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Trash-To-Fuel Process Validated By US Military 64

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-need-to-know-who-to-ask dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After going through all kinds of grief, including being shut down by the Washington State Ecology Department, classifying them as an 'incinerator,' it looks like Green Power Inc is finally ready to shine. The Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines, in a joint effort, validated their technology in November, and the results are now being published for the first time. For every 100 tons of municipal solid waste feedstock processed each day, the plant produces 1240 gallons of Naphtha, 3700 gallons of Kerosene, 6900 gallons of Diesel and 3000 gallons of Fuel Oil. And even the ash can be used for cement or asphalt. They generate 1 MW of electricity to sell to the grid 24/7, running three shifts per day to keep the plant going, employing approximately five people per shift. Sticker price is $25 million. ROI, 3.5 years. Maybe with this announcement, the trend of no sales in the US will change, compared to the 72 foreign contracts backed by letters of credit."
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Trash-To-Fuel Process Validated By US Military

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  • by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@ ... m minus math_god> on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:31AM (#31198322) Homepage Journal

    If this is for real & doesn't have any game-breaking drawbacks down the road, this could go a long, long way to curing our energy dependence on other nations until we get our stuff together with more renewable power sources.

    • by ZosX (517789)

      Yeah. It is for real. The tech has been around for at least 5 years that I know of, probably longer. There aren't any real drawbacks except that you are producing more greenhouse gasses in the end. I don't know if we produce enough bio-waste to generate fuel for all of our gas guzzling needs, but it should go a long, long way if utilized to making some of our problems better.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        If nothing else it will help cut down on the size of our landfills. Plant large amounts of trees in the space that would have been used, and bam...more atmosphere scrubbers on the ground.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        Is it just for biowaste? When they say trash I think landfills & not sewage & old food.

        • by cduffy (652)

          Food accounts for much more than you would think [wasteage.com] of landfill contents (and those are the most conservative numbers I've found; others claim up to 27%). (And if I recall correctly from prior arguments, this system is not at all limited to biowaste; think rubbers, plastics, and the like).

    • I have to agree, the whole concept can do great things and I look forward to the tech and methods being refined further.

      Imagine landfills disappearing more and more while our fuel issues are eased and removed.

      Now if we just get the little fusion thing from Back to the Future. Some banana peels and other trash and flying car!

    • by tuxgeek (872962)

      I've been watching this technology, and resulting company for several years now. This is real!

      This is very cool stuff. It takes average refuse that would go to a landfill, cooks it down into diesel fuel and fertilizer. It is completely self contained. It releases nothing into the environment. Generates it's own power and then some.

      The up side here is that the military has finally taken notice. Maybe something good will become of it after all.

      I seriously urge everyone out there to call your congress critter

  • FTFS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:38AM (#31198366) Homepage

    Sticker price is $25 million. ROI, 3.5 years.

    Only $25 Million? Dude. If this process really works as well as they are reporting, this is a HUGE deal. Think of the implications of setting up these facilities in multiple parts of the country.

    This won't solve our energy or trash problems, but it could put a sizeable dent in both. Huzzah!

  • Nice numbers. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No wonder the return on investment of this $25 million dollar plant is estimated to be in just over three and a half years, after which it is pure profit -....

    That's a bit of an exaggeration. There's personnel, insurance, maintenance, etc....

    They look like nice numbers but I'd have to sit down and look at them real close with an auditor.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:42AM (#31198410)
    ... it probably isn't. This guy is a snake oil salesman [tradingmarkets.com].
    • by jweller (926629) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#31198988)

      and your point is?

      Snake oil is a great source of renewable energy. I've converted my diesel rabbit to run on snake oil.

      • by corbettw (214229)

        I've converted my diesel rabbit to run on snake oil.

        Gotta love the irony in that one!

    • by ladadadada (454328) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:50AM (#31199186) Homepage
      I didn't see anything in that link to indicate that he is a snake oil salesman. There were certainly plenty of concerning allegations, but none of them alleged that he has sold them a product that didn't work. Most of them are regarding his failure to pay bills. The article mentioned the same thing, after mentioning that the reporter was a personal friend of the CEO. It all looks to me like he's a genuine guy with a decent product and bad business sense. I think I would have waited to see the results published by the third party before running this on Slashdot. The results linked from the site are actually hosted on its sister site, both of which are funded by Michael Spitzauer and don't look to be published by the US Military at all.
      • by cenc (1310167)

        Sounds like a guy that does not have sufficient biz experience to even know that he should be filing for bankruptcy, but instead leaves a mess of law suits everywhere he goes.

        Not exactly where anyone would be inclined to park their venture capital. If I had the money and really thought the technology they are pushing was unique and viable, I would be more inclined to buy out the intellectual property and such rather than buy someone else's legal headache, bad debts, broken contracts, and so on. What would b

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      So you're saying the military are incompetent idiots and that the technology *doesn't* actually work? That, while they claimed to have validated the technology, they actually didn't? Do you have a source for these allegations?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The one I know also focuses on stuff like straw and manure/sewer waste, it's advantageous for wet waste that can't go into power plants (some places burn garbage for electricity/district heating). Much of the fertilizer value (nitrates, phosphates) stays in the water phase, you can cycle this back into agriculture in order not to deprive your fields long term. Definitely has potential, especially if it's as cheap as they say.

    • Interestingly, this is the first company I've heard of working on depolymerization instead of plasma gasification.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I want to see the actual reports from the military. The "3rd party results" on the article have Green Power Inc stamped all over them. Until I see those results, I'm skeptical.

  • The website of Green Power Inc. seems quite dodgy - http://cleanenergyprojects.com/ [cleanenergyprojects.com]. Now, that can be either a very good sign or a very very very bad sign. It reminds me of the website of the Atom chip corporation(http://atomchip.com/) with their quantum optical processors.
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      That website actually looks pretty good to me for a little known industrial type company. I've seen _far_ worse from very legitimate companies.

  • Exactly who in DoD? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gnieboer (1272482) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#31198980)

    Like others here, I'm not convinced. DoD is a very big place, and to say that was a 'joint' validation is odd... who was this joint organization who specializes in trash recycling within DoD? Probably one exists someplace (next to the agency researching favorite alien ice cream flavours), but what's telling is that the article doesn't mention who they are.

    And the 'link' referred to doesn't have any mention of DoD in it either. Since the PDF has PES watermarks and was authored by Word 2010 (which the DoD won't be using), it's 99% likely it's not a 3rd party document. I suppose it might be based on a 3rd party report, but why not just include the test report? A government test report like this should be public info.

  • (from the article)
    > So far, all of his 72 contracts are foreign, guaranteed by letters of credit. None in the U.S. yet. What does that say?

    I think it probably says that there is something we don't know about that prospective buyers do know about. If no one in the US wants this, then there is a reason for it. At first glance, this seems like a great advancement. Who wouldn't want to turn all their garbage into profit? That seems like a no brainer to me. So if we set up a few thousand of these,
  • Maybe Doc Brown just got the name wrong?!

    This sounds like an interesting idea to me.

  • So I go to this site [convert-me.com], and I get these conversions:

    Naptha; 1,200 Gal = 6,900 lbs
    Kerosene; 3,700 Gal = 25,000 lbs
    Diesel (as fuel Oil); 6,900 Gal = 51,000 lbs
    Fuel Oil; 3,00 Gal = 23,000 lbs

    Total: 168,000 pounds; 84 tons.

    84% efficiency. Not counting the ash.

    Or not.

    Like how I comma everything? Metric is overrated...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Your Pal Dave (33229)

      It gets worse if you do an energy balance:
      According to the DOE (Table 1) [doe.gov], municipal waste contains less than 12e6 BTU/Ton, so your 100 TPD waste stream will contain 1.2 E9 BTU tops.

      Disregarding electrical output:

      Naptha; 1,240 Gal @118700 BTU/Gal = 1.47E8 BTU
      Kerosene: 3400 Gal @134000 BTU/Gal = 4.56E8 BTU
      Diesel: 6900 Gal @129500 BTU/Gal = 8.94E8 BTU
      Fuel Oil: 3000 Gal @145000 BTU/Gal = 4.35E8 BTU
      Total Output: 1.93E9 BTU

      So, either they have some energy input they're not telling us about, or it's a scam.

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        Well, it was described as an incinerator, so the energy input is probably thermal, part of the thermal degradation they are using.

        It may be that getting ANYTHING out of trash is a bargain. But once again, overstating your results to make 'green' not just good but profitable is a loser, and it causes us common folk to be suspicious of these claims, and we start to doubt the science. Next thing you know, we want proofs.

        That's bad, right? We should just trust those people... Right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Atraxen (790188)

        If there is an additional energy input, and if that input is highly efficient, I'm ok with the energy balance. If we consider the trash to be thrown away (ah, love what I did there...) then it's energetically lost. That means for an additional energetic input of 8E8 BTU (I rounded up for high-but-not-perfect efficiency), we get fuel worth 19E8 (scaled to matching exponents). There's something to that sort of process - it's like having a huge interest rate savings account.

        And let's remember that convertin

    • Alas it's worse.

      http://pesn.com/2010/02/19/959019_GPI_3rd-party_test_results_trash-to-fuel/material-energy%20balance%202010.pdf [pesn.com]

      Right.
      Test results. Okaaaay.

      Inputs totalling 2,257,710.0000 MJ.

      Total output from distillation column 2,257,710.0000 MJ

      Run away, run far away!

      These are not test results.

      These are at best numbers from someone who has taken a wild stab at a reasonable output for the maximum theoretical output of an _ENERGY_CONSUMI

  • So far, all of his 72 contracts are foreign, guaranteed by letters of credit. None in the U.S. yet. What does that say?

    Americans are not the stupidiest people on the planet?

  • It sounds great and all, but show me a municipal waste stream that doesn't have things it shouldn't have (tube tvs with lead and mercury or even just flourescent light bulbs). Maybe they weed all the bad stuff (they can know about) before hand, but that surely isn't a cost-free undertaking.
  • by glodime (1015179)
    From the article:

    ...the return on investment of this $25 million dollar plant is estimated to be in just over three and a half years...

    Beware of the salesman that quotes a Return on Investment in terms of time.

  • So it sounds like this technology could convert human corpses into energy. I'm not saying the US military would use it in that manner but perhaps china would find it useful? Makes me wonder what Hitler might have to say about this development if he was still alive...

  • Garbage! This post is just trash
  • ...with the cycles of life...

    Yeah baby!

    Sure, it’s not perfect. But the fact that it instantly reminds me of natural cycles (which are very efficient), where nothing is wasted, is a sure sign that this is a good thing.

    We need more like this!

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