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Transforming Waste Plastic Into $10/Barrel Fuel

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the mr.-fusion dept.

Earth 315

Mike writes "Today Washington DC-based company Envion opened a $5 million dollar facility that they claim will be able to efficiently transform plastic waste into a source of oil-like fuel. The technology uses infra-red energy to remove hydrocarbons from plastic without the use of a catalyst, transforming 82% of the original plastic material into fuel. According to Envion, the resulting fuel can then be blended with other components, providing a source for gasoline or diesel at as low as $10 per barrel."

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315 comments

And In Other News (-1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447975)

And in other news, a new law was finally passed making it legal to beat fraudsters to death with copies of their SEC filings.

In the future... (5, Insightful)

dch24 (904899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448069)

We will be mining the great pacific garbage patch [wikipedia.org] to get fuel for our SUVs.

Re:In the future... (-1, Troll)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448089)

Nice advertisement, Slashdot!

Too bad, you weren't paid. :-(

Re:And In Other News (5, Informative)

proudfoot (1096177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448107)

And in other news, a new law was finally passed making it legal to beat fraudsters to death with copies of their SEC filings.

RTFA: This company has already built a facility, and has already landed a contract for the fuel. They are using a well known technology, just with a slightly different take (IR instead of chemical catalysts). This doesn't exactly look like vaporware to me.

Re:And In Other News (2, Insightful)

netruner (588721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448377)

What you don't see is the truckloads of snakes that are being brought in through the back door. That's where the oil is likely going to come from.

Call me a skeptic, but when someone starts talking about $10/barrel oil made from trash, well let's just say we have a saying here in Missouri: "Show me".

Re:And In Other News (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448603)

Alright, I've left the wife's tupperware in the microwave for 12 hours now, and nothing is happening. What gives? RTFA AGAIN!! Oh, wait - IR, not microwave. Hmmmm. It's gonna take a long time with this little 'mote control thing, isn't it? I need a bigger 'mote....

Google "remote control infrared" - no, nothing there, how about "Huge remote control inrared" - hmmmm, one more time: "FUCKING HUGE REMOTE CONTROL INRARED"

Ahhh, screw it [flickr.com]

Re:And In Other News (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448805)

It's not exactly 10$ a barrel.

The plastic was made for a purpose and sold accordingly. The fact that it is now worthless junk is just because it has no additional purpose. That 10$ a barrel will go up when you are buying people's plastic!

Re:And In Other News (1, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448867)

That 10$ a barrel will go up when the oil companies buy up all the technology to bump up the prices and protect their profits!

Fixed that for you.

Re:And In Other News (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448927)

I'd be curious to know the price of plastic purchased from recycling facilities, you know, those that collect the plastic that we put in our recycling bins,

Re:And In Other News (2, Funny)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448509)

And in other news, a new law was finally passed making it legal to beat fraudsters to death with copies of their SEC filings.

RTFA:

This company has already built a facility, and has already landed a contract for the fuel. They are using a well known technology, just with a slightly different take (IR instead of chemical catalysts).

This doesn't exactly look like vaporware to me.

So the hydrocarbons come off as a liquid?

*rimshot*

Thanks all, I'll be here all week! Remember to tip your waitress!

Re:And In Other News (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448659)

yeah I know and on slashdot....

Re:And In Other News (4, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448137)

And in other news, a new law was finally passed making it legal to beat fraudsters to death with copies of their SEC filings.

As much as I hate fraudsters and vaporware, they actually opened the facility (RTFA required)... time will tell if it's working, but it's not vapor or pie-in-the-sky... it's here.

Re:And In Other News (0, Flamebait)

twostix (1277166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448541)

And in yet more news smug ignorant Slashdotters a little too eager to show off their self proclaimed intellectual superiority end up look like basement dwelling comic book guys when it comes commenting on anything outside of the world of computers.

More at 11.

Re:And In Other News (0, Troll)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448901)

In other news, most likely pushed by Big Oil activists, a new law was passed that bans the recycling and reuse of any plastic product.

sure we can (-1, Offtopic)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447979)

right sure you do

What can you actually do with 5Mil (3, Interesting)

cs668 (89484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448009)

That just doesn't seem like it will build much of a "facility"

Re:What can you actually do with 5Mil (1)

pitterpatter (1397479) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448335)

That just doesn't seem like it will build much of a "facility"

Well, the picture in TFA doesn't look like much of a facility. But why, oh why would anyone put an industrial facility of any kind in DC?

Wait, could this be more PR than process?

Re:What can you actually do with 5Mil (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448685)

There is a lot of DC that I've never seen, but I was wondering where they found those vacant lots with trees where they were able to set up a couple tractor trailer loads of tanks and catwalks. I'll check the yellow pages for propane/LNG wholesalers....

Re:What can you actually do with 5Mil (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448833)

You're absolutely right.

That aside, this seems too good to be true.

Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (5, Interesting)

reezle (239894) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448019)

I've been thinking of something like this factory, on a boat equipped with fishing nets processing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Wonder how much oil is in there?

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (4, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448169)

The Japanese and Norwegians are already working on freeing up all that oil trapped in Minke whales in the ocean (purely for research purposes, of course). :P

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448227)

And dolphins. I heard that they are omega-3 rich.

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (5, Funny)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448915)

And dolphins.

But they're intelligent!

Except for the ones that spend all their money on instant lottery tickets. They're stupid, so it's ok to eat them...

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448301)

And anchovies. Don't forget anchovies are the secret behind Mom's Old-Fashion Robot Oil, and they willon goion extinct around 2200.

http://theinfosphere.org/A_Fishful_of_Dollars [theinfosphere.org]

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448413)

I don't know, but here's hoping in 2020 we won't be hearing about the Great Pacific Oil Spill.

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (2, Informative)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448415)

According to TFA and Wikipedia, there could be about 1/2 billion barrels there.

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448537)

Great minds yo. Take an oil tanker, go process all that plastic in the ocean, come back and sell the product. Profit and environmental cleanup FTW

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448699)

I doubt that such a ship would be economical, BUT, a different approach would be to build small robotic solar powered skimmers (say 12'/4 meters or so). They could pick up the plastics (which is generally not that large) and then bring it back to a main ship. That main ship could then simply take from the skimmers and at least condense it down.

Re:Can we put one of these factories on a ship? (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448883)

Problem is that although the "Great Garbage Patch" does indeed contain quite a lot of refuse, it's spread over an enormous area (ie. 2x the size of the continental US). It's unlikely that collecting any meaningful quantity of garbage would be economical -- in fact, it would likely be quite expensive.

Remove Hydrocarbons from Plastic???!!!! (1, Informative)

flajann (658201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448023)

That's what plastic is made of!

Re:Remove Hydrocarbons from Plastic???!!!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448095)

That's what plastic and oil is made of!

Re:Remove Hydrocarbons from Plastic???!!!! (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448251)

That's what plastic is made of!

The summary left unsaid that it is the removed hydrocarbons that are retained, and the rest discarded.

Then the retained hydrocarbons (82% of the input) is reduced to an "oil product". Tfa linked to rather thin page which explained vary little.

Further digging at environ.com yielded this:

The reactor, a vital component of the unit, utilizes a heating system that converts plastic into oil through low temperature thermal cracking in a vacuum. Using this innovative approach, the Envion Oil Generatorâ produces oil and power safely, efficiently, and economically through an environmentally sensitive process that produces a net gain in energy recaptured.

A single Envion unit is capable of processing up to 10,000 tons of plastic waste annually, producing three to five barrels of refined petroleum product per ton of plastic waste.

Re:Remove Hydrocarbons from Plastic???!!!! (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448743)

Actually, there are many impurities in various plastics. PVC comes to mind. You really would rather not burn the chlorine (though it might be recycled for other items). There are others in there as well.

Re:Remove Hydrocarbons from Plastic???!!!! (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448803)

Well, it didn't say that. That actually would make sense. But the thing is is that plastic is composed of long polymerized chains of hydrocarbons.

So what? I have an idea for free heat! (0, Offtopic)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448027)

Well, if that oil is to be used to heat houses, why not use a district heating system attached directly to the Capitol Building? Then you'd get hot air for free!

Pyrolysis (4, Informative)

proudfoot (1096177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448031)

This isn't exactly something new, pyrolysis is a perfectly viable way of generating fuel. If you heat plastic enough - it decomposes into base hydrocarbons.

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448099)

I think the hard part would be in "enough", how do you heat it enough to depolymerize the matrix without heating it enough to get near/past the flash point of the resulting fuel? I'm assuming it would have to be done in an oxygen free environment at least.

Re:Pyrolysis (5, Interesting)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448207)

Flash point isn't a problem in an inert atmosphere.

Various technologies have been around to do this; the problem has always been scale and water consumption.

Hope these guys get somewhere with the process, and I hope the process is indifferent to the type of plastic involved. The wide variety of plastics used has always been a major problem for plastics recycling.

Of course, you're still left with a nasty sludge - plastic contains non-hydrocarbon chemicals - and this is not a replacement for petroleum since the plastics were made from petroleum to begin with. But! This may make "mining" landfills a more interesting proposition... now you can get methane, various metals (in relatively pure form) AND liquid fuels from old landfills.
=Smidge=

Plastic Sludge (2, Interesting)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448925)

The sludge would still be mostly hydrocarbons, just heavier stuff. It might be useful for putting into road paving asphalt.

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448289)

Quoting the Envion.com web page:

You utilize a heating system that converts plastic into oil through low temperature thermal cracking in a vacuum.

Does that clear it up? If so, please explain it to me....

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448843)

Lol well, my layman's understanding (which, in this case, merely comes from the parsing of words here and in TFA), is that if you heat plastic in a vacuum at a low heat the polymer breaks down and most of the hydrocarbons are released.

It will be interesting to see if this can scale at all, a $5 million facility is nothing (modern processing facilities push the $1 billion with a "b" figure), the daily output of just one oil facility in the US would probably average several times the yearly output of this facility (I know it's in the neighborhood of 100k barrels per day for most facilities on the North Slope), but if they can start to make a dent in the waste plastic out there that will definitely be a good thing.

If we can take the recycled oil from the plastic and use it to make new plastic, then current oil consumption because of plastic could be greatly reduced, and that would be a very good thing.

Re:Pyrolysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448455)

Yes, oxygen-free atmosphere is required, but that shouldn't be a particularly hard part. You're not going to run a batch process, but rather continuous, tapping the liquids out through the bottom, and charging through some sort of "revolving-door" mechanism. Should be able to get by with minimal amounts of N2 during normal operations, just to keep the pressure up.

The big thing is to control the energy loss with charging/tapping, I think. IANAPE (process engineer), though, so I could be all wrong.)

(Of course, the other obvious solution is to allow controlled amounts of O2 in, to burn just enough volatiles to keep the heat up, instead of applying IR heating. A little like the basic oxygen process, if you will. Not sure why they're not doing that -- maybe it doesn't work as well as it sounds to me.)

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448295)

"This isn't exactly something new, pyrolysis is a perfectly viable way of generating fuel."

1. Build portable liposuction-pyrolyzer units.
2. Sell to fatass Americans who will then be able to power their SUVs using their fast-food diet.
3. Profit!

Re:Pyrolysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449033)

But I"m skinny you insensitive clod.

How am I supposed to fuel my Monster SUV?

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448303)

Question is will it take more or less energy to heat the stuff in the first place? What would come out if the plant would only be allowed use its own fuel for the creation of that infrared light? Would it even output anything, or just eat even more?

Re:Pyrolysis (1, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448319)

If you heat plastic enough - it decomposes into base hydrocarbons.

I wonder if the process is conducive to using solar heat?

-jcr

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448347)

So the best plan would be to heat it through non-fossil methods (solar concentrator plant) to "recycle" it into fuel.

Re:Pyrolysis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448419)

Check it out; this is an extremely boring topic. So, I think I'll spice it up at least a little bit.

I just got back from Best Buy. The new Zune came out yesterday and I've read how much better it is than the iPod Touch and not being one to believe everything I read on the internet, I had to go and see for myself. I'll just end the suspense now and cut to the chase. Anybody positing that the ZuneHD is a better media player than the iPod Touch has either never been in the same room with both of them at the same time, is a blind MS fanboy or is just plain astroturfing.

The vaunted OLED screen is not nearly as great as it's made out to be. Sitting next to the iPod, it even looked washed out. Maybe it's because OLED's don't look so great in bright light whereas plain old LED's actually do being somewhat reflective and all unlike OLED's. And of course, since most people use portable media players to go outside with, the iPod wins. The iPod's screen is bigger, it has more pixels which makes it better for web browsing, the iPod has myriad 3rd party apps which the Zune does not. Subjectively speaking, the Zune is still marginally designed compared to the iPod. The transitions between menus and screens is prettier and more fluid on the iPod.

The Zune has a few checkbox features like HD radio. Maybe that will do it for some people, I personally don't care. The iPod has wi-fi, my phone can tether. I can stream much more music, much more reliably this way than I can hunting for an HD radio station. And, as for outputting 720P video to my TV (once you buy the expensive add-on docking station that is), yeah right. I might do it once for the novelty.

Basically, I'm just a regular guy with no dog in this race (I use my G1 as a PMP) and I'm going to tell you how it is. If this is the best Microsoft has up it's sleeve to compete with the iPod/iPhone juggernaut, anybody reading this that is on the Zune team, better start submitting your resumes.

Re:Pyrolysis (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448479)

I've been compiling an electricity industry report over the last couple of weeks. One of the interesting things I ran across was Whispergen [whispergen.com] , a company in New Zealand (I'm not affiliated with them). Quiet, low maintenance home generators based on multifuel Stirling engines. They've recently opened a new factory in Spain for high volume production.

Very interesting - if we can manufacture fluids from waste plastic that are reasonably energy-dense, the exact thermal profile of their burn may not rule out their being used to put electricity back into the grid on a wider basis. External combustion engines are quite resilient to differences in fuel type, because they really only need a thermal differential to work - not a precisely metered injection of fuel with specific burn characteristics like an internal combustion engine requires. Volkswagen and Lichtblick in Germany are also rolling out a pilot for fixed home distributed generation units, as (I believe) was reported earlier on this forum. Keyword is MicroCHP (combined heating and power).

The fact that variations in the quality of fuel can be accommodated easily argues in favour of there being an economic advantage in using them where they might otherwise not be as attractive to use. Current grid buy-back systems here in Australia are largely photovoltaic (thousands of new applications per month) in WA and QLD, but the grid does actually need to smarten up a bit to use distributed generation elsewhere. The ability to handle electricity buy-back and the ability to keep the load level is key.

Infra red energy? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448043)

Would that be a vaguely technically sounding way of saying "heat"?

Re:Infra red energy? (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448081)

Not necessarily. There are more ways than 1 to heat something. Infra-red energy is only one of them.

Re:Infra red energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448119)

No it is Lazorz! But they need to complete their perpetual motion, cold fusion device first.

Re:Infra red energy? (4, Informative)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448131)

Nope - IR is a photon (i.e. an energy packet). This energy matches the vibrational energy levels of a molecule, so when it's absorbed it results in the same motions that we call heat. Heat can bleed in all directions, while light can only go in straight lines. Next time you're at a campfire/bonfire, hold up a hand and put your face in the shadow - you'll notice that you feel a small amount of heat on your face, but that overall it's much colder-feeling since you're not absorbing those IR photons.

Re:Infra red energy? (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448173)

Would that be a vaguely technically sounding way of saying "heat"?

So that's how they snuck in that patent on fire.
   

Unintended consequences (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448049)

The price of fuel may plummet but the price of philly cheese steak toppings goes through the roof.

Sure. You "irradiate" with IR until it melts... (2, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448101)

...and then run the hot liquid through your radiators.

Envion? (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448117)

I can't quite put my finger on it, but the name of the company scares me for some reason.

Re:Envion? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448241)

I'm sure some linux person can make a vi joke out of this.

Re:Envion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448259)

Yr thinking "Enron"

Re:Envion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448371)

...aaand yr missing the joke. (I presume)

It's "downcycling"... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448133)

... But it's still a lot better than burning diesel to bring crude oil from the Persian Gulf.

The only downside is that instead of having bits of plastic in landfills and the Pacific gyre, we're chucking the carbon stored within into the atmosphere. It'll be marginally useful as a transition/legacy fuel technology or a means of expanding the strategic reserves, but alternatives that absorb atmospheric CO2, nuclear, or renewable energy are still superior.

No mention of byproducts, but what self-respecting corporation admits faults in their operation?

$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (0, Flamebait)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448141)

And the other $100k built the non-impressive looking "facility."

You don't get major politicos (he preceded Cheney as the Secretary of Defense and is a former National Security Advisor) like Carlucci as your "chairman emeritus" without throwing them a serious bone. I guess they've got designs on some government boondoggle or they would have used that money on Aeron chairs.

If turning waste plastic into fuel was cost effective, they'd be doing it already.

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448201)

> If turning waste plastic into fuel was cost effective, they'd be doing it already.

There's a first time for everything.

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (5, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448255)

If turning waste plastic into fuel was cost effective, they'd be doing it already.

Yes, nothing new can ever be (or have the potential for becoming) cost effective, because if it was, it would already be done by everyone, everywhere, already. Everything that can be done, is already being done. Semptember 16, 2009, is the official end date of human progress.

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448453)

Everyone thank DragonWriter for officially making cold fusion, star-trek teleporters, and travel via Einstein-Rosen bridges.

What a jerk!

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448459)

Sir, Charles H. Duell is on line 2, calling from 1899, and he wants his quote back. ;)

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (1)

ELCouz (1338259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448641)

Semptember 16, 2009, is the official end date of human progress.

No actually it starts October 22, 2009 ;)

Re:$4.9 million spent on Frank Carlucci (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448713)

i can't wait to get an aeron chair again.

What the problems were last time (2, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448153)

This is an offshoot of the garbage-to-energy plants that have been built in the 70's and 80's. The problem with incineration was that mercury, dioxin, etc., came out. They have been able to reduce this substantially over the years but there are still concerns. The big challenge with plastic-to-fuel plants may well be the same: what comes out when you burn the fuel?

Re:What the problems were last time (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448333)

I suspect the marketed fuel will be just fine. I mean they are processing the stuff I am sure they will turn it into something chemically like coal oil. The question is what do they do with all the industrial waste from the non petroleum components of the plastics they are recycling.

Re:What the problems were last time (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448535)

Well, I would guess that the product of this process is some amount of vapor and liquid, which go to one place, and solids, which go to further recycling or a landfill. Once you have the vapor and liquid, you get to separate out some amount of funny chemicals. Every process you go through to do this makes the material cleaner, and more expensive.

I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (4, Interesting)

spinach and eggs (1472445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448183)

...the key part of TFA for me was:

We'll find out soon whether Envion's process works as well as the company claims --- the $5 million inaugural plastic-to-fuel plant opened today in Washington, DC, and an undisclosed company has already agreed to buy Envion's product to blend into vehicle fuel.

So yes, we'll find out soon, I guess.

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448369)

What happens if this fuel turns back into plastic after sitting in a fuel tank for a while?

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (5, Funny)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448421)

Or back into dinosaurs?

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448721)

I wish I had a mod point. That's the funniest quip I've read in a while.

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448433)

What if your shit turns back into a hot pocket?

Are you kiiiidding me?

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448719)

hoooooooot pocket!

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449025)

Why do you have owls in your pocket?

Re:I also saw this with great skepticism, but... (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448465)

Hmm, hopefully the "undisclosed" company isn't Chevron or Mobile Oil.

Envion or Enron? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448213)

Envion or Enron?

Washington DC based? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448225)

Hmm, I wonder why a company of this type would want to be "Washington DC based."

I also wonder what their scientist to lobbyist ratio is.

Re:Washington DC based? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448275)

Maybe partly because around here we have fairly cheap electricity (which I expect pyrolysis uses a lot of), generated by nuclear plants (which enables them to evade the "well you're just generating carbon at the coal plant instead of in the cars that burn your fuel to replace gasoline).

Yet again (0)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448343)

Just another way to convert food into fuel... Now they are going to convert all my twinkies into diesel.

Re:Yet again (1)

Trevorm7 (1082535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448451)

Just another way to convert food into fuel... Now they are going to convert all my twinkies into diesel.

So you eat plastic? Do you melt it first and then drink it? I'd think you would get constipated doing that.

T. Boone Picken (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448399)

Yeah, SUUUURRREE, Anyone want to write another check to T. Boone Picken?
Sorry I am a dying breed whom call themselves "skeptics", I never take much at face value.

You FAIL /it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448495)

committerbase Wand

Not really new tech... (4, Insightful)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448521)

The ability to convert ethylene to polyethylene, and back to ethylene again has been around for a long time. Likewise, you can pyrolyze a bunch of different plastics, then use the Fischer-Tropsh process [wikipedia.org] to make diesel and gasoline. The problem is how you deal with everything ELSE that's NOT hydrogen or carbon, (like chlorine from polyvinyl chloride [wikipedia.org] ) and keep it from forming REALLY toxic stuff (like dioxins [wikipedia.org] ). One of the key elements to almost all recycling is separation of the incoming materials and appropriate treatment for each category. But if it works, good luck to them!

Way cool (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448609)

At this time, America buys overpriced products from overseas, watches them break in no time, then in a fit of environmentalism, we recycle it. Where does it go? Back to china for cheap cheap input back into vastly overpriced products.

Now, we are talking about converting this plastic to cheap fuel. Sounds like a winner to me. My only question is, there tend to be contaminants in many of these products (lead, mercury, etc). Will this drop it, or will these make it back into the fuel. If so, then not a great thing. OTH, if not, sounds like a wonder way to get cheap energy.

Re:Way cool (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448653)

At this time, America buys overpriced products from overseas

You think the stuff we get from China's overpriced? You should see the cost of stuff made in America.

$10/Barrel? (0, Troll)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448615)

If the fuel costs $10/barrel to make, we can probably expect the price we pay for it to be about...$7.50/gallon?
(Up here in Canada, at least, the price of gas goes up whenever the price of oil goes down.)

$10 per Barrel (4, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448635)

Like they will really sell below the world price per barrel. Their investors will really love that. Not.

Re:$10 per Barrel (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448875)

The point is they can _make_ it for that, therefore it's viable.

The point is they can _make_ it for that, therefore it's viable. Duh. And if it's only $10/barrel then it is very viable indeed!

However, since the plastic is made from a barrel of oil in the first place, I'm skeptical that it could end up cheaper in the long run. Perhaps it appears viable considering today's value for waste plastic, but it might not be after the increased demand for the material is realized.

In the long run it will be evaluated like any other form of recycling - can we make it more cost effective to recycle into oil, compared to pumping oil out of the ground? Or can we recover more value by reusing it as plastic?

Remember oil from turkey guts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448675)

www.changingworldtech.com

We all got real excited. The process works. The plant is marginally economic.

I, for one, am not holding my breath while they try to commericalize this new process. Been there, done that.

Ep._. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448691)

NIGGER ASSOCIATION Started work on contributed code Private sex party Don't be afraid the system cloean the latest Netcraft FREEBSD CORE TEAM

oil from tires (2, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448707)

what ever happened with that technology?

I Love Magic! (2, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448759)

AC Clarke was quoted as saying that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic.

Surely this magic non-polluting gasoline from plastic would trump even the magic non-polluting electricity that will power all of the magic non-polluting electric cars!

In related news, they've solved the dilemma of getting rid of toxic waste. [aljazeera.net]

$10 plus (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448811)

$10 + $400 in government subsidies

Keep this quiet. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448903)

Pyrolysis isn't anything new. In fact it's been known for quite some time. Whenever you heat something rich in hydrocarbons in the absence of oxygen, you release those hydrocarbons. It's the same process that turns coal into coke and tar.

Back to my original point, keep this quiet or the Democrats will find a way to tax it.

LK

Won't this upset the natural order of things? (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448953)

Just when we were getting used to the paradigm of "Earth plus Plastic," someone wants to go use up the plastic!

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