The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. 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.
Unlike other solid-to-liquid-fuel processes such as cornstarch into ethanol, this one will accept almost any carbon-based feedstock. If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water. While no one plans to put people into a thermal depolymerization machine, an intimate human creation could become a prime feedstock. “There is no reason why we can't turn sewage, including human excrement, into a glorious oil,” says engineer Terry Adams, a project consultant.
Not much to add here other than I hope this actually works. If it does, then perhaps we will get something useful out of the tons of garbage we produce each year (and in the article, they state that anything short of nuclear waste can be processed) as well as the tons and tons of garbage we already have! And this has the added benefit, if it does indeed work as well as they claim it does, to keep places like Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico free of oil drills.
Spring went shopping today for Easter supplies. Not that we celebrate, but the kids, they're expecting the usual candy and Easter egg hunt and what not. In the store she found some chocolate filled marshmallow chicks (a generic form of Peeps®). It wasn't until she opened one of the buckets did she realize just how … horrifying … these particular chocolate filled marshmallow chicks are.
They have a body, but right at the neck, where normally one would find the marshmallowy goodness of the chick's head is instead this red covered stump that is surely to tramatized some poor kid come Easter morning!
“Mmmmmmooooommmmmmmmm! This peep's headless! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Therapy for life, I'm telling you!