Now THIS I could really get behind - turn almost all our garbage into oil. Even though it's not an alternative fuel, this process serves double duty with the extra benefit of producing a cleaner end product.
(Follow the link to read the entire article)
No More Waste, No More Pollution, Plenty of Oil
[This article is reprinted from Discover Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 5, 5 May 2003]
In an industrial park in Philadelphia sits a new machine that can change almost anything into oil. Really. "This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built this pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri. "This process can deal with the world's waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming." Pardon me, says a reporter, shivering in the frigid dawn, but that sounds too good to be true.
"Everybody says that," says Appel. He is a tall, affable entrepreneur who has assembled a team of scientists, former government leaders, and deep-pocketed investors to develop and sell what he calls the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. According to Appel, waste goes in one end and comes out the other as three products, all valuable and environmentally benign: high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.
I assume this process is different from gasification because that's basically what they're describing, but they didn't really mention it specifically in the article. I'll have to research some but at first glance it seems to be that gasification only gives you the raw oil which stills needs to be converted to gas where the other process does both.
Gasification Technologies Council
Gasification offers the cleanest, most efficient method available to produce synthesis gas from low or negative-value carbon-based feedstocks such as coal, petroleum coke, high sulfur fuel oil or materials that would otherwise be disposed as waste. The gas can be used in place of natural gas to generate electricity, or as a basic raw material to produce chemicals and liquid fuels.
At any rate this brings up a very important point and one that could be a separate thread, WE ARE NOT RUNNING OUT OF OIL. The Nazi's were turning coal into oil during WWII.
Imagine if we would have put $400 billion into this technology...
Ultra-clean fuels from coal liquefaction: China about to launch big projects
July 22, 2002
Diesel Fuel News
Pending final government approvals, Shenhua Group -- China's largest coal producer -- just announced it aims to build a 50,000 barrels/day refinery to make ultra-low sulfur diesel and gasoline from direct coal liquefaction.
The $2 billion plant, to be built adjacent to coal mines at Majata, Inner Mongolia, will use coal liquefaction technology developed by U.S.-based Hydrocarbon Technologies Inc., (HTI) a division of coal-synfuels developer, Headwaters.
HTI developed the process in part with U.S. Department of Energy "clean-coal" liquefaction research in recent years, HTI president L.K. Lee told us in an interview. Shenhua spent the last five years evaluating technology options from vendors and conducting feasibility studies, before signing technology licenses with HTI last week.
Assuming that the Chinese government grants final approval, construction of Shenhua's first reactor train would start in early 2003, followed by plant start-up in 2005. A total of three licensed reactor trains would process about 12,800 tons/day of the local coal.
The finished fuels would be hauled from the plants in tank-cars via Shenhua's existing railroads adjacent to the mines. These trains already haul coal for later trans-shipment via watercraft to city markets.
Conspiracies aside, why are we being told about the doomsday fuel shortage when we have been able to turn coal into oil for 70 years?