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Forums > Social Chat > Oil from garbage, for real this time?!

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Location: Stillwater, OK
Member Since: 27th Sep 2002
Total posts: 104
Posted:This could be utterly revolutionary, effecting just about everything in the world.

Oil from garbage.

Certainly stories of this sort of thing (remember the car that runs on water) have been circulating for years, but apparently this has some serious meat on it; Changing World Technologies will be bringing its first production facility dedicated to producing refined gas from garbage online in a few weeks.

While this one plant is a humble beginning (producing 500 barrels of oil a day compared to OPC's sever hundered thousand- maybe millions, I'm not sure) it is perhaps the beginning of a serious answer to a lot of problems.

First of all, the process produces no pollutants (granted burning that gas polutes, but that's besides the point, we're talking about the process) that alone is amazing. Second it reduces a serious ecological problem: landfills. According to estimates, even if the plants only took in a modest amount of American agricultural waste they would still be producing more than enough oil to keep us off OPC........ good lord.

Which brings me to my third point, a serious point that could drastically effect so many things in the world; if American dependance upon foreign oil is broken the entire political landscape changes, for the better IMHO. With the knowledge that OPC countries hold no power over us, American foreign policy could actually stand for something. Rather than take crap from countries that despise us and extort the hell out of us we could sit back and tell them they're on their own. We could seriously stand with Israel in the event of war. The motivations for supporting despotic regimes in places like South America, Africa, and the Mid East would be completely removed.

My mind is doing lopp-de-loops at all the prospects, but I've been babbling long enough, go have a look at this stuff for yourself.

First, the company itself

This is where I first heard of this..... yes, Fox News..... try not to hold that against me or this possible miracle of tech. Sadly this isn't an article, I'll go looking, jsut a mention in the programming really

No one knows me like I do.


Location: Brisbane
Member Since: 9th Apr 2003
Total posts: 3044
Posted:yay! for once a topic that a chemical engineering student can talk about! at this current stage, and with the results of a pilot plant built somewhere in the US - i seem to recall it processes something to do with turkeys?, anyway, it does seem to be working very well.

the website has most likely been writtten by the marketing department and so doesnt really give much info on how it works, so ill give it a go. you can probably find a near identical description elsewhere, but im feeling motivated at the moment.

the technology behind it focuses on a process called thermo-depolymerisation process [TDP]. which sounds cool but is nothing really new - all they are doing is cranking up the temperature and pressure. the reason that many plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene - used everywhere from your milk cartons, chairs, and your stripy thermal jumper, are very hard to recycle cos theyve been mixed with a whole heap of crap during the production process. plastics are of similar structure to petroleum (gasoline for the USAians), only plastic molecules are about 5000times longer than petrol molecules. by heating them under pressure, a process called 'cracking' begins, whereby the long chain polymer molecule snap into smaller molecuels . this continues until you want it to. they already use this process to turn heavier longer chain fuels such as our beloved kerosene, into our also beloved shorter chain lighter [mass] fuels such as the more valuble lamp oil. TDP pretty much takes it to a new level. thats how it can handle complicated large molecules and turn them into petroleum.

organic matter is very similar. both plastic and organic matter is carbon based - plastic comes from oil in any case which comes from decayed compressed organic matter from millions of years ago. so, just as before, the incredible complicated carbon based molecules and structures are broken down into simpler carbon based molecules.
combined with all the organic matter is shiteloads of water, but by boiling the water, the resultant steam generated pressure and help the TDP reaction even more.
most of the heavier metals are still solids/slrry residues and are easily separated. the rest of the stuff is separated into water/oil etc by a standard industrial distillation process.

at initial view, the process seems to have fantastic potential. the process is straight forward, the capital outlay is small relative to other industrial site, and mostly importantly it can handle both organic, synthetic, and inorganic substamces.
thats all i can remember about it at present. if your so inclined to gamble, 'changing world technologies' is probably a good bet.

the most remarkable thing is that no-ones come up with this earlier!!!

ok now, ill turn the inner nerd inside me off and go and post silly comments in the other topics.

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

Aurora (1/2 a firesister)
Location: Canada, Ontario, Toronto
Member Since: 4th Jan 2002
Total posts: 249
Posted:I met a guy who ran his car on vegtable oil instead of gasoline. He said that Diesel engines originally ran on vegetable oil and were only later converted to use gasoline. He said it's pretty easy to convert it right back.

Om Namah Sivaya


HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA
Member Since: 11th Jul 2002
Total posts: 729
Posted:Is that the Atkins Diet for deisel cars?

What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.


Location: Brisbane
Member Since: 9th Apr 2003
Total posts: 3044
Posted:hmmmm. but that doesnt give an indication of whether vegetable oil burns with more efficiency or emissions compared to petrol. not sure that theres any environemental advantage in widescale vegetable oil combustion. where do you get all the vegetable oil from?

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