Goldsboro, NC) has been a guiding light to make the whole military sector more sustainable.
Now, after many years, we can apply much more natural technologies and solutions to deal with even more complex issues. Air Force bases are the best application field for such natural technologies, due to the presence of very specific chemicals and a high energy demand.
This very special project focuses the attention of the following fields: water cleanup (before and after bombing), building collapse (after bombing), vehicles, vegetation, natural remediation of harmful chemicals inside (and spreading outside) the facility.
This part of the project is aimed at improving water quality for human consumption, as well as for wastewater. This does mean that some cleanup solutions are integrated within the facility, in order to cut costs and make cleaner water available to the people. This is particularly valid for communities affected by military operations.
Some highly available resources are collected and applied in order to remove chemicals from the water. This applies to:
According to the chance of using natural and locally available resource, cleanup is made with:
These are just some of the natural solutions can be applied, by following two strict rules:
The 2nd rule may be quite “flexible”; when pollution issues to treat are tremendously serious we must focus the attention on removing chemicals, even though selected solutions do not ensure the generation of significant amount of new energy.
This part of the project is aimed at recycling debris and construction materials after collapse. A very special feature to boost the rehab phase after bombing, that makes available new raw materials to the affected community.
Two are the main lines of intervention:
About the 1), such QTFs are built through recycling of debris and collapsed materials, in the shortest time. QTFs host some essential activities for boosting the rehab phase after bombing:
These QTFs are built with the help of military & security personnel; at least one of each different QTF types listed above should be built depending on the extension of the affected area.
About the 2), C&D waste are a valuable addition to composting process. They are able to improve the quality of the final product (so that ot can be spread on the ground to push further the productivity of the soil).
In addition, composting generates energy and depending on the case, there are two chances:
Depending on needs, several other additions to the composting process may be taken into consideration. The final result is: less pollution and bulky waste after bombings, more energy and a faster rehab for the affected community.
This part of the project is aimed at performing a good cleanup of diesel oil, fuel oil, motor oil, jet fuel and more in general all exhausts can be found on the ground as well as in waters.
Interestingly, some energy can be obtained by the process, when some pollutants are involved. That’s the case of diesel oil, can be very effectively treated with food waste compost.
The framework to follow is:
Food waste likely is the most effective natural tool to consider for the purpose, although other solutions can be put into the practice.
For what concerns more specific pollution issues, we have to include the following:
This framework only addresses contaminated soils, inside and outside the facility, although also water can be contaminated. However, solutions presented in the 1st paragraph of this special project allow to achieve great results.
This part of the project is aimed at preventing contamination spread outside the facility or the target of military & security missions abroad.
A very specific feature, made possible by the application of several hyper-accumulator plants all around the limit of the facility (or the area of interest for the mission). Hyper-accumulator does mean plants able to concentrate and uptake high loads of chemicals when growing on a contaminated area.
This special projects however considers also another category of very useful vegetables and plants. They are called “excluder plants”, because able to grown on contaminated lands without adsorbing pollutants. In other words, they may be cultivated in spite of the presence of some dangerous chemicals on the ground.
The mixing of these two plant categories, depending on the final goal, the specific area and the potentially affected population (including military & security personnel), is the proposed solution.
The framework to follow is:
This framework mostly addresses pollutants fallen on the ground, while for dusts things needs to be more complicated. In this case, some useful biofilters made by compost can be adopted. However, the most concerning pollution issue is the long lasting presence of many dangerous chemicals on the ground and in water, so the creation of some natural barriers, if well done, prevent the contamination spread very well.
This part of the project is aimed at removing (if possible degrading) pollutants left by weapons on the ground (mostly) and in water.
In addition, the projects features some special treatments for other very serious pollutants, like flame retardants, complex hydrocarbons (halogenated and chlorinated PAHs), PFAS, PFOA, dioxin, PCBs and more.
Depending on the specific pollution profile can be found on the ground (or in water), as a consequence of the weapons use, a dedicated action of remediation is carried out.
Methods may vary a lot, so it’s not possible to setup a remediation scheme. What we can say right now is that the following opportunities are taken into the greatest consideration:
These solutions may be applied at the same time in different sites within the same Air Force Base. Moreover, it’s also possible to extend the work outside the military area, to involve the people.
This framework envisages the collection of most proper waste and raw materials to address the issue. So, a good cooperation between military / security personnel and surrounding communities may be of great help to make the process faster and potentially even ore effective.
The final goal is to generate more energy and make it available for additional needs. This is possible when composting is applied, so the remediation of explosives and ammos has a great potential.
No energy can be generated when reducing agents are applied, while the use of spent biomasses (after application) may become a very good way for energy supply.
Mushrooms case is very specific: if applied as they are to soak up pollution, the potential for energy generation on a military / security area is low. However, if a byproduct of mushroom industry is applied, namely SMC (spent mushroom compost), some energy can be available under some circumstances.
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