Reducing Opacity Using an Alternative “Green” Cutting Fuel MagneGas & Cold Cutting Technology at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF)

NCMS Project #: 140494

Problem: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) is the U.S. Navy’s designated site for breaking and recycling nuclear-powered ships and submarines.  In 2008, PSNS & IMF received a Notice of Violation (NOV) for exceeding the Puget Sound Clean Air Act (PSCAA) 20% Opacity Limit while using the no longer available methyl acetylene propadiene (MAPP) gas for metal cutting.  The main generator of visible particulate matter (PM) emissions was identified as oxy-fuel torching, the site’s primary metal cutting technology.  PSNS & IMF has since been searching for alternative or modification technologies to bring its shipbreaking and recycling operations under compliance.  PSNS & IMF was the first organization to actively address the need for opacity reduction during metal-cutting operations.

The ships are much larger than the submarines and cannot be contained by the currently installed enclosures, the short-term emergency remedy invested by the site.  It is expected that all cutting on ships must be performed outside.  Therefore, the advantage of zero emission is needed immediately in order to ensure no violation of opacity limit during the first stages of dismantling the ships.

Benefit: DoD will have a faster and more economical method for the environmentally responsible dismantling of their decommissioned ship fleet.

The environmentally improved technology being developed for DoD is applicable to private industry as well as the U.S. infrastructure is being rebuilt, which entails the use of the cutting technologies being developed in this initiative.

Solution/Approach: This initiative will evaluate MagneGas technologies to help minimize opacity at the source without compromising worker convenience, safety, or cutting efficiency.  This technology has the potential to be the alternative cutting solution that would keep PSNS & IMF in compliance of State and Federal Air regulations.

The purpose of this field demonstration is to validate MagneGas as an alternative metal cutting technology for reducing opacity emissions.

This project evaluates a cold cutting technology during shipbreaking and repair operations intended to reduce particulate opacity to less than 20% while maintaining worker safety and production schedules.

Impact on Warfighter: The goal is to maintain the Navy’s mission readiness without further violation of environmental initiatives and compliance goals.  As environmental compliance is part of the site’s mission goals, it can be argued that the funds are being used to ensure sustainability of its performance in shipbreaking and recycling.

DOD Participation:

  • PSNS & IMF
  • NAVSEA 04X
  • PMS 312
  • PMS 392

Industry Participation:

  • MagneGas
  • NCMS

Final Report