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(Telegraph)   While you were tossing out your empty milk jugs, this pilot was inventing a way to harness discarded plastics to fuel his plane   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 32
    More: Cool, plastic waste, raise awareness  
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2836 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Feb 2013 at 10:27 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-24 10:37:28 PM  
He's testing the fuel, he didn't invent the process.
 
2013-02-24 10:43:22 PM  
I admire the effort to utilize what would only be previously thought as landfill waste, but questions I have that (shockingly) TFA didn't cover:

1. Without getting into technical detail that could betray trade secrets, what's the process? TFA mentions "melting down", but there must be some sort of refinement process; does this require expensive, complicated equipment, or hard-to-obtain chemicals?

2. How does the cost per gallon or cost per mile of refined fuel compare to current aviation fuels?

3. TFA mentions no air pollution, but there are other things in plastics besides hydrocarbons; where do these rather nasty chemicals go after refinement? Is toxic, hazardous waste a byproduct of the process, even if it doesn't generate air pollution?

4. Why is setting the "England to Austrailia flight record" a thing? I get that it's a former colony, but since it's not an uninterrupted flight, how is it different from commuter hops?

5. Does the fuel/energy cost of shipping all this plastics tonnage to Scotland to have it refined outweigh the energy gains of the fuel created?

I'm in favor of anything that utilizes what are thought to be unusable resources, but there are some rather pertinent questions that TFA doesn't cover.
 
2013-02-24 10:51:06 PM  
I suppose siphoning fuel into milk jugs is due to come back in style.
 
2013-02-24 10:55:21 PM  

grinding_journalist: I admire the effort to utilize what would only be previously thought as landfill waste, but questions I have that (shockingly) TFA didn't cover:

1. Without getting into technical detail that could betray trade secrets, what's the process? TFA mentions "melting down", but there must be some sort of refinement process; does this require expensive, complicated equipment, or hard-to-obtain chemicals?
1. Probably not but they will pretend it does and try to make others "subsidies" it.

2. How does the cost per gallon or cost per mile of refined fuel compare to current aviation fuels?

2. Probably but they can fix this by raising the price the the regular aviation fuel.

3. TFA mentions no air pollution, but there are other things in plastics besides hydrocarbons; where do these rather nasty chemicals go after refinement? Is toxic, hazardous waste a byproduct of the process, even if it doesn't generate air pollution?
3. Where do they go in the current refineries?  That's where it will probably go in this also. Meaning the air and water.

4. Why is setting the "England to Austrailia flight record" a thing? I get that it's a former colony, but since it's not an uninterrupted flight, how is it different from commuter hops?
4. So people write about it.  It's publicity. No one it gonna write about a flight from London to Birmingham.

5. Does the fuel/energy cost of shipping all this plastics tonnage to Scotland to have it refined outweigh the energy gains of the fuel created?

6. No but if you can have tax payers pay for it and obfuscate with some funny accounting practices they will not figure it out until after they are committed.

I'm in favor of anything that utilizes what are thought to be unusable resources, but there are some rather pertinent questions that TFA doesn't cover.
 
2013-02-24 11:01:45 PM  
I am working on an invention that will turn old milk jugs into breast implants...


So they'll be NEW milk jugs!
 
2013-02-24 11:07:37 PM  
His flight will be powered by five tons of discarded packaging and waste collected from rubbish dumps and - using a pioneering technique - melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel.

Recent advances mean that it is now possible to distil plastic - most of which is petroleum-based - into fuel,


Stop using words you don't understand.

a process known as pyrolysis that does not pollute the air.

It's also called thermal depolymerisation.  Basically, you heat your waste product - and it can be anything, plastic, old mattress stuffing, turkey gizzards - in the absence of air, and somewhere about four-digit temperatures it converts to small-carbon-count organic molecules compatible with fuel systems.  To get to that temperature is energy intensive as hell and usually uses natural gas, plus if your feedstock was made from fossil fuels, you're not really doing much for carbon emissions.

Biolfuels won't truly come into their own until we can convert yard waste into diesel using catalysis.
 
2013-02-24 11:12:06 PM  

Bondith: It's also called thermal depolymerisation. Basically, you heat your waste product - and it can be anything, plastic, old mattress stuffing, turkey gizzards - in the absence of air, and somewhere about four-digit temperatures it converts to small-carbon-count organic molecules compatible with fuel systems. To get to that temperature is energy intensive as hell and usually uses natural gas, plus if your feedstock was made from fossil fuels, you're not really doing much for carbon emissions.

Biolfuels won't truly come into their own until we can convert yard waste into diesel using catalysis.


I remember a few years ago there were a few test plants using this process setup.  They were normally located near a poultry plant, and would use methane from the chicken waste to create the heat needed to breakdown the products.  At least if my memory is correct.
 
2013-02-24 11:15:45 PM  

ShawnDoc: Bondith: It's also called thermal depolymerisation. Basically, you heat your waste product - and it can be anything, plastic, old mattress stuffing, turkey gizzards - in the absence of air, and somewhere about four-digit temperatures it converts to small-carbon-count organic molecules compatible with fuel systems. To get to that temperature is energy intensive as hell and usually uses natural gas, plus if your feedstock was made from fossil fuels, you're not really doing much for carbon emissions.

Biolfuels won't truly come into their own until we can convert yard waste into diesel using catalysis.

I remember a few years ago there were a few test plants using this process setup.  They were normally located near a poultry plant, and would use methane from the chicken waste to create the heat needed to breakdown the products.  At least if my memory is correct.


That's more sustainable.  Biofuel feedstocks should be waste products.  Everything from the municipal waste stream that's not otherwise useful or inorganic should be turned into fuel.  Ditto agricultural waste, sawmills, and anything else with a C-H bond that didn't come from a well.
 
2013-02-24 11:16:29 PM  
"Toss out your empty milk jugs" = euphemism for "show us your aged saggy breasts".
 
2013-02-24 11:22:41 PM  
Thermal depolymerization of plastics would allow us to make a closed plastics cycle. Currently most plastics get one shot at food grade and then has to become an inferior product because who knows what got into the bottles. If you can break the plastics back down to their constituent products you could run the molecules back through the original production process.

I'd love to build a specialty ship to wrangle the plastics in the pacific gyre and use them to power it's own engines and maybe have a little left to sell.
 
2013-02-24 11:37:57 PM  
ShawnDoc: I remember a few years ago there were a few test plants using this process setup. They were normally located near a poultry plant, and would use methane from the chicken waste to create the heat needed to breakdown the products. At least if my memory is correct.

IIRC, the energy required to break the source materials down is more than the energy you can get out of the products. So to make it feasible, the energy you use as fuel for the process has to come from a cheaper or plentiful (but not directly useable) source.

Like methane from chicken waste, or solar power, a nuclear power plant, etc.

// hmmm, could we make a nuclear powered waste disposal facility? IE, big electric furnaces powered by a nuclear power plant? Why bury shiat in a landfill when you can reduce it to a fine carbon sludge?
 
2013-02-24 11:42:24 PM  

lordargent: ShawnDoc: I remember a few years ago there were a few test plants using this process setup. They were normally located near a poultry plant, and would use methane from the chicken waste to create the heat needed to breakdown the products. At least if my memory is correct.

IIRC, the energy required to break the source materials down is more than the energy you can get out of the products. So to make it feasible, the energy you use as fuel for the process has to come from a cheaper or plentiful (but not directly useable) source.

Like methane from chicken waste, or solar power, a nuclear power plant, etc.

// hmmm, could we make a nuclear powered waste disposal facility? IE, big electric furnaces powered by a nuclear power plant? Why bury shiat in a landfill when you can reduce it to a fine carbon sludge?


Currently taking place outside of a Butterball Turkey plant in Carthage, MO.
 
2013-02-24 11:50:19 PM  

wildcardjack: Thermal depolymerization of plastics would allow us to make a closed plastics cycle. Currently most plastics get one shot at food grade and then has to become an inferior product because who knows what got into the bottles. If you can break the plastics back down to their constituent products you could run the molecules back through the original production process.

I'd love to build a specialty ship to wrangle the plastics in the pacific gyre and use them to power it's own engines and maybe have a little left to sell.


Hmmm, you could probably throw a dehydrogenation catalyst in there, which would lower the temperature you need and specifically give you the alkenes you need to make addition polymers (PVA, PVC, polyethelene, etc).  Condensation polymers (polyesters, polyamids) you could regenerate by boiling in acid and then separating out the molecules you wanted.

Teflon's trickier, but they have special ovens that can regenerate the monomer.

I think I've drifted from the original premise...
 
2013-02-25 12:00:41 AM  

Bondith: His flight will be powered by five tons of discarded packaging and waste collected from rubbish dumps and - using a pioneering technique - melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel.

Recent advances mean that it is now possible to distil plastic - most of which is petroleum-based - into fuel,

Stop using words you don't understand.

a process known as pyrolysis that does not pollute the air.

It's also called thermal depolymerisation.  Basically, you heat your waste product - and it can be anything, plastic, old mattress stuffing, turkey gizzards - in the absence of air, and somewhere about four-digit temperatures it converts to small-carbon-count organic molecules compatible with fuel systems.  To get to that temperature is energy intensive as hell and usually uses natural gas, plus if your feedstock was made from fossil fuels, you're not really doing much for carbon emissions.

Biolfuels won't truly come into their own until we can convert yard waste into diesel using catalysis.


I want one of these:

images.oreillyauto.com
 
2013-02-25 12:11:56 AM  

Bondith: I think I've drifted from the original premise...


No, you're solidly on the premise. My degree in mechanical engineering came with chemistry classes more interested in metallurgy and corrosion than organic chemistry. I could build the valves and control system for what the chemists ask for, but I really need to bone up on o-chem. I'm on the lookout for a used REA or Schaum's on the topic while hunting books, but for some reason I haven't seen a used but not antiquated O-chem text book in a long time.
 
2013-02-25 12:12:09 AM  

wildcardjack: I'd love to build a specialty ship to wrangle the plastics in the pacific gyre and use them to power it's own engines and maybe have a little left to sell.


+

lordargent: // hmmm, could we make a nuclear powered waste disposal facility? IE, big electric furnaces powered by a nuclear power plant? Why bury shiat in a landfill when you can reduce it to a fine carbon sludge?


=

Ship, refinery, and furnaces powered by small nuke plant; sell refined hydrocarbons at various world ports for big money no whammy.

/it would also make a kick ass setting for movies/scifi stories/etc
 
2013-02-25 12:25:57 AM  

wildcardjack: Bondith: I think I've drifted from the original premise...

No, you're solidly on the premise. My degree in mechanical engineering came with chemistry classes more interested in metallurgy and corrosion than organic chemistry. I could build the valves and control system for what the chemists ask for, but I really need to bone up on o-chem. I'm on the lookout for a used REA or Schaum's on the topic while hunting books, but for some reason I haven't seen a used but not antiquated O-chem text book in a long time.


You're actually talking about industrial chemistry, which uses a lot of catalysis.  If you have access to journals, you can probably find papers on dehydrogenation.  I'd recommend heterogeneous ones, because they make separation easy and they tend to last longer.

Processing the initial feedstocks is the easy part.  The real trick is sorting out the stew of compounds you make.  You'd want to collaborate with a chemist (not me, I'm going into teaching and TV)
 
2013-02-25 01:44:15 AM  

SpdrJay: I am working on an invention that will turn old milk jugs into breast implants...


So they'll be NEW milk jugs!


this is the type of genius I applaud. You are a GOD.
 
2013-02-25 02:51:58 AM  
If it has already been tested for cars, it's reasonably safe enough to use in a plane.  A lot of light personal aircraft use car slightly modified car engines.
 
2013-02-25 03:48:44 AM  
Why do we think it's still a good idea to find new methods for pumping the air full of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses?
 
2013-02-25 03:53:53 AM  
grinding_journalist : /it would also make a kick ass setting for movies/scifi stories/etc

The year is 2140 and the Earth is a dying world.

Humanity has failed to settle space, and all natural resources have been depleted.

The only hope for mankind now is to gather and process all of the junk that found its way to the oceans over the centuries.
 
2013-02-25 04:32:56 AM  

lohphat: Why do we think it's still a good idea to find new methods for pumping the air full of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses?


Just wait. When the next Ice Age comes in 10,000 years you'll be asking "where the hell are all the greenhouse gases?"
 
2013-02-25 05:01:08 AM  

lordargent: grinding_journalist : /it would also make a kick ass setting for movies/scifi stories/etc

The year is 2140 and the Earth is a dying world.

Humanity has failed to settle space, and all natural resources have been depleted.

The only hope for mankind now is to gather and process all of the junk that found its way to the oceans over the centuries.


lol, fark 2140. that's what they get for being born in the future.
 
2013-02-25 05:45:55 AM  
Thermal depolymerization.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_depolymerization

"His flight will be powered by five tons of discarded packaging and waste collected from rubbish dumps and - using a pioneering technique - melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel.  "

That's nice, how much energy did it take to go around and collect these five tons of rubbish? And I suppose it's not just any rubbish, he had to sort it. How long did that take?
 
2013-02-25 06:30:43 AM  
What empty milk jugs may look like.

i.dailymail.co.uk

/would harness
//to "fuel" my "plane"
 
2013-02-25 07:18:56 AM  
pcmlifestyle.com

returns March 20th yall!!
 
2013-02-25 01:31:52 PM  
Pyrolysis and/or gasification are energy intensive processes. It's basically partial oxydation (incomplete combustion) of feed (which could be fossil fuels, biomass, organic waste/landfill waste/plastics) in a low-oxygen (less than the stoichiometric optimum for combustion) atmosphere at elevated pressure and temperatures.

The Germans did it in the '30s with coal (coal-to-liquid fuels technology) using the Fischer-Tropsch process. Pyrolysis is an even older process - think "Town Gas" in the 19th century.
 
zez
2013-02-25 01:55:02 PM  
encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com

It's the way of the road man, the way of the road.
 
2013-02-25 03:15:10 PM  
I use full milk jugs primarily for motorboating
 
2013-02-25 06:16:51 PM  
So . . . no one is touching on the idea of using a SINGLE ENGINE Cessna to fly over open ocean?  Over mountain terrain?  Over potentially unfriendly territory?

And it's not just any single engine Cessna, it's a DIESEL engine - which translates into "prototype" engine?
 
2013-02-25 06:51:53 PM  

mrmopar5287: So . . . no one is touching on the idea of using a SINGLE ENGINE Cessna to fly over open ocean?  Over mountain terrain?  Over potentially unfriendly territory?

And it's not just any single engine Cessna, it's a DIESEL engine - which translates into "prototype" engine?


There are a few Diesel aero-engines on the market, mostly well-tested automotive conversions. They're popular in Europe, where the price of automotive gas, let alone AvGas, is astronomical. The article doesn't mention what type, but it's not necessarily a prototype just because it's a Diesel. There are probably a lot fewer things that can go wrong with a Diesel as compared to a spark-ignition engine anyway. No magnetos, for example.
 
2013-02-26 04:41:15 AM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: No magnetos, for example.


YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS. (GAS.)

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
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