Monday, September 25, 2006

Trash to Cash. Well to diesel anyway...

That's right, what if we could rid the world of sewer sludge and get some cheap (at today's prices) diesel fuel instead? Think of it, it would be completely unaffected by the home heating oil industry.

From sludge to cheap and clean diesel
Diesel for $1 a gallon.
And not from oil. Instead, it would come from sewer sludge, wood, agricultural waste, plain old trash or even plastics.

That's the promise of a new process unveiled Thursday at UC Riverside by researchers and a small company that will pay $15 million for a pilot plant to be built in the next two years.
Two-thirds of the process uses tried-and-true, off-the-shelf technology. The new trick is how they turn solids into a gas, and how efficient that new technique is.

A process that normally takes an hour can be done in six minutes, or 10-times faster, said Norbeck.

"We don't know why it happens," he said. "We can convert this faster than anyone has ever seen."

And there's little waste. Up to 85 percent of the feed material becomes useable liquid fuel at the other end.

Well all I can say is that seems pretty damn nifty. Wonder if we will actually see a plant up and running in a few years.

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