I posted a different news story on this subject in a different area, but it didn't attract much attention, possibly because it's a low-traffic area.
The latest news story I could find on the subject is [URL=http://www.wtopradio.com/media/april/0423_appel.ram
]here[/URL] (Real Player required).
The following appears courtesy of the Associated Press.
Posted on Wed, Apr. 16, 2003
Company demonstrates tires-to-oil conversion
PHILADELPHIA - Making oil from tires and turkey parts is one of the first projects planned by an entrepreneur who demonstrated a waste-eating maze of pipes and tanks Tuesday at a Philadelphia industrial site.
"It's a mini-refinery, that's all it is," Brian S. Appel, chief executive officer of Changing World Technologies, said of the pilot plant at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center on the Delaware River.
In one end went tires, ground to quarter-inch bits by a giant industrial shredder. Out the other end came a caramel-colored liquid Appel said compares with a light crude oil.
The product can be refined into fuels like those made from crude oil, he said.
"This looks like gasoline and diesel, it acts like it, smells like it. It is it," Appel said.
The demonstration at the Philadelphia plant, built in 1999, was a prelude to starting up the first commercial use of the process, a $20 million facility at ConAgra's Butterball turkey processing plant at Carthage, Mo.
The Missouri plant, expected to start operating in May or June, is designed to process 200 tons a day of leftover turkey bones, feathers, fats, grease and oils into 600 barrels of light oil.
Potential customers, according to Appel, are fuel blenders that would use the oil for home heating or power-generating fuel, refineries that would buy and refine it as they now refine crude oil, and utilities that would use it to generate power.
Oil from waste isn't yet price competitive with crude oil, Appel acknowledged.
The Missouri plant's production cost will be $15 a barrel, compared with $13 a barrel for a small petroleum exploration and production company and $5 a barrel for a major company, he said.
The cost will fall as more plants are built, said Appel, 44, formerly president of Atlantis International, a trading company, and executive vice president of Ticket World USA, predecessor of Ticketmaster.
In the meantime, he said Changing World Technology is urging Congress to approve a clean-fuel subsidy to make its oil competitive with crude from small production companies.
The company received a $5 million Environmental Protection Agency grant for the Missouri plant.
CWT and the $27 billion ConAgra Foods conglomerate formed a partnership, Renewable Environmental Solutions, to commercialize the waste-to-oil process, and are sharing the rest of the $20 million cost.
ConAgra was interested in CWT not only because of the potential for disposing of its own food processing and agricultural wastes, "but as a business," said Julie DeYoung, a ConAgra spokeswoman.
"Having an actual operating facility is the thing that will convince people that this is not just a pilot project," said former CIA Director James Woolsey, an adviser to the CWT.
Woolsey said converting waste to oil could reduce the dependence on Middle Eastern oil by the United States, which has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves but accounts for 25 percent of the world's consumption.
Appel cited environmental benefits.
"If we take the plastics and the tires and the fats and the bones and we turn that into fuels, that will mean much less fossil fuel will need to be dug up out of the ground," he said.
Eleven more projects are in the planning stages, Appel said, including one at a ConAgra turkey plant in Longmont, Colo., that has won a $2.5 million Department of Energy grant; one at a poultry plant in Enterprise, Ala., that has won a $3 million grant, and one at an onion dehydration plant in Fernley, Nev., that has won a $4 million grant.
Woolsey likened the process to an accelerated version of "the oldest of technologies, one that the earth uses when it puts vegetables and dinosaurs under pressure" to create petroleum.
Byproducts are water clean enough to discharge into a community treatment facility, and minerals, such as carbon black, which can be sold to make tires, fertilizer and other products, Appel said.
The process also produces a fuel made up mainly of methane, propane and butane, which is piped in the Philadelphia plant to two 75-kilowatt turbines that generate its electricity.
"You don't see flares. There's nothing vented to the atmosphere in this plant," Appel said.