MARFORPAC Demonstrates MAGS to Students
By Chuck E. Little
| | September 12, 2011
CAMP H. M. SMITH, HI --
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific hosted two chemistry classes from Damien Memorial High School here Sept. 12 to demonstrate new technology in waste disposal. Approximately 25 students and faculty members from the Honolulu school saw the Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) in action and learned how this prototype process could someday help the Marine Corps with waste management at small bases in austere and isolated environments.
The MAGS reduces solid waste by as much as 95 percent; because the waste is not incinerated, it dramatically reduces the carbon dioxide produced by the processing. Additionally, gases created by the process can be used to help keep the system running, making it very environmentally friendly and fuel efficient.
The MAGS is being looked at as a small-scale waste management solution.
“Our focus is on the use of MAGS for the forward operating base (FOB) or other remote training areas and austere environments,” said Donn Murakami, the MARFORPAC Science Advisor. “Disposing of trash by using a burn pit is not clean, efficient or environmentally friendly. By using a system like MAGS, we can take care of the needs of a force, up to battalion size, in a much better way.”
Using MAGS, a large bag of garbage can be reduced to an ash-like reside filling less than half a baby food jar. That residue is being looked at for use in landscaping or as an additive to paving asphalt. Additionally, metal and glass are left sanitized and ready for recycling.
This MAGS system, currently the only one in the United States, is undergoing testing here, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.
The students spent almost an hour being briefed on the MAGS process and watching it in action. This type of interactive learning program has ramifications for both the students and the nation.
“As part of the Department of Defense's larger effort in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), MARFORPAC is sharing some of its projects in new technology with high school students in Hawaii,” said Murakami. “The U.S. produces fewer scientists and engineers than other nations, and that can have a long-term effect on our competitiveness and technological edge if we don't change the trend.”