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SpinnerofDetroit
GOLD Member since Oct 2009

SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA

Total posts: 2280
Posted:Ok, I saw someone post this on Facebook. And I believe this needs some exposure, what do you all think of this?




The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:idea worth spreading wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:It appears to be a small 'cracking' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracking_%28chemistry%29)chamber. One with only enough power to crack polymer chains (not the resulting hydrocarbons into smaller ones).

The amount of energy you need to put in must be huge. The heat and pressure control needed for this (it must happen in a vaccuum) is very energy intensive. These kinds of devices have been largely ignored for this reason. The unit couldn't make enough fuel to power itself therefore it is in constant carbon debt.

In larger cracking columns this effect is reduced due to ecomonies of scale. However it is still always going to be in carbon debt. Unless you can find an environmentally friendly way to power it (and remember you need a LOT of power) it is not an environmentally friendly device.

Also turning plastic into oil may be useful but it creates a huge problem. All that plastic that goes into landfill is not being made into CO2 (this era's hot topic). If you convert it to oil and burn it you are making the CO2 problem WORSE not better. The best thing to do with plastics is to recycle them into other solids to keep the carbon (if that it your current worry) captured.

It is a neat toy and serves a useful purpose but it is not a solution to the issue of plastics on a large scale on its own. Combine it with energy generated in a clean way (fusion, fission, solar, wind...) and then use the products to create new plastics rather than burning them and we might be on to something though.

EDITED_BY: Seye (1282643093)


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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:yep... theres no such this as a free lunch...

despite the claim, its not a particularly new technology - and making this viable large scale will inevitabley involve a whole different range of numbers for power, logstics, transportation, chemistry, environment etc etc.

Guys who work in labs dont always think of real world practicalities - but we always need new ideas.

Id be interested in seeing a lifecycle analysis of an upscaled operation.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Jered_Spins_Poi


Jered_Spins_Poi

Wolf
Location: Denver-ish Colorado

Total posts: 22
Posted:Originally Posted By: Dentrassiyep... theres no such this as a free lunch...

despite the claim, its not a particularly new technology - and making this viable large scale will inevitabley involve a whole different range of numbers for power, logstics, transportation, chemistry, environment etc etc.

Guys who work in labs dont always think of real world practicalities - but we always need new ideas.

Id be interested in seeing a lifecycle analysis of an upscaled operation.


+1


OH NO!!! I cant seem to think of anything "funny" and/or "wise" to put in my forum signature...NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! lol

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:and if the energy used for this machine would come from renewable sources like solar power?

after all we DO use oil/ petrol to fuel our cars anyway and (as he said) the carbon load on that oil/ petrol is huge either.

if that machine is fed with electricity from solar panels and generates oil/ fuel used in cars, then it would diminish the carbon load, wouldn't it?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:yes. to all your points.

but back of serviette guesstimate and conclusions often make huge assumptions...

in plant design, one looks at:
- Capital expenditure (CAPEX) - civils, piping, structural, earthworks, equipment, electical, control, man power construction, commissioning, testing, optimisation etc etc,
- Operating expenditure (OPEX) - water, energy, reagents, maintainance, control, environmental operating manpower, worker training, worker salaries, delivery & logstics of delivering feed stock, selling price of products, waste disposal, etc etc
- Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) - considers the local and greater impact of local resource consumption, labour hire, potential environmental issues from locality of plant, impact on community etc etc.
- Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the feedstock and the product - what is the full impact not just of the plant, but collecting, freighting feedstock and product, the impact of the product being consumed, recycled, the efficiency of downstream consumers of using said product, the process waste (id imagine lost of crud left in the reactor) etc etc etc

And theres a few more things no doubt which slip my mind. theres a few different approached to plant design... but its never like building a car from meccano and pressing the on switch at the battery.

a serviette calculation of a carbon balance might look appealing, but unfortunately a doesnt always translate to a viable operation which considers the full smorgasboard of social, environment, and economic matters.

But hey - im not dismissing it! if its a viable technology fantastic!

and thats enough talking about work for me ubbrollsmile

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1282724190)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:laugh3

*wonders how many good inventions are kept in the drawer until someone realizes a way of making an extremely huge amount of money on it (without getting shot by the PetroIndustry)*

wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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SpinnerofDetroit
GOLD Member since Oct 2009

SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA

Total posts: 2280
Posted:One thing is that if we do run low on petroleum it could keep say... kerosene on the market laugh3

But you know, I don't know too much about this stuff, I just saw that and felt it was an idea worth spreading and thought it fit well into the forum grin


The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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Fugee
BRONZE Member since Feb 2010

Fugee

Cooler than bubblegum!
Location: Dallas, Texas

Total posts: 2501
Posted:It is a great idea SoD. Now all that is needed is some imagination.

Imagine the day when our carbon output is at an acceptable enough level to implement this device for a greater purpose, eg. reducing the amount of plastic waste currently in our landfills and our oceans. Imagine the day that energy is cheap enough and renewable enough, that high powered devices such as this one are no longer unsustainable for the lack of one thing.

Reclamation plants for nuclear and toxic waste aren't energy efficient but they are inevitable by-products of our industrial lives.

This idea an offering on the table of a better world. It can be done if there is first, enough awareness, then the will to do it.


The popcorn extends life... The popcorn expands consciousness...

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTomlaugh3

*wonders how many good inventions are kept in the drawer until someone realizes a way of making an extremely huge amount of money on it (without getting shot by the PetroIndustry)*

wink

If it was profitable, the petrochemical industry would already be doing it. They have the design, construction, and operational expertise to make it all happen if there money involved... seriously these guys know how to make money.
However at present its significantly cheaper to process oil and gas sucked out of the ground.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 3044
Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTomand if the energy used for this machine would come from renewable sources like solar power?


Just remembered this question.

A petrochemical plant is not like a toaster, whereby if there no power, the toaster will sit there in eager anticipation and toast once again perfectly when power is restored.

The biggest problem with renewable sources and industry is that industry required constant energy supply. reactors, pumps, heaters, air conditioners, compressors, control systems, utilities, lights, emergency systems, coffee machine etc etc have to be operating continuously.

In the case, for a reactor operating at over 500oC, Id expect start-up to full operation to take over a full day. You have to heat reactors, pipework etc etc slowly to avoid crack/expansion/stress issues. Theres also going to be a specific shutdown sequence to protect the equipment.

one cannot simply press the big red STOP button, hang up the hardhat, and head home for the day to kiss the husband/wife/kids/gimp.

If one simply turn the power off, you will be left with an enormous plug of solid plastic/emulsed with distillate in your reactor and pipes. Ive seen this before when the shutdown sequence failed at a plastics factory. I also saw the workers in fully enclosed safety gear with breathing apparatus, being lowered with chainsaws into the reactor to cut the plastic out....

So to power using solar, you could:
1. Use solar during the day when sunny, and use mains power at night and on overcast days. But mains powers also has to be prepared for increased load, and ramp up slowly. Its not like calling the electrician to connect your house the power grid. Also then you have the infrastructure of both solar cells and mains power... which may offset any benefit from solar. thats where LCA comes in.

2. Use what is used for emergency power on site - diesel generators.... hmmmm

3. Install at least double the amount of solar cells you need to power on a normal days, and install battery banks to store excess power for night. Okay, a Prius battery has ~11kg of cobalt (wooo look at me, Im so smug I drive a prius, but dont even realise how hard and energy intensive cobalt refining is... but thats another topic)...

So thats a huge battery bank required to store energy. Heating requires a several orders of magnitude more energy than motion.

4. Or we could go to a batch wise operation like our Japanese friends in a lab.... but theres a reason large scale operations are all continuous processes rather than batch process - its a hell of a lot more efficient!
------

and thats the main reason why industry at present cannot rely completely on renewable resources. Hey it would be great if we could convert tomorrow to clean, green, renewable resources, but implementing it practically at present is a long way off.

EDITED_BY: Dentrassi (1282783283)


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Okay I got to split my answer up... (for those moderately interested in the topic only to read part one and three)

***
first part
***

Dentrassi smile I guess I'm getting the point you're making.. in a nutshell you're saying it's naive to claim that such machine could be powered by solar alone, given that it has to run 24 hrs - or at least until ALL the plastic is processed...

IF my assumption is correct then.... why not just put enough plastic in for a daytime of processing? No need to stuff it up - or to create a machine that is 20 stories high...

Do we know anything about the input/output ratio of this machine? We assume something we really have no idea of.

However, let's put it as if the amount of energy is "i" (for "insane x ")...


x tons of plastic + i = how many liters of fuel + tons of CO? x tons of plastic + i = how many liters of fuel + tons of CO?crude oil + i = how many liters of fuel + tons of CO?

This is the interesting part.

As to the industry: All machinery and process to retrieve and process oil is already in place. Unless forced, the industry has NO incentive to invest in new research and establishing this new technology.

I really am sorry, but I have lost my illusion that anyone involved in this industry wants to save the planet. They want to power it and make insane amounts of money in the process .

***
second part (sidenote)
***

apples vs. oranges

1998 till 2005 Germany had a socialist/green government.
It's environmental pretext made them deal with the 4 energy giants of Germany (EoN, Vattenfall, RWE and ....). The public wanted to get rid of nuclear power and shift to renewable energy sources.
They signed a contract, that nuclear power plants would have to shut down within 20 (or so) years. They even made it a law.
2005 we had a socialist/ conservative government and since
2009 we now have a conservative/ liberal government... *cough*

For some reason the energy companies seem not to have invested significant money into renewable energy so far, though their time is running up. They say: "We cannot guarantee the supply of electricity beyond nuclear power!" "We will have to buy electricity from France (nuclear power) or Czech Republic (nuclear power) and others (nuclear power) and it will drive the costs for electricity, thus stop economical growth!"

Now the government is offering them to get extension. They say "fine, but you'll get taxed." (estimated ~ 2.5 billion ). Industry says "NO WAY! In this case we will shut the reactors immediately! This is insane!" (they just made a combined profit of 9 billion in the first quarter 2010 alone)

Still nobody is forcing them to invest all profits into research and developing renewable energies... all the nuclear plants already have paid themselves off and it's pure profit (- operating costs).
They neither want they share the profit (as in "lower energy charges to the public/ industry")
nor do they want to give it to the government (which insanely would use it for consolidation of their budget)
STILL the tax payer has to spend money to make the landfills for nuclear waste s.a.f.e.

... let's talk about Gollume here wink

***
part three
***

If we would develop renewable energy, the CO footprint would get lower, we could afford to spend more energy for ... say refine plastic into petrol and fuel cars with it.

Because plastic is available in any landfill these days. It is there already, nobody has to dig it out of the ground anymore, it could become part of the recycling process.

It could save the environment from oil spill (and the British commission has just now realized that the number of leaks and accidents on British oil rigs has almost doubled over the past year... It could be one answer to the Gulf of Mexico.

Sorry if that came across like the ultimate wisdom... I'm sure I did some mistake in calculation or argumentation, didn't want to muffle you at all. Please, I'll be happy if you come back and tell me that it's all rubbish... Sorry for being kind of enthusiastic about the topic, in reality I don't t care for the environment and am only playing devils advocate devil

hug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I'd like to point out that this machine does not require plastic as a feedstock.

It can just as well use chicken guts, dog poop, and yard waste. And I bet that it could be used to MAKE plastic...


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Felex
SILVER Member since Jun 2009

Felex

Destroyer of worlds and ooo shiny.
Location: In my own head

Total posts: 268
Posted:Rant oops

To be honest at this time of night I havent read everyone posts.
I kind of like Span they subsisted solar. All present day power sources of electric are subsidised by are governments.
They guaranty a price, if they were not are bills would be far higher The US has a solar plant that produces electric far
cheeper than any other source, this is including nuclear
(they had to pay a huge amount first but now they have paid off there debts).
Mexico are building huge solar sights and by the way this thing is a 24 hour operation you can easily store the excess
heat to boil the water at night.

Enough solar radiation hits the earth in one hour to power the planet for a year easy.
With present Tec if you cover one percent of the planets desert you can power the planet. FACT

PS see my I should be posting this on drunk topic.


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