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Power Hardware

Trash-To-Gas Power Plant Gets Greenlight 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the smell-of-power dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Beginning in a little more than a week, Green Power, Inc. of Pasco, Washington will be commencing the building of municipal-solid-waste-to-fuel plants for clients around the world, with $2 billion in contracts; now that an EPA ruling has exonerated GPI from an unnecessary shut-down order by the Washington Ecology Department last year. This fuel would be of higher quality and cheaper than fuel derived from crude oil — and it comes from local feedstock, while turning waste into energy. Now your laptop can turn into a quart of diesel fuel to power your trip to the dump. And the ocean gyres of trash the size of Texas can power Texas. This is an update on a Slashdot story from nine months ago.
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Trash-To-Gas Power Plant Gets Greenlight

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  • Re:Gyres (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @05:17PM (#34300436) Homepage

    Those gyres [wikipedia.org] are not what you think they are.

  • Re:But But (Score:2, Informative)

    by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:11PM (#34300764) Homepage

    SimCity != Real Life.

    But don't worry, nobody will have to work after fusion arrives in 2050, so you'll have some time to play then.

  • by icebike (68054) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @06:27PM (#34300860)

    In residential areas where there are a lot of deciduous trees you tend not to have the inner city blowing trash.

    There simply isn't that much contamination in the street, and composting breaks down virtually all of paper typically found.

    You get the occasional plastic or aluminum, but these are easily blow-sorted out of leaves either before or after composting.

    Clearly this won't work in trash strewn housing tracts, or inner city ghettos, but then those areas don't have significant leaf trees anyway.

  • Re:Shutdown? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:16PM (#34301134)

    From TFA: (yeah, yeah, I know)

    In August of 2009, GPI was shut down by Washington state's Ecology Department who said GPI had "not provided adequate compliance with the environmental air quality regulations." This was cleared on September 8, 2010 by an EPA ruling that support's GPI's claim and reverses Washington state's Ecology Department's claim that placed the GPI process in the class of incinerators, which it is not.

    According to the EPA:

    Green Power describes its process as a proprietary catalytic pressure-less depolymerization process (CDP) where municipal solid waste or a wide variety of organic wastes are 'cracked' at the molecular level and the long-chain polymers (plastic, organic material such as wood, etc.) are chemically altered to become short-chain hydrocarbons with no combustion. Combustion requires oxygen or a similar compound, but according to Green Power the CDP occurs in an anaerobic environment, exposed only to inert gases like nitrogen.

  • by VTI9600 (1143169) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @09:03PM (#34301690)

    Actually, I think they are referring primarily to plastics that get thrown in the trash. "Feedstock" is just a generic term for the raw material that goes into any type of factory. Since your laptop's outer shell is probably made of plastic, it could theoretically be used in this process. Busted laptops are e-waste (i.e. hazardous material), hence the special regulations that govern the disposal and recycling thereof. Considering this, I doubt that they could be used as raw feedstock for the fuel-creation process. However, after a bit of dismantling, the plastic bits could be separated from the rest and fed into this factory.

    Nevertheless, I agree that randomly claiming that 1 laptop == 1 quart of diesel fuel is just plain silly...

    Now your laptop can turn into a quart of diesel fuel to power your trip to the dump.

    ...and what makes this guy think my car runs on diesel anyway? ;-)

  • Re:Gyres (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Monday November 22, 2010 @02:01AM (#34303198)

    "The summary must be joking about the ocean gyres."

    There are questions about the guy running this company, up here in Washington state.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_wa_pasco_biomass.html [seattlepi.com]

    http://pesn.com/2009/08/07/9501560_CEO_appealing_GreenPowerInc_shut-down_order/ [pesn.com]

    Some have voiced serious concerns that this is all snake-oil, primarily because the man hides behind "trade secrets" protection and doesn't really have to discuss how all this works(precisely the reason state regulators shut him down--they cannot really know if he is in compliance if they don't know what he is doing, and so far he hasn't told them). He has also failed to pay some of his employees yet claims he will be hiring up to 500 more employees even though the technical data suggests he only needs 5 people per shift, had the company's demonstration truck burn down, and according to the Seattle PI article, been evicted from his plant location.

    The one curious thing is that the military tested his technology and actually published some hard numbers that to me seem rather impressive. Makes me wonder what sort of "garbage" went through his test plant.

      http://pesn.com/2010/02/19/959019_GPI_3rd-party_test_results_trash-to-fuel/ [pesn.com]

    This is the best time-line I was able to find in regards to this company (not surprisingly, from the same website as the submitted article).

    http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Green_Power_Inc's_NanoDiesel:Catalytic_Pressureless_Depolymerization_(Oiling) [peswiki.com]

    At least the writer of the submitted article is up front--"Note: I have a relationship with GPI, so this report is not truly independent." says the caption accompanying the photo in the article.

    Can you say "media blitz"?

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