Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oil from Dead Plastic Cats

Oops. The headline should have read: "Oil from Plastic and Dead Cats." Newsbusters provides a link to a New Scientist article that demonstrates some of the finer aspects of capitalism. A U.S. company is selling a microwave-based device that can convert plastic back into oil. But don't bother searching the mainstream media for news of this discovery. They're too -er- busy.

A US company is taking plastics recycling to another level – turning them back into the oil they were made from, and gas... All that is needed, claims Global Resource Corporation (GRC), is a finely tuned microwave and – hey presto! – a mix of materials that were made from oil can be reduced back to oil and combustible gas (and a few leftovers).

Key to GRC’s process is a machine that uses 1200 different frequencies within the microwave range, which act on specific hydrocarbon materials. As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas... GRC's machine is called the Hawk-10...

"Anything that has a hydrocarbon base will be affected by our process," says Jerry Meddick, director of business development at GRC, based in New Jersey... "Take a piece of copper wiring... It is encased in plastic – a kind of hydrocarbon material. We release all the hydrocarbons, which strips the casing off the wire." Not only does the process produce fuel in the form of oil and gas, it also makes it easier to extract the copper wire for recycling.

Similarly, running 9.1 kilograms of ground-up tyres through the Hawk-10 produces 4.54 litres of diesel oil, 1.42 cubic metres of combustible gas, 1 kg of steel and 3.40 kg of carbon black...

In related news, recycling may have hit paydirt, if you will, as a German inventor has discovered a way to turn dead cats into diesel fuel:

A German inventor says he's found a way to make cheap diesel fuel out of dead cats... Dr Christian Koch... said his method uses old tyres, weeds and animal cadavers... They are heated up to 300 Celsius to filter out hydrocarbon which is then turned into diesel by a catalytic converter.

He said the resulting "high quality bio-diesel" costs just 15 pence per litre... Koch said the cadaver of a fully grown cat can produce 2.5 litres of fuel - meaning around 20 cats are needed for a full tank.

He said: "I tank my car with my own diesel mixture and have driven it for 105,000 miles without any problems."

Hey, no one get any ideas! Our cat ain't dead yet!

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