The Lunar Organic Waste Recycler can also be a valuable tool wherever organic wastes or other low cost biomass are available for conversion to synthesis gas. Corn stover, for example, is currently available commercially in large quantities for $40/tonne. If converted into synthesis gas, each tonne of corn stover can provide enough carbon monoxide and to make about 700 kg of methanol, which at current spot market prices would sell for about $200. Methanol is currently used as a major commodity in the chemical industry and could be used a motor vehicle fuel in flex fuel cars. The LOWR could similarly be used to transform other crop and forestry residues, as well as urban paper, plastic, and metabolic wastes into synthesis gas for production of methane or liquid hydrocarbon fuels via Fischer Tropsch processes. Thus LOWR technology could become the basis for highly profitable industries which make a significant contribution towards the vital national goal of freeing the nation from its dependence on foreign oil. The LOWR can be built on a modest scale making it readily transportable by truck, ship, or airplane. This makes it ideal for use in remote locations such as military outposts or third world villages which need to obtain fuel without ready access to ordinary commercial suppliers. Methane from remotely operated LOWR-derived units could be used to generate power in on site gas turbines, for motor vehicle fuel, or for cooking or other purposes
The LOWR can be a key component of the lunar exploration program by allowing available power sources to enable production of oxygen and fuel on a sufficient scale to significantly reduce Lunar base logistic requirements. Depending upon the rocket propulsion and transportation system employed, the fuel produced by the LOWR from recycled waste can comprise between 50% and 100% of a fuel required to operate a lunar ascent vehicle used to transport crew from the Lunar surface to orbit. The oxygen produced can also comprise a substantial fraction of all oxidizer required by a lunar ascent vehicle system, thereby minizizing further the propellant mass that needs to be transported at great expense from Earth, or alternatively, greatly reducing the mass and power requirements of a system designed to extract oxygen from lunar regolith. Therefore, the ability to produce fuel and oxygen in quantity on the lunar surface can have a major role in reducing total program costs. The LOWR is not limited to Lunar applications. It can be used on the Martian surface, or on any long duration piloted spacecraft, including the International Space Station or any deep space crewed vehicle used for example on human missions to Near Earth asteroids or Mars. In such latter applications it offers great advantages as a means of transforming crew wastes into useful propellants that can be used to enable station keeping, mid-course corrections, or other deep space maneuvers.