Skip to comments.Research: Pig Manure Can Become Crude Oil
Posted on 04/13/2004 10:24:01 AM PDT by m1-lightning
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No, it's my understanding of economics that if Butterball were to have to pay $100 per ton per day prior to the plant opening for waste disposal they were out $100 per ton per day. Now they have to pay $50 a ton per day to process it with their new plant and they get $25 a ton per day in saleable resources. So instead of paying $100 per ton per day, they have a net payment of $25 a ton per day.
Now you may see a loss of $100 equaling a loss of $25 (after all, it's still a loss, right?), but the way I understand economics they are in a much better position financially.
The $10,000,000 question in any of these processes is the extent to which the heat that's put in (a) is being used by the chemical process, and thus cannot be recovered, and (b) cannot be recovered for other reasons; vs. (c) can be recovered. In cases where (a) and (b) are large relative to (c), efficiencies are apt to be very bad. In cases where (c) is much larger, efficiencies may be quite reasonable.
The biggest difficulty I see with this type of system is making it operate reliably and efficiently on a highly-variable "input". I would guess indoor-raised animal waste is probably pretty consistent, but waste from animals that feed outdoors would vary with weather and seasons. Municipal sewage would be even worse, aggravated by the fact that sewers take in more than water and fecal matter.
BTW, I find it interesting that the water extracted by the cited process is described as "sterile". That may be true, but I would have some questions about its purity.
I think you are under the assumption that these "next-door turkey processors" don't already exist. If you have read my posts on this thread, you will see that I try to keep focussing on the fact that coupled with actual oil production, this technology will in fact reduce the amount of animal waste products (hazardous materials) that are a constant problem for our Ag related communities.
You act as because these plants won't magically turn off the Middle-East spigot for oil that they are a boondoggle. They aren't. This technology will help each and every agriculture business than needs to transport and dispose of animal waste. It will help their bottom line, and yes, it will allow for more U.S. based oil production without more drilling or exploration. And if they can successfully use these plants to help with waste treatment of sewage in large cities, the environment will be helped, city finances will be helped, and U.S. oil production will be helped.
It's like you see a quarter on the ground and complain that it isn't worth picking up because your mortage is $800 a month. No, a quarter won't pay your mortage, but how in the hell can it hurt to be a quarter richer?!?
It's one thing to say you doubt the science, it's another thing to just rant on without knowing any of the facts just because you don't think it is possible. Reminds me of the Atkins bashers who will never be convinced because they once went on a diet in the 70's and never lost weight.
A paper I somehow managed to navigate to said that when the water is boiled off it carries volatiles such as ammonia with it. So it's free of microorganisms, but you wouldn't want to drink it!
I am an engineer of long standing and I neither "doubt the science", nor have I been "ranting without knowing the facts" about this technology. And if you were directing those remarks at me, I'd advise you to check that attitude at the door on your next visit.
What I do know for a fact is that the ONLY advantage to this technology is as a technically, economically and environmentally superior form of waste treatment. It is NOT any kind of an energy solution. And it is NOT any kind of a solution to our dependence on foreign oil. While this technology can produce both energy and oil, in neither case would it produce enough to make any noticeable dent in those markets.
When you try to mis-represent the technology as being an energy or oil production solution, it suggests to me that you are either woefully under-informed about our country's energy production, economics and technology, or you have ulterior motives in promoting this technology.
You've got a superior waste treatment technology. Why muck it up with false claims that is can play any significant role in resolving our energy or oil production problems?
irony; maybe. but the "aroma", will cure tailgaters...
one other limiting factor; $209/kwh...a bit much, even for a kennedy.
Don't let the pig farmers give money to Bush, He'll make us put their sh!t in our cars...Volvo or not.
In case others think Boot Hill just made up these numbers (he's not), check the statistics yourself. In 2002, the United States used an estimated 19.7 million barrels. Per day.
The articles allude to the exact engineering problem we face to make this practical as an energy production source: scaling it up. If we do work it out however, and if some organic waste streams convert at the same ratio as this pilot plant, then the numbers are interesting to look at.
A plant of this size produces 180,000 barrels per year as others have pointed out in this thread. That works out to 493.15 barrels per day out of 200 tons each day. There are 160 million tons of wood waste per year (1998 figures) alone. That works out to 1,080,876 barrels per day if we assume the same conversion rate of 200 tons of organic matter to 493.15 barrels per day. 5.4% of our daily total oil demand from wood waste alone. Enough to affect prices at the margin, where it counts. At current rates, we will import 68% of our oil by 2025. This same reference cites DOE figures that say we currently import about 50%, or about 10 million barrels. If we put this in place today, the percentage of imports this represents rises to 10.8%.
Pulling our focus back a bit, we find that agriculture produces about 1 billion tons of waste per year. Remember, agricultural waste streams are not the only feedstock; some manufacturing waste streams are also eligible. But for the sake of back of the envelope calculations, let's assume that all eligible waste streams for TDP amounts to 1 billion tons per year. That works out to 6,755,479 barrels per day, or about 67% of daily import demand today.
Even if we project out increased demand for petroleum in the future, the potential for this technique to affect prices at the margin should not be dismissed out of hand. Boot Hill is still right however; it is highly unlikely that we can use this technique (assuming all the engineering, business and logistical details are worked out) to supplant import demand. Fortunately, we don't need it to wholesale replace imports: if we can make it affect the marginal price, that's still a useful tool in our national assets.
I find it amazing that Zhang seems to have found the answer to the key waste management problem of our age, which is, besides burying it, what the heck can we realistically do with this "garbage"? (The trick is not to think of it as "garbage", but rather a product waiting to be recognized.)
Your analysis of using the same process on the vast quantities of wood and agricultural wastes (if technically feasible) that we generate each year was eye opening. To take that a little further, some of Dr. Zhang's published papers from his UI website suggest that plastic bottles and rubber tires could also be processed with the same technology (although it's likely that the process must be tweaked to run either plastics OR bio-waste). Also of interest is the promise that this process will destroy all known pathogens.
Clearly, what makes Dr. Zhang's technology so important is the waste treatment aspect of the process. In the final analysis, I suspect that the cost of the energy produced using this technology, will never be its main selling point. I think break-even is the best that can be hoped for. But so what, we've got ourselves a waste treatment breakthrough!
Didn't you read the article ? The procedure can be applied to ALL ORGANIC WASTE MATERIALS ? Not just feces. For instance in ALL agricultural waste were fed into this process, it would replace ALL imported oil. This country produces an enormous amount of agricultural waste.
Well, at least we would know there is an infinite supply.Well informed sources tell me the stock is pink sh_t material, currently trading at a whopping .005 per share.
Powerful stuff, that pig sh-t is.
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