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November 11th, 2003


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09:16 am
anyone who hasn't read about this needs to do so now.
I remember hearing about it a while back, but they've really made a lot of progress on it now.
Trash to oil, minerals, gas, and water.

has not only the potential, but the likely effect of changing the entire world economy, power structures, environment, and a few other things along the way. All without putting people out much, or perhaps at all.
I won't babble anymore. *zips lips*
mood: hopefulhopeful

(6 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:jimmi_obadger
Date:November 11th, 2003 07:25 am (UTC)
(Link)
Wow. Just, wow. The conspiracy theorist in me refuses to believe in this.

On a different note, i found this jarring:

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.

What about water? The bulk of what this thing puts out is clean water, and the finacier doesn't even mentioned it when he lists the processes products? Of course, water doesn't fetch that high of a price. Not here, not yet.

Had i said "wow" yet?
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:November 11th, 2003 07:46 am (UTC)
(Link)
well the water is "Clean enough to dump into a municipal sewer system."
That doesn't exactly make me want to drink it.
Of course it would be trivial to dump that into a water purification system and have pure bottled water come out of the deal as well, but I suspect it wouldn't be price competitive with water pumped right out of the ground into bottles yet. Give it some time and it will be.
It will however help the local watertables in areas near these processing centers, the ground is quite capable of filtering the impurities out of this water.
and yeah, "wow" pretty sums it up. I remember when I first heard about this thing, it was an article on the guy who invented it, and he was running a little version of it in his garage processing donated turkey waste for anyone who showed an interest to prove the principles. he was just some tinkerer who came up with a novel way to process things to their constituent parts, and it's exploding out into the world in less than a year. 4 plants operating or under construction, many more to come soon.

The only major issue right now is that it has to be tuned to the specific junk being poured in. That makes it less viable for consumer garbage, but perfect for industrial waste where you know exactly what's in everything.
I predict that within a few years we'll have these processing facilities built in or near every large industrial building specifically tuned to that specific waste product. It's gonna take awhile before they can sort out a way to do consumer waste on a grand scale, but hopefully that won't be long.
*STOPS babbling, really.*
[User Picture]
From:jimmi_obadger
Date:November 11th, 2003 07:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
Huh. I wonder what will happen with the water when they start processing municipal sludge. I mean, if they're dumping the "waste" water back into the sewer, they'll just be sending it right back to themselves, no?

The end-stage water should be clean enough to drink. I mean, the sludge has been rent molecule from molecule and heated to five hundred degrees. That should take care of any microbes. The steam distillation would remove any other impurities. The water that's flashed off at the beginning is another story, of course.

It seems like household garbage should be consistent enough from ton to ton to be processable. Sure, it's a mixed bag, but so is a ground-up refrigerator.

I wonder, what will happen to all that fertilizer if this starts happening on a large scale?

*encourages further babbling*
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:November 11th, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)
(Link)
aight, now you did it. i'll open my mouth. hehe.

Huh. I wonder what will happen with the water when they start processing municipal sludge. I mean, if they're dumping the "waste" water back into the sewer, they'll just be sending it right back to themselves, no?
totally depends on the situation. Consider a storm drain, they usually empty out into a reservoir, river, or ocean if one's available. If they dump into that system it wouldn't be entering the sewer system, it would just reenter the local watertable.
Waste management facilities generally do some water purification before they end up with the sludge that is the majority of human waste, so even if that water is being passed back to the waste management facility it still wouldn't come back to the processing center.

The end-stage water should be clean enough to drink. I mean, the sludge has been rent molecule from molecule and heated to five hundred degrees. That should take care of any microbes. The steam distillation would remove any other impurities. The water that's flashed off at the beginning is another story, of course.
I totally agree, but if they're going to try to sell a food item, that leads to FDA requirements and approvals, extra licensing, extra scrutiny, etc. There are regulations on what else you can do at a food processing site, and I suspect that processing human waste would kind of negate any chance you have at getting a license to sell something as a food product. I would imagine that it has more to do with red tape than the water itself not being fit to consume. What I would expect at some point in the future is a direct pipeline to the bottled water company on the adjoining, but leagaly distinct, property.

It seems like household garbage should be consistent enough from ton to ton to be processable. Sure, it's a mixed bag, but so is a ground-up refrigerator.
Yeah, but unlike a ground-up refrigerator you don't know exactly what you're getting.
If I remember correctly from the first article I read, the guy was in fact processing all his household waste, but the system used a lot more energy for a lot less output due to the fact that there was no good way to fine tune the system for such a varied input. basically it's just a matter of efficiency, and a system is a lot more efficient if you can adjust for exactly what the inputs will be.

I wonder, what will happen to all that fertilizer if this starts happening on a large scale?
It'll put some mining operations out of business.
Most fertilizer at the moment comes from either mining or from processing industrial waste, like animal bones. This is a far more efficient way of processing industrial waste, so either existing companies will invest in the technology or will be driven out of business simply due to a lower cost of operation for these new thingies. The rest of the minerals come from mining, some smaller miners will probably drop out as a result, but there'll always be a need for some naturally derived minerals. It's not truly a closed system.

The same basically goes for the oil companies. There'll always be some need for naturally occuring oil, but hopefully we can diminish that well below it's current need. This would also greatly drop the relevance of the middle east in international politics, and might very well solve some problems over there. Course it could just cause worse problems in the middle east, but you can say that about anything these days.
[User Picture]
From:axessdenyd
Date:November 11th, 2003 09:20 am (UTC)
(Link)
Maybe we'll put some of them a-rabs out of business.

Huzzah!

...or something.
[User Picture]
From:squidia
Date:November 11th, 2003 11:04 am (UTC)
(Link)
yeah, i read this same article (or something very close to it) early this year, and was totally totally psyched about the future, for a change.... hopefully, the financial and "homeland security" benefits of this techonology will be attractive enough to the Man(even if conservation of resources is not) to make funding and support happen.
anyone who hasn't read about this needs to do so now. I remember… - another LJ. or: how i learned to stop worrying and love this life-thingy

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