Tuesday, April 25, 2017

USNA Midshipmen Work to Produce Renewable Energy from Everyday Waste

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

A class at the U.S. Naval Academy is working to convert what we think of as everyday garbage into usable energy, a project that supports the Navy’s energy independence goals and potentially changes the way we view waste.

The average American throws away five pounds of trash each day which adds up to 258 million pounds of waste each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2014 more than 89 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were recycled and composted, the highest percentage recycled in the U.S. to date. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, 136 million tons of MSW still ended up in landfills.

 But it turns out, through emerging process in which this waste is collected and process, landfills could be a valuable source of renewable energy.

Patrick Caton, a USNA Mechanical Engineering professor, and the students in his Waste-To-Energy Conversion class are attempting to determine just how much energy can be harnessed from everyday waste.

“This class is about engineering systems that can turn anything that we might consider to be waste into a usable energy source,” said Caton. “We try to take a broad view of waste. The obvious thing people think of when they hear waste is trash, but very quickly I hope students learn to view that more broadly.”

They first collect and sort waste into different categories. They then estimate how much energy each category of trash can produce by weighing it. The samples are then sent to an external lab for further testing, where they will be analyzed by first drying the waste to determine its moisture content, and then put into an oven where its mass loss is measured as it burns. With this information, the lab determines how much ash is produced as well as how much energy is released by measuring the amount of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen. The lab will then send the results back to the students to compare with their original estimates.

“We waste a lot of energy with trash,” said Midshipman 1st Class James Shadow. “Most people don’t do a whole lot of composting, and you can get a lot of energy out of that. You can get a lot of energy out of the trash that’s just sitting in the trash cans. That’s kind of enlightening.”

Using trash as an energy source is a gateway to a healthier environment and allows us to limit our use of fossil fuels, as well as reduce the cost of living.

“One of my goals for my students is to leave this class with a mindset … where the things that may have before been considered unusable or just complete waste actually have value,” said Caton. “I think that's a really important part of managing our energy going forward as a people, as an earth.”

Another project the class is working on is experimenting with food waste from King Hall, the dining facility for the Brigade of Midshipmen.

Midshipman 1st Class Scott Davids explained that by taking the food waste, grinding it up, adding some small bacteria to it and removing the presence of oxygen, an environment is created forcing the bacteria to produce gas. That bio-gas is about sixty to seventy percent methane.

The goal of this is to take decomposing food waste and collect methane to be used for energy.

“The benefit of these projects is getting midshipmen involved and showing opportunities for energy generation in the future,” said Davids. “This is something that is not only really applicable here to learn about in class, but also something that could play a part in our roles in the Navy.”

In 2009, then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued several goals directed at transforming the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) energy use. Among them were to increase total energy consumption from alternative sources to fifty percent by 2020 and reduce petroleum use in the commercial fleet by fifty percent by 2020.

This project provides yet another possible method for achieving those goals.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USNA Chef Wins United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award

The Naval Academy's Deputy Director of Retail Dining and Executive Chef Eric Lindstrom is one of eight foodservice professionals who won the United Fresh Produce Association's 10th Annual Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards.

These awards honor chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Winners will be honored guests at the United Fresh 2017 convention and trade show, June 13-15 in Chicago.

"I’m honored to be recognized by United Fresh and PRO*ACT as the 2017 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winner in the 'College & Universities' category and can’t wait to attend United Fresh 2017, see the latest innovations in fresh produce, and bring back new ideas to serve our guests at the Naval Academy," said Lindstrom.

These winners were selected from more than 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee's incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of food safety protocols for proper storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and recognition by their company and industry peers.

The winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. They also will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2017 trade show floor in the FreshMKT Learning Center on Thursday, June 15, and will be presented with their awards during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner that evening.

Monday, April 17, 2017

USNA Wins Annual NSA Cyber Defense Exercise

Congratulations to the Naval Academy's Cyber Security Team for winning this year's annual Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX), hosted by the NSA!

Cyber Security Team Members:
MIDN 1/C Lucas Foppe (Captain)
MIDN 1/C  Jordan Wilhelm
MIDN 1/C Danny Flack
MIDN 1/C Dennis Devey
MIDN 2/C John Trezza
MIDN 2/C Lamont Brown
MIDN 2/C Peter Hodapp
MIDN 3/C Anthony Dohse
MIDN 3/C Brandon Sipes
MIDN 3/C Doug Alpuche
MIDN 3/C Kristina Bodeman
MIDN 3/C Sam Teplov
MIDN 3/C Trent Meekin
MIDN 4/C Caroline Sears
MIDN 4/C Kevin Nguyen

The annual Service Academy CDX began in 2001 and is designed to sharpen the skills of the next generation of cyber warriors by having them work against NSA experts. USNA last won the event in 2015.

The Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise trophy will
return to USNA this year. USNA last held the trophy the CDX in 2015.

For the past several months leading up to the event, these 15 midshipmen and their counterparts from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy, and the Royal Military College of Canada have been preparing for the live competition by building and securing their own networks. During last week's competition, experts from NSA attacked each team's networks, while they attempted to detect and recover from those intrusions and attacks.

The USNA CDX victory comes with annual “cyber bragging rights” among the service academies and alumni in the cyber world where this event is recognized for its significance and difficulty, but also comes with an trophy (pictured above), which will return to Annapolis in the near future for a formal presentation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

USNA Ethics Team Wins Military Ethics Case Competition

The Naval Academy Ethics Team met with teams from West Point, Colorado Springs, the Coast Guard Academy, and Virginia Military Institute April 8 for the 4th Annual Military Ethics Case Competition.

During this competition, the teams each gave 20-minute presentations concerning the Farsi Island incident from January  2016, in which two U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boat crews were taken captive by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels. Some crew members behaved contrary to the Code of Conduct during their brief captivity.

The teams crafted curricular proposals, using the incident as case study material, for use at their home schools. These proposals would be used to help prepare junior officers for any such future encounters.  A panel of five judges, two from the USNA Class of 1964, one from Boeing corporation, another from First Command Financial Services, and another from the University of Maryland, considered the presentations and engaged each team in an intensive Q&A session after their presentations.

The Naval Academy team, consisting of MIDN 4/C Jonathan Corbin, 3/C Adam Biethman, 3/C Raymond Gerrety and 2/C Marieme Gueye, took first place for the second time in the four-year history of the competition.  The team from West Point took second place, and Air Force landed in third.

This event wraps a very successful year for the  USNA Ethics Team. They began the year taking first place in the Eller College of Management Business Ethics Case Competition held in Tucson at the University of Arizona, followed up in March with a second-place finish in their first visit to the Stetson University Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition in Deland, Florida, before hosting the Military Ethics Case Competition.

The team is generously funded by the USNA Class of 1964 and is coached by Dr. Shaun Baker of the Stockdale Center.

Video of the competition will be available soon on the Stockdale Center's YouTube page.