Jul 21, 2003
A final solution for waste?
A reader who will identify himself only as R.S. has sent information about an exciting breakthrough that has a great relevance to India.
A company in the USA, Changing World Technologies [CWT] , NY has perfected a process to transform all manner of modern waste into crude oil and other useful products. The process ‘Thermal Depolymerisation’ [TDP] is nearly self sufficient in energy, has no polluting by-products and is highly scalable. The most appealing feature is the wide variety of waste it can handle: tyres, plastics, paper, sludge, municipal waste and abattoir wastes. The products that come out are crude oil [--which can flow into refineries directly], fuel gas, absorbent carbon and fertiliser intermediates.
TDP has been known since 1960 but in a more inefficient and inconsistent version. Basically the process is about accelerating nature’s way of recycling by means of heat and pressure. While nature takes millions of years, TDP does it in hours. What CWT has done to improve on the earlier process is to use two reactors instead of the earlier one.
CWT’s patented process has been endorsed by many US authorities and academics. Now ConAgra is building a $20 million plant to process --hold your stomachs!-- 200 tonnes per day of turkey carcasses into fuel oil. [Incidentally, that should also give you an idea of American size of things] Earlier this waste was recycled into animal feed. After mad-cow disease raged in Europe and this practice was banned there, US companies now expect new laws that will ban this kind of animal feed. Hence ConAgra’s interest.