Friday, April 15, 2005

burning turkey feces

A while back I covered Changing World Technologies - wherein I idly speculated that claims on their web page may have been overstated a squidge.

Well, the plot has thickened, and now smells.

Innovative turkey-to-oil plant eats money, spits out fowl odor
(A) revolutionary plant is turning 270 tons of poultry waste into 300 barrels of crude oil every day. That would be cause for wild celebration in many circles if not for two not-so-minor problems. First, the plant is losing buckets of money, and second, some residents of the town that once welcomed it now pretty much hate it.
It turns out that process of cooking turkey guts, feathers, feces and other waste gives off a horrible stench.

The stench - well, that kind of punishes the early adopters. What really hurts is when you are losing "buckets of money" you don't have positive EROEI.


Instead, he is considering a deal to build a plant in Ireland, where costs would be considerably less, and where a recent news article predicted a plant should be operating by next year.

Yes - move somewhere far, far away where your fame does not preceed you.

Thanks to Clark Williams-Derry of Cascadia Scorecard for the link.


At 3:22 PM, April 15, 2005, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

I wondered where the sulfur in the various amino acids and such was going in that process. Looks like they might have found it: break down into simpler molecules in a reducing environment, it becomes H2S.

Or maybe it's just the smell of decaying guts and stomach contents that never gets completely washed out of the trucks and tanks.

There's probably a solution for it whatever it is, but working the kinks out is going to be one of those things that takes time and money.

At 12:22 AM, April 17, 2005, Blogger JMS said...

Yeah, I think the smell can likely be fixed.

I am not so sure about net energy profit.

I really like the techology in terms of its cleanup ability - we could turn raw sewage into oil, defraying some of the cost of treating it (for example).

At 7:58 AM, April 18, 2005, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Unfortunately, raw sewage is probably not processable at a profit.  If you look at the original "Anything Into Oil" article from Discover, the sewage sludge sample was mixed with 25% grease-trap waste (heavy on the grease, I'm sure).  The oil output was 26%, closely tracking the 25% grease-trap fraction.  Would pure sludge even make enough gas to power the process?  I don't know, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

I could see this working if you had a source of low-cost process heat to eliminate the need for gas; this allows the process to run even at a negative energy balance, and the off-gas could be used for other needs.  What could supply such cheap process heat?  In sunny areas, concentrating solar might do it.

One of the problems with solar is the expense of storing it.  If you're using it to process sewage sludge and MSW into synthetic oil and gas, the storage problem is eliminated; further, you've found a way to effectively capture some of that heat as chemical fuel.  Win/win.

The gas would not be pure, but you might be able to clean it up enough for many uses with something like the CO2 Wash process.

At 12:24 AM, April 19, 2005, Blogger JMS said...

Well, I can deal with sewage not being processed at a profit - anything to defray costs. It isn't like we are processing it now - just dumping it.

I like your thoughts on solar though. In general, there is a lot promising solar technologies out there to assist in local communities.

Solar energy has given us a lot. It isn't just electric solar cells.

At 2:11 PM, April 19, 2005, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

"Not just solar cells" is so true, but ignored.  I wish I had a good summary of the amount of other energy which could be replaced (easily and cheaply) by solar DHW, proper lighting/shading of windows for winter heat gain, light shelves...


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