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Turkey guts into oil

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12:56 PM ET (US)
 People- Any organic material,when heated to about 850f
 unzips the molecules,which will zipup again,as the energy
 level is reduced " cooled down ". The problems to be
 solved are the mechanics of handeling the chars,piches,
 and tars,which develope in the process. Water can be
 cracked to H&O,which will be part of the process.
 The CWT system at Carthage is a rendering plant. CWT will
 not gave out any information. Top secret-have recieved
 17 million from GOV and have no real " mass-energy "
SDavisPerson was signed in when posted
01:04 PM ET (US)
  Wow, I'm really enthused about the potential for this new technology. Just think - your local landfill can now be a NATURAL RESOURCE! But don't worry, Sierra Club and Greenpeace will be right there to stop the "drilling" of this established habitat for vermin.
SteelydanPerson was signed in when posted
10:14 PM ET (US)
I've got a really bad joke in reference to the fact that you could stick a person into this thing and to the film "Soylent Green". Ahem:

"Peeple...Thermal depolymerization machine oil is made out of Peee ple...Peee plllle...!"

Thank you. You're too kind. I'll be appearing at the Funny Bone all week...

Philip Shropshire
secret agent toastPerson was signed in when posted
06:05 PM ET (US)
That 'environmental accounting' thing has a partner that we use in the Architecture/design industry called 'total cost' or 'lifecycle', where basically you look at the total amount of energy something will consume over it's entire life. For example, common bricks are an environmental nightmare when looked at in this way, for they take a lot of energy to make; a lot of energy to transport; are not very strong (takes a lot to do anything), and you can't reuse them (structurally) & they take a lot of energy to dispose of.

Or, on the other hand, steel has a smaller 'total cost' than brick and is therefore somewhat more environmentally sensitive; it takes a lot of energy to make; Holds up a lot while using a little; is cheap to transport (due to small amounts go a long way & it's easy to move around); can be reused over and over; and can be disposed of easly. Heck, Buckminster Fuller thought that steel should be the 'coin of the relm', rather than the gold standard, because steel was infinately useful.

So, if it's possible for these Oil plants to be built and operated in places that are far away from major refinerys, there is less transport cost; also if they can be used to process/recapture something that was prevously waste, then your reducing the 'total cost', for that was something that you had to use energy for to get rid of.

It's an interesting way to look at things in the world; for, 'total cost'-wise, my 1968 Coronet is more environmentally sensable than a new SUV. SUV: takes a TON of energy to make, gets poor gas milage, very complex to make, very complex replacement parts (big tires, complex alloys & plastics), hard to fix (just wait until all those electronics start to give up), short life span (5-10 years), very hard to get rid of (alloys and plastics hard to recycle). Coronet: Took a lot less energy to make, gets same to better gas milage as an SUV (I get 20 mpg on the hyway- and that will go up once I get the headers on!) very simple design, very simple replacement parts, very simple to fix, long life span (30+ years), very easy to get rid of (other than the seats & dash, everything left is easly recyclable- it's all steel or rubber!).

It's not the whole picture; but it's a fun way to think about thing's total impact, energy-wise, on the world. :)
SakushaPerson was signed in when posted
05:08 PM ET (US)
Hmm.. I'm not sure I belive it's "adding a slower rate" but I'll have to think a little more deeply about the ecocycle and see if it adds up. This is sort of like "environmental accounting" which is a new method of applying double-ledger bookkeeping to chemicals used in manufacturing processes. If the books don't balance, if the quantity of chemicals-in doesn't exactly equal chemicals in the final products, you're leaking pollution into the environment. It's a brilliant idea.
MMD, I didn't know that city gas was methane, I thought it was LP gas. See, there's already a methane infrastructure in place!
SmoothPerson was signed in when posted
09:45 AM ET (US)
Shakusa, you are right. The carbon is not being reduced using the new process, it's just that it's no longer being increased. We are currently adding carbon to the ecosystem by pumping oil up out of the deep underground reserves. With the new process in place, we will be pumping less oil from the ground and therefore adding carbon to the ecosystem at a slower rate.
Edited 04-17-2003 12:34 PM
MeatMyDemandsPerson was signed in when posted
09:29 AM ET (US)
The stuff piped into houses is methane. LP is used when you cannot get that service and have to store cooking/heathing fuel in a tank in the yard.
SakushaPerson was signed in when posted
06:51 AM ET (US)
Ringo, I don't understand how you claim this will reduce emissions. All we're doing is substituting one source of energy for another. It all ends up as greenhouse gases when you burn it. Methane is easy to transport, most houses in the USA have piped-in LP gas, it could just as easily be methane. Sure methane is expensive, unless you make it from sewage and then it's basically free. It isn't so efficient for cars, but there are plenty of methane-fueled car designs that work well enough. The 1960s Whole Earth Catalogs had huge chapters on the subject of Methane fuel, cars, home heating, electric power generation, etc. And that was just from a bunch of lotech hippie communes running the stuff.
I don't get your concept of removing carbon from the ecocycle. Carbon isn't being lost or destroyed, merely converted in form. It's either turkey guts in the landfill rotting and releasing CO2 slowly, or else it's oil in an engine burning and releasing CO2 quickly. Either way it ends up in the ecosystem.
RingoPerson was signed in when posted
05:06 AM ET (US)
Regarding the question of methane or oil: Gas fuels are expensive and difficult to capture and transport. This is why oil refineries burn off gases generated when refining oil.
Regarding the question as to how this process benefits the environment: the article suggests that by processing ALL agricultural byproducts in the US would result in 4 billion barrels worth of energy per year. That would mean 4 billion barrels of carbon-rich oil staying in the ground per year, rather than being released into the biosphere. The process would essentially recycle carbon which plants and animals have drawn out of the biophere.
The process is little more than the application of a little ingenuity to well-established technology. It is neither "bad science," nor particularly high-tech.
SakushaPerson was signed in when posted
03:33 AM ET (US)
jleader, you're right about the high concentration of heavy metals. They used to sell an "organic" yard fertilizer made from sewage, it was called Milorganite. It was eventually withdrawn from the market when they discovered it had extremely high levels of heavy metals.
But anyway, this all reminds me of seeing articles in the original Whole Earth Catalogs about sewage-to-methane systems. I don't see the point in this guy's hightech method for making long-chain polymer oil when all you really need to make is a simple hydrocarbon like methane for fuel. Lubricating oils are a miniscule market compared to energy-rich fuels, and burning methane works about as well as burning kerosine or fuel oil, if your engines are engineered right. Methane harvesters are a simple homebrew technology that has worked efficiently for many many years, it's about as high-tech as a compost pit.
red_fivePerson was signed in when posted
10:05 PM ET (US)
It's an amazing process, but after reading the article I am more resolved than ever to go vegetarian.

I'd like to see it put to use cleaning up human waste, most of which is basically just dried out and dumped into landfills.
Mark StroupPerson was signed in when posted
09:25 PM ET (US)
Was looking at the math and thinking that they will probably only produce 240 barrels of oil, instead of 600 barrels. (I'm basing calculations on turkeys having approximately same chemical composition as people.) Maybe ConAgra will be importing turkey guts so they can run the converter at capacity.

Even at capacity -- 600 barrels -- they probably will only make a half a million dollars a year. Not a great return but probably better than most mutual funds.

Then again if you otherwise had to pay to get rid of your turkey guts this would be an improvement.
secret agent toastPerson was signed in when posted
07:50 PM ET (US)
Funny side effect of this: if they really can produce Gas anywhere for less then it costs to mine-refine-transport it, and gas prices go down to what they were in the sixties, and I can afford as much gas as I want- then I'm gonna put a Hemi in my Mopar, and ditch the small-block. :D

But does that mean I'll have to eat more turkeys to contribute more carbon waste to the system to make up for my Hemi?
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
07:29 PM ET (US)
All we want from Turkey are their guts!
Sean O'LearyPerson was signed in when posted
07:26 PM ET (US)
I know Turkey voted against having the US use their country as a second front against Iraq, but liquidating them into oil is not my idea of fair play...
jleaderPerson was signed in when posted
07:22 PM ET (US)
Stefan, liquid pig waste is exactly what I thought of when I read this too.

I'm sure that says something (that I don't want to think about right now) about us!
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