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Will Pitt's Truthout Blog discusses bio-mass oil (Thermal Depolymerization

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:38 PM
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Will Pitt's Truthout Blog discusses bio-mass oil (Thermal Depolymerization

Turning Turkey Guts and Pig Effluent into Light Oil, Methane, Pure Water, and Carbon.

A 20 million dollar plant in Carthage Missouri is now turning 200 tons of turkey offal per day into 500 - 600 barrels of light oil, plus some methane, pure water and some minerals and carbon. The process for doing this, called thermal depolymerization, can use any feedstock that contains hydrocarbons -- and produces absolutely no dangerous byproducts. Old tires, PVC, medical waste, almost all the stuff that currently clogs up our landfills or is otherwise difficult to dispose of can be turned into useful products with this process. In the case of turkey offal the conversion efficiency is roughly 85%, and the methane produced from the process can power the entire plant, with some left over. Plastic waste has a much higher conversion efficiency. Moreover, the reclaimed carbon can be sequestered to remove it from atmospheric systems, thus aiding our global warming problems by significantly reducing greenhouse gasses. When the oil so produced is burned it adds no net greenhouse gasses because those gasses were originally converted into hydrocarbons by sunlight and were never fossilized. The system is simply recycling existing resources and could be looked upon as being solar powered by nearly current sunlight, whereas fossil fuels represent sequestered ancient sunlight and a very different ecological balance.<snip>

There have been articles in Discover, National Geo, USA Today, and short story on Discovery Channel. Con Ag and DOE have funded things so far. But why is MSM ignoring bio-mass oil at $60-80/barrel but no costs of finding. The former high processing costs, low yield, impurity of yield, high energy input requirements, and other problems are now gone as Appel claims to have developed an efficient TDP process that is self-fueling and has a high-quality, high-volume yield, according to feedstock. This report ("Thermochemical Conversion Of Swine Manure To Produce Fuel And Reduce Waste", by Zhang, Riskowski, and Funk ), bis a laymen readable description of the process as undertaken by the authors, as well as information regarding the need for such a process and the results of other experiments.

Destroying ANWR, or looking under the sea, or extracting oil from shale is much more costly "exploration" than taking municipal waste and farm waste to make oil, albeit at $60 per barrel with free bio-mass waste - $80 per barrel if you are charged for turket waste as at the Carthage Demo-plant. Here we have transition to a non oil economy that cleans up leaky landfills, desposes of waste, provides water - and no media reports on it. Last year the 30 million dollar Con-Agra/CWT Carthage plant began selling its output to a Midwestern manufacturer, which buys it for roughly $40 a barrel (25% less than conventional fuel) and uses it to run its plant with the Carthage factory now producing 400 barrels a day.

Heck even the DOE report that the demo-plant in Carthage as of February, 2005 (per received an economic setback as folks are now charging 30 to $40 per ton for turkey waste that was thought would be free after mad-cow - but turkey waste under Bush is still allowwed to be used as cattle feed - making the final cost $80 a barrel (compared to $60 with "no charge for turkey waste" oil) and uneconomic compared to conventional diesel selling for about $50 a barrel, has not been in the media.

Thermal Conversion Process (TCP) -Thermal Depolymerization.
A negative comment as to quanity that can be produced
other comments / /,13026,96... /

Promising Renewable Energy Source Excluded from New York State Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard
Keyspan Advocates for Thermal Conversion Process 6.30.2004
Julie Gross Gelfand
HLD/Blankman Public Relations
(516) 536-6811

West Hempstead, NY, June 30, 2004 -- A technology hailed by the scientific community as one of the most promising new sources of renewable energy in the world today has been excluded from New York State's proposed Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a guideline designed to increase to 25% the amount of electricity purchased in the state that is generated from renewable sources. KeySpan Corporation, one of the state's largest utilities, has appealed for a broader definition of eligible renewable energy sources, to include the organic process developed by Changing World Technologies (CWT) to produce a sustainable source of high grade oil and natural gas from agricultural residue and animal waste.

The New York State Public Service Commission released its Recommended Decision (RD) defining eligibility for RPS on June 3. Eligible under the RD are wood-based sources of biomass; as well as biogas derived from landfills, sewage and manure digestion; fuel cells; and hydroelectric, solar, tidal and wind sources. Absent from the list are plant, animal and landfill-based sources of renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.

In its brief, KeySpan states: "Agricultural and animal waste are viable biomass sources, and the process developed by CWT is environmentally benign and carbon-neutral The exclusion of animal waste and other organic materials as eligible biomass sources appears arbitrary in light of the fact that animal and other organic waste, unless otherwise disposed of, will end up in landfills, and landfill gas is eligible for main-tier incentives. There is also an inconsistency in that animal manure is an eligible biomass source, but offal is not broadening the definition of eligible biomass sources to include offal and other organic waste, the Commission will increase the likelihood of meeting the RPS targets and improving the state's economic and energy security."

Scientific Support In December 2003, Scientific American magazine named Changing World Technologies the most important energy company in America, as part of its annual Scientific American 50 issue. The Scientific American 50 recognizes the singular accomplishments of those who have contributed to the advancement of technology in the realms of science, engineering, commerce and public policy.

Other scientific journals, from Discover magazine to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review, have also hailed CWTs technology called Thermal Conversion Process (TCP) -- as one of the most important new sources in sustainable energy development.

Discover reports in its July 2004 issue, Out of 100 Btus in a given unit of feedstock, only 15 Btus are used to power the process, with the remainder residing in oil, gas and chemicals. Most important, the oil produced in these tests easily meets the specifications for diesel fuel.

About TCP CWT's Thermal Conversion Process is a method of reforming organic waste into a high-value energy resource, without hazardous emissions to the environment. The first refinery utilizing TCP to produce and sell oil commercially commenced operation in Carthage, Mo., in May under a joint venture between CWT and ConAgra Foods.

Because TCP utilizes above-ground waste streams to produce a new energy source, it also has the potential to arrest global warming by reducing the use of fossil fuels, and to create a means of energy independence by reducing U.S. reliance on imported oil.

TCP succeeds in breaking down long chains of organic polymers into their smallest units and reforming them into new combinations to produce clean solid, liquid and gaseous alternative fuels and specialty chemicals. The process emulates the earths natural geothermal activity, whereby organic material is converted into fossil fuel under conditions of extreme heat and pressure over millions of years. It mimics the earths system by using pipes and controlling temperature and pressure to reduce the bio-remediation process from millions of years to mere hours.

The process entails five steps: (1) Pulping and slurrying the organic feed with water. (2) Heating the slurry under pressure to the desired temperature. (3) Flashing the slurry to a lower pressure to separate the mixture. (4) Heating the slurry again (coking) to drive off water and produce light hydrocarbons. (5) Separating the end products.

TCP is more than 80% energy efficient. In addition, it generates its own energy to power the system, and uses the steam naturally created by the process to heat incoming feedstock. In addition, TCP produces no emissions and no secondary hazardous waste streams.

Said Brian Appel, Chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, "New York State is one of the largest importers of foreign oil in the U.S. New York should have a vested interest in supporting the RPS eligibility of a sustainable domestic energy source that meets every criteria for environmental responsibility. The Biomass Eligibility working group, which formulated the definition of eligible renewable sources in this category, was dominated by special interests that excluded every viable and environmentally responsible biomass source other than wood. The Public Service Commission still has an opportunity to broaden the definition to be more inclusive, and we are hopeful they will make the right decision."

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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Any info in there on the total viable capacity if the industry were
running at full speed across the country? And is the industry sustainable as more and more biomass is needed and used?
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. We, consumers, would be producing it as we waste.
That's the kicker. That, and the process is scalable. There's a lot to be said for that.

I have visions of flatbed mobile refineries picking up trash at the curb and dispensing several types of fuel for a small fee. Of course, there's only so much that comes from whatever trash, so that may not be anything we'd ever see.

still, the process connects to existing refinery equipment easily enough that Big Oil is apparently interested in the idea. Our first source of fuel for the TPD process would be landfills, of course, as well as agricultural waste and- yes- perhaps human waste as well.

Imagine hooking up all the mation's major sewer systems to TPD plants. How much fuel could we generate from the daily excrement of, say, a million people?

It's a serious question now, and the potential is exciting. I don't think a study has been done on that yet, though... this is a fairly new development.
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MrMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Laugh you may
Sewage treatment produces a lot of biological solids (dead micro-organisms) that must be disposed of. Best practice at this time, IIRC, is to store the stuff in digesters until enough biomass is destroyed that the stuff won't rot. A bit of what remains might be used as fertilizer, but most of it is landfilled. TPD offers a better solution: dewater (which is done anyway) and render the solids into fuel.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. Pig manure
is actually a much bigger problem than people manure in the US.

Being able to "recycle" pig manure into something useful would solve a huge water pollution and air-quality problem.

Most small municipal wastewater treatment plants just don't produce the volume of sewage to make a system like this feasible. There's also the problem of heavy metals in people manure, sorry to say. Once the effluent is dewatered and digested, the residue left over is pretty much toxic waste.

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Huge claims - but first link says no - but major impact obvious -if we
want it.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. Not only do the conservatives want to preserve . . .
the status quo wrt oil production and exploration, they don't want any shifting of production to OTHER producers. It's very personal. Joe Schmo contributed to my campaign, Joe runs a big oil company whose income depends on existing infrastructure, therefore we have to BURY anything that operates outside that infrastructure.

These guys don't want to have to invest in all the capital equipment it would take to truly develop biomass. That would wreck all their profits! No - they have an intense vested interest in drilling/refining heavy crude. It's a battle to the death.

Of course, if they were at all intelligent, they'd buy up these interlopers as soon as they become publicly available, then do some "analysis" and determine they are not economically feasible. But that cuts into profits, too. So what to do, what to do?

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Skip Intro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. Absolutely disgusting and unethical - offal

n. Waste parts, especially of a butchered animal.
n. viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans

Its dead animal parts.


Would it lead to raising animals to slaughter for fuel?

I'm sorry, we need alternative energy sources, but good Lord, this turns my stomach.
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. They're talking about ag waste
and leftovers from commercial food plants. And yes, something should be done with the offal; one could say it's disrespectful to the animal to not make as much use of its body as one could.

If you're going to kill it, use all of it. Don't waste anything, if possible.

I think there's a Native American belief in there somewhere, by the way. Something about respecting the animal's spirit or something like that...
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. currently that is what is in your cattle feed - hence your steak or McD
Edited on Sat Mar-26-05 01:01 PM by papau
but human shit and fertilizer run off now in municipal waters can also be used in this process (but at higher cost per barrel of oil) - and you get clean water!

Indeed the Philly plant has gone as far as developing the best recipes for various kinds of waste input!
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amandabeech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Something has to be done to dispose of offal unless everyone
becomes vegan.

Now, most of it goes to a renderer to be recycled into various products, including tallow and other organic substances used in cosmetics, bone meal and protein meal used in pet foods and animal feeds. Some of these products are valuable, and if animals are not now raised solely for these purposes, I don't think that many animals will be raised solely to make oil.

The problem with rendering is that the protein meal from cattle, sheep, goats, deer, elk, etc. may contain prions associated with mad cow disease and its variants. Processing the offal from these animals through thermal depolymerization allegedly destroys the prions so that they do not make their way back into the food chain.

When this plant was built, it was thought that protein meal from rendering would not be allowed in animal feed, thus making offal virtually worthless. Those regs did not come to pass, and TDP processing for offal may not have a great future here unless regs change.

Frankly, I was surprised that the TDP plant was built to process turkey waste rather than cattle waste, since cattle waste is the most dangerous. I recall reading that Changing World has some prospects in Europe where protein meal cannot be fed to animals and, I believe, there are other restrictions on products of rendering to keep down the spread of mad cow.
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. Could never lead to raising animals for slaughter for fuel
There's no way that such a practice would lead to more fuel than it uses in the process.

That's why they use byproducts of slaughter for other purposes.
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RubyCat Donating Member (334 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
11. The feedlot below could sure benefit from this.
It's amazing how much manure can be produced at a feedlot. The photo is of an actual mountain of smoldering manure.


Burning Manure Pile in Nebraska Finally Extinguished After Nearly Four Months
The Associated Press

Feb. 23, 2005 - It took nearly four months, but to the relief of neighbors miles around, a burning manure pile has been extinguished.

David Dickinson, owner and manager of Midwest Feeding Co., said Wednesday that several weeks of pulling the 2,000-ton pile apart proved effective by late last week.

"We got far enough through it, that it quit," Dickinson said.

Dickinson's feedlot, about 20 miles west of Lincoln, takes in as many as 12,000 cows at a time from farmers and ranchers and fattens them for market.

Byproducts from the massive operation resulted in a dung pile measuring 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide. Heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile is believed to have eventually ignited the manure.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality told Dickinson that his smoldering dung pile violated clean-air laws and it worked with him as tried to extinguish it.

Huge feedlots have become commonplace, and dung fires have occurred around the country.

Dickinson said his pile may have been ignited in part because of grass clippings his feedlot had been accepting from the city of Milford. The clippings could be more combustible and he plans to stop accepting them, Dickinson said.

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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. And I Though Our pResident Was The Worlds
biggest pile of burning shit.
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Squeech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
13. Selling points
Imagine if you could trade in your old, bald tires and get a gallon of gas in exchange.

Right now tires are hard to dispose of-- landfills are full of them, and they have to be buried immediately otherwise the insides fill up with rain water, which in season becomes mosquito breeding grounds. Plus they're flammable-- lots of city dump fires get out of control on smoldering discarded tires (which in turn spews particulates into the atmosphere). Reclaiming the hydrocarbons from them is a humongous win-win.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
14. Combustion. Not good.
With six billion, combustion is not going to work. It's the population, "stupid". We are now working around the elephant in the livingroom. As long as there are this many people, we can no longer burn "campfires" to convert our energy. Yes, it's renewable. So what. The real issue is much bigger than melting ice caps. It's the population. And until people start catching on to that, we will not emerge from our energy problem, without serious complications. Even fusion isn't free. Photovoltaic could help. But it's the numbers.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
15. Pulse enhanced steam reforming of wood pulp waste
Edited on Mon Mar-28-05 06:19 PM by LiberalEsto
I wrote an article in 2002 for Gas Technology magazine on the StoneChem plant in Baltimore, MD, which takes a nasty, polluting residue called black liquor from pulp mills and turns it into syngas and usable chemicals. There are a lot of companies researching ways to turn different materials into combustible fuels.

StoneChem, as of 2002, was installing this technology at paper mills in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, and in Big island, Virginia.

The same issue included an article I wrote on a flash-drying technology that turns waste items like chicken feathers and potato peels into usable protein for pet foods, or materials for construction. You can find both articles at

The day is approaching when we will be able to convert all sorts of garbage into useful materials or fuels. It reminds me of that food-making machine on Star Trek: Next Generation. "Tea. Hot. Earl Grey."

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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
17. Well, with the cost of synthetic fertilizers now shooting up rapidly
Expect to see a lot more of that animal waste used to fertilize fields rather than be cheaply available for fuel generation. We're between a rock and a hard place: make fuel or make food.
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