Carl Vinson Sailors to Test Shipboard Waste Disposal System

Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maja Dyson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

Fourteen USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors returned from a 60-day trip to Montreal, Canada Aug. 30, where they tested, operated, maintained, and evaluated the Plasma Arc Waste Destruction System (PAWDS). PAWDS is a waste disposal tool currently being considered for shipboard use by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). The system has been under design and funded by the Navy for more than 12 years. The system can process approximately 6,800 pounds of typical Navy solid waste per day. Testing in Montreal was designed to successfully demonstrate the system's performance for an ongoing period of 60 days, in order to simulate a ship's partial deployment cycle. "Carl Vinson Sailors helped evaluate the PAWDS Engineering Development Model (EDM) with respect to performance, reliability, maintainability, human systems integration (HSI), safety, and manning requirements," said Chief Machinist's Mate Ola Lassley, who led the Carl Vinson test group to Montreal. Through its capacity to support the maritime industry, the Canadian based PyroGenesis company developed PAWDS, and has successfully demonstrated its performance on board commercial cruise lines. The company is now working with the Navy to explore the possibility of incorporating their systems on board Navy ships like USS Carl Vinson. PAWDS is designed to shred, mix, and incinerate trash by using an 800A direct current plasma arc system, producing only a minimal amount of ash.

"Carl Vinson Sailors were able to perform all required equipment cleaning, preventive maintenance (PMS), and troubleshooting during this testing period," said Lassley. "NAVSEA needed this information to ensure the PAWDS would operate efficiently during a long Navy deployment. This system could potentially replace the need for plastic waste processors and incinerators, resulting in an easier, more effective, and environmentally friendly method of disposing shipboard waste." Gary Alexander, lead engineer from NAVSEA, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock division, and Aida Kaldas, engineering director of PyroGenesis, expressed how gracious and professional USS Carl Vinson Sailors were during their trip. "These are the best Sailors we've ever seen," said Kaldas. "USS Carl Vinson's Sailors are fantastic. We train people from around the world on this system and Vinson Sailors applied the information better than any other Sailors we've trained here."

During the 60-day evaluation, Carl Vinson Sailors operated and maintained the PAWDS, processing approximately three tons of simulated shipboard waste on a daily basis. "By testing PAWDS, Carl Vinson Sailors were able to provide valuable feedback to NAVSEA for tech-support, operation, and PMS on the system," said Lassley. Alexander and Project Engineer, Henry Molintas, both described Carl Vinson Sailors' contributions while in Montreal as invaluable to their work. "USS Carl Vinson's test team was very enthusiastic and hard working," said Molintas. "The Sailors worked 12-hour shifts and were always on time and ready to go. They gave us valuable input on how to improve the system."

USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

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