Monday, 21 June, 2004

Thermal depolymerization update

In myMay 30, 2003 entry I mentioned Changing World Technologies and their thermal depolymerization process for recycling organic wastes.  At the time, they expected to have their first commercial plant in Carthage, MO up and running Real Soon Now, processing 200 tons of turkey waste daily from the Butterball turkey plant.  The July 2004 issue of Discover Magazine has a follow-up article that describes their progress to date.

The Carthage plant, a joint venture between CWT and ConAgra Foods, still isn't working at capacity.  They lost a lot of time (six to nine months) inspecting and repairing 5,000 welds and are in legal action against the contractor.  They've had it work at capacity for up to 12 hours at a time, but they're still tuning the system:  calibrating, tweaking, and refining.  They're estimating a fall 2004 opening for the plant.  Still, what they have is encouraging.  The system is reportedly 85 percent efficient, and should be able to operate without sucking power from the grid.  The oil produced easily meets the specifications for diesel fuel.  In short, the chemistry works.  The rest is "just a technical problem."  I'm still excited about the prospects for this one.