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Thermal Depolymerization

Via boing boing comes a story from Discover on a truly revolutionary new technology:

In an industrial park in Philadelphia sits a new machine that can change almost anything into oil.


"This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built this pilot plant... "This process can deal with the world's waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming."

Pardon me, says a reporter... but that sounds too good to be true.

"Everybody says that," says Appel. He is a tall, affable entrepreneur who has assembled a team... to develop and sell what he calls the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. According to Appel, waste goes in one end and comes out the other as three products, all valuable and environmentally benign: high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.

Unlike other solid-to-liquid-fuel processes such as cornstarch into ethanol, this one will accept almost any carbon-based feedstock. If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water...

[A] large chunk of the world's agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste may someday go into thermal depolymerization machines scattered all over the globe. If the process works as well as its creators claim, not only would most toxic waste problems become history, so would imported oil. Just converting all the U.S. agricultural waste into oil and gas would yield the energy equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil annually. In 2001 the United States imported 4.2 billion barrels of oil. Referring to U.S. dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, R. James Woolsey, former CIA director and an adviser to Changing World Technologies, says, "This technology offers a beginning of a way away from this."


Like the reporter, I can't help but think that this sounds too good to be true... but if it is true, it will be revolutionary in the true sense of the word.

I've wondered if and when future generations would not only recycle their own waste, but go back and clean up the messes left by previous generations (including ours). Could thermal depolymerization be a first step toward the repair of our planet?


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» More analysis of thermal depolymerization from -=-Nurse Ratched's Notebook-=-
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Yeah, that's amazing stuff...taken at face value, I would expect this to be huge news. Why isn't it? There's gotta be a catch.

I would say one catch is that we're still going to burn the stuff eventually.

yeah but think of what you will be burning... waste instead of fossil fuels. This is a big difference! When you burn fossil fuels, you are taking carbon out of the ground and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

When you burn waste, the carbon dioxide you produce comes from a cycle, not from the ground. So you would not be *adding* carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Example: a paper farm grows trees to have wood to make paper. The trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Wastepaper is turned into oil and burned. This produces carbon dioxide which matches the gas absorbed by the trees in the first place.

The thermal depolymerization process is not, of course, 100 percent efficient. Some energy must be used. This implies, even in a best-case scenario of high efficiency and widespread deployment, continued utilization of energy from outside the loop, so to speak. Fossil fuels and nuclear power are options, but certainly the preferable option would be some sort of renewable energy source.

As for the emissions from fuels produced through thermal depolymerization, the oil from the process could be used to run centralized power plants. Presuming gradual switchover to hydrogen-based automobiles, this would leave relatively few emissions sources to clean.

quote:"The thermal depolymerization process is not, of course, 100 percent efficient. Some energy must be used. This implies, even in a best-case scenario of high efficiency and widespread deployment, continued utilization of energy from outside the loop, so to speak."

really? The way he puts it in the original article in Discover magazine is: you bring in waste that contains 100 units of energy. You end up using 15 units of energy. Your final product has 85 units of energy. Now you have enough energy to process 5 more batches of waste.

He makes it sound like you add energy to the loop not from fossil fuels but rather by feeding waste which contains energy....?

Whether the energy to convert the waste comes from a source outside the system (fossil fuels, etc.) or inside the system (waste material itself), energy must be used to convert waste.

As you wrote:

...you bring in waste that contains 100 units of energy. You end up using 15 units of energy. Your final product has 85 units of energy.

ya. my point was that you don't have to think about fossil fuels or nuclear power or some other energy source to take care of the TDP plant. The waste stream takes care of it.

The critical point is where the input for the process comes from. It can be used on oil waste or shale or even coal. They would all be carbon sources that are not in essence recycled. Any carbon source like plastic that originally came from oil (you chemists please correct me)would also represent a net addition of co2 to the atmoshpere. But rubber which came from a plant would be a co2 neutral event as would all algricultural waste, even though 15% is consumed in the process since that came out of the atmosphere to begin with. But even plastics would solve an incredible solid waste problem. I believe this process if it is truly economically feasible could revolutionize society. I sure hope these pilot projects support the claims that have been made.

This is just one of many emerging technologies that convert waste streams to energy. For instance, do a websearch for plasma processing (companies like Westinghouse Plasma Corp., or Resorption Canada Ltd., or Startech Env.) and you will find technology that can convert municipal solid waste (or agricultural wastes such as corn stover or rice straw) into syngas (H2 and CO - take it a step further and do steam reforming for 'pure' H2). Or do a websearch for Sunfuel, which burns waste to syngas, then does gas-to-liquid converstion to a diesel fuel - projected to be competitive with the price of diesel in Europe. Or burn biomass directly for electricity production. Ultimately, the issues will be, which kind of fuel or power is needed (e.g. electricity versus transport fuel), which of these processes yield the highest energy efficiency, and which will be economically viable. Ultimately, all of our energy needs will compete with one another for biomass and waste.

I read the article a few weeks ago, and must say that it indeed sounds much too good to be true. One must be weary when one hears of such things. I just find it hard to believe that every single landfill could become worthy mine!
I remember watching something about the polution problem in Hong Kong on the discovery channel, how they export a zillion tons of waste material each day. These huge cities could become, in a sense, gas stations! Unbelievable!
This is the kind of enginering that will have a profound impact on mankind for the rest of time. I think that if the technology works as well as claimed, the inventor should become an international hero to be worshipped!

Has anyone considered the consequences of this technology on the world ecomony. It would be seriously disruptive. The ecomonies of many countries would be negatively affected on a large scale. These include Russia, Saudia Arabia, Mexico, Argentina, Libya, Iran, Venezuala, Nigeria etc, etc. (I must admit I wouldn't object to some of these countries being affected). It would also affect the oil companies (though they mention in the article no, I find that hard to believe).

Whenever there is a major change of the sort that this technology may produce, there is always the law of unintended consequences and that may apply here. When the world economy has to adjust to these large changes it can cause some fairly nasty side affects, even for countries that may seem to benefit from the changes. Any comments.

I remember the story of Paul Bunyan. When ever there is shift, there will be pain.
In the logging industry, the same quantity of trees are havested, but only a fraction of the number of workers are used - caused by better machines

So I say "Good"
This will help with the modernization of the 2nd and 3rd world areas and reduce the environmental impact in doing so.

You could be right. This may only affect 3rd world countries, but what happens if it affects you directly. Don't forget that there are major ecomomies that depend on oil (Britain, Norway) and secondary (Mexico) that buy U.S. products. (This is only a short list there are many more). If their economies suffer heavily due to lack of oil revenue it could cause a worldwide economic meltdown. If you had to suffer through a major recession would you be so easily saying good.

As to the issue of efficiency, always using a little more than you produce, that is legitimate, HOWEVER... think how much garbage and crap there is in the world. It would be a PLUS to use up all of that, wouldn't it? Albeit, when it's all gone, we would have to find something else to do, but we're also always forming new waste, and so are those turkeys.

From this article on the Discover website -

"Thermal depolymerization, Appel says, has proved to be 85 percent energy efficient for complex feedstocks, such as turkey offal: "That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock, we use only 15 Btus to run the process." He contends the efficiency is even better for relatively dry raw materials, such as plastics."

So not only does the process gobble waste, it produces more usable energy than it consumes. It's selfpowered. This is /neat/!

I wanna invest, but it's all private. :(

I read the article, too, and it said that the plant in Philadelphia has been around since 1999 and it is a small scale operation consuming only a few tons of waste materials in a 24 hour period. The $20 Million plant in Missouri is new and will be capable of consuming 200 tons of waste from the Butterball Turkey Plant (100 yards away) every 24 hours and produce 600 barrels of "light Texas Crude" from that mess of Turkey Guts. And they use the gas that is produced in the process to fuel that process, yielding a respectable 85% efficiency.

And, while it is true that using plastics in the process would continue to contribute to the CO2 in the atmosphere, using the oil from the process to make more plastics would eventually diminish the percentage to a near zero, due to the continued use of "bio waste". Also, it would keep the plastic out of the landfills. I read somewhere that disposable plastic diapers were the #1 contributor by volume to filling up the dumps.

As far as the economies that may be affected by this, most of the industrialized countries that produce oil do not produce as much as their people consume on an annual basis, so being able to reduce their pollution by human and animal waste while reducing the outflow of cash to purchase imported oil could do amazing positive things for their economies.

If people were free'd from the cost of energy, there would be a great deal more cash flowing in everyone's economy.

First of all, this technology WOULD in fact be a renewable resource. It is basically a form of solar power. Our agricultural system collects solar energy, converts it into plant and animal biomass.

This biomass is *mostly* used to fuel our bodies (2500 calories per day times 6 billion people...how many barrels per day of oil does THAT convert to??)

But a large percentage of that bioenergy is wasted as plant leftovers, animal guts, and human waste. What this process does is convert all that solar-derived bioenergy into a form (oil) that our society can easily pump back into the energy grid.

Basically we're tapping into that part of the solar/agricultural energy grid which we've traditionally ignored. Very, very smart.

If it works, that is. 15% efficiency is hard to believe.

PS. none of these comments apply to plastic, of course. that is just a form of oil pumped from the ground. And actually, plastic in a landfill would stay inert and never release it's carbon to the atmosphere, so in the case of plastic we are actually creating more pollution. That's not the case for biomass, because it would decay and release all it's carbon to the atmosphere anyway.

Hope it works, it would be a huge boon to mankind, but I'm not holding my breath.

Geez, way to many negative naysayers. You people would have wanted to stop the first automobilies from transforming society. Yes, the horse stables and horse shoe makers were disrupted, but a new world emerged. This was a dirty world with way more wealth and way too much garbage. Give this fellow a standing ovation. This is the best and simplest idea that actually works, not a prototype. I'm going to try to invest, not snipe at it.

This is classic pseudoscience - bordering on fraudulent!

FROM Discovery article May 03 :
"Thermal depolymerization, Appel says, has proved to be 85 percent energy efficient for complex feedstocks, such as turkey offal: "That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock, we use only 15 Btus to run the process."

"Their energy numbers are [highly] specious. They give efficiency as the energy content of the input waste over the energy use. That's flat-out misleading. They should tell us usable energy of the output fuel. That's all the matters. We do not rate coal plants by the energy of the coal they burn, after all, all we care about is the output. This little evasion suggests that they are not being completely honest in their entire analysis." (Bonehead at Metafilter.com)

An actual [honest] measure of TDP efficiency would contrast usable energy content of the OUTPUT (not of the inputs) to the energy required to drive the reaction/process.

"[This] is called marketing. Anybody selling anything has an interest in convincing you that it will give you eternal life and the Buddha's ten secrets of personal enlightenment. Their energy estimate is so dishonest that it hardly seems useful to give it any more time. A 100-BTU chicken couldn't possibly yield more than a few BTU's of useable fuel, a small percentage of which could actually be converted into useable energy. It's probably better to just heat your home by burning the chicken." {Atlantic Online post}

WRT Economics:
"If the New, Improved Poo Fuel and OPEC oil both come to market at $30/barrel or so, the only difference will be in the profit margin for Poo Energy Co. " {metafilter.com post}

This is NOT new. Chemistry is chemisty, period. It sure looks like a pyrolytic process to me, even though they've given it a snazzy new name. Their comparison chart also sets up pyrolysis as a straw man -- pyrolysis can also handle slurries,liquids, etc. and yields highly uniform products. So this appears to be 'fancy'[read: hyped, creatively marketed] pyrolysis to me. Also appears to be a 'classic' example of "research" finding the results they want to find. Virtually all experimental design (methodology, instrumentation, analytical tools) are carefully chosen (crafted) to identify the expected outcome. Choices are directed by prejudice - in this case, economic. Given sufficient data, statistics can be employed to 'prove' any theorum. Unless someone can tell me what I'm missing, of course...

"Most men think that they think, but what they are actually doing is rearranging their prejudice"(Bertrand Russell)

Get a grip folks! TANSTAAFL

Dr Mac, you posted:

"Their energy numbers are [highly] specious. They give efficiency as the energy content of the input waste over the energy use. That's flat-out misleading. They should tell us usable energy of the output fuel. That's all the matters. We do not rate coal plants by the energy of the coal they burn, after all, all we care about is the output. This little evasion suggests that they are not being completely honest in their entire analysis." (Bonehead at Metafilter.com)

An actual [honest] measure of TDP efficiency would contrast usable energy content of the OUTPUT (not of the inputs) to the energy required to drive the reaction/process"

I don't think the way they present their numbers is particularly dishonest. It is no more or less honest than any other way you could present them. The numbers are perfectly clear, within the limits of a Discover popular science article.

Maybe they are accurate, maybe they aren't, but don't tell me you or the other poster can look in your magic ball and tell us, based on the wording of that article.

There is also nothing particularly "pseudo-scientific" about any of this. Depolymerization is an old, old chemical process, perfectly well known. The only reason it hasn't been big news in the past is that it has required more energy to perform, than the useful energy content of the materials being processed.

Now these people are claiming to have invented a process that reduces that processing energy required. AGain, no reason to assume that their claim, on it's face, is false. In theory, if we could figure out some sort of really clever trick, one could depolymerize materials with very little energy. There is no thermodynamic reason you couldn't...since you are not actually *adding* energy to the materials, just snipping chemical bonds.

Of course, what they are claiming to do is VERY difficult chemically, so we have every reason to be skeptical, just as people should be skeptical of all big claims.

But there is no reason to use words like "pseudoscience". That is inappropriate, and insulting. What would the scientific world be like if EVERY researcher ran around slinging those insults at any competitor who made a big claim?

"Their energy estimate is so dishonest that it hardly seems useful to give it any more time. A 100-BTU chicken couldn't possibly yield more than a few BTU's of useable fuel, a small percentage of which could actually be converted into useable energy."

And THAT is one of the poorest arguments I've ever read.

"An actual [honest] measure of TDP efficiency would contrast usable energy content of the OUTPUT (not of the inputs) to the energy required to drive the reaction/process"

If you don't get the point from the above, clear, statement, then you never will (because you do not want to)

"Depolymerization is an old, old chemical process, perfectly well known."

That's what I strongly implied - No New Chemistry here - just new marketing ploy.

Depolymerization is not pseudoscience. TDP, however is presented in such a (misleading, disingenuous, non-scientific )way that it quacks (if it walks, sounds, looks like a duck . . .)

Ever hear of per review?

Are you an investor in this 'technology' or what?

Has anyone thought what this process will mean for the THIRD WORLD economies, if it it PROVEN to perform as the "marketing claims" suggest?? Not all of them have vast reserves of petroleum in the ground. But almost ALL of them have WASTES that they cannot efficiently dispose of. JUST GETTING RID OF THE WASTES is worth the price of admission, especially to those countries still trying to pole vault into the 21st century.
So, OF COURSE, you cynical...people (I must use this term on a public post!) suggest that it is ALL "smoke and mirrors," without any scientific or engineering basis. I'm guessing that data from the ConAgra plant in Missouri will show soon enough if this technology is for real or not, and if there are any significant drawbacks. In the meantime, either PROVE your POINT with data, or take out a patent yourself!

nE(∑ inputs) + nE (processing power requirement) => nE (∑usable output) – nE(∑ losses)
where: n = quantity of measure in consistent units

SINCE the purveyors of TDP do not report an entire side (nE out or nE loss) of the above equation they cannot state the efficiency of their process by reporting only the other side. They almost certainly know Eout and Eloss but they do not report same. That fact alone is ‘curious’ at best. Basing an ‘efficiency’ rating on hidden/disguised information is suspicious enough. But, implying to a gullible audience that 100 in + 15 in = 85% efficient is FRAUD. They might have achieved an 85% efficiency recovery process but they can't prove it with the information presented. This conjurer’s trick might go over well ohm Madison Avenue (working fine in marketing) but hardly withstanding informed scientific scrutiny.

Take a look at my latest entry on this subject. Patent numbers generously provided.

"This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, . . ."


Have these folks succumbed to a Messianic complex?

Well, at least they couched their assert with phrasing "three of the. . ." versus "the three. . ."!

A forum (thread) wrt "the three (or 'n') biggest problems facing mankind" could prove informative as well as entertaining.

FRANK - how about it?
- present your top 3 (n)list!

. . . since there are so many possibilities from which to select, perhaps this topic could be further subdivided into A) anthropological (e.g. sociopolitical) and B)technological (the sciences) categories.

In response to achoo about the matter of CO2 emissions, here is a passge that was originally in the arcticle that was not included on this website:

Can Thermal Depolymerization Slow Global Warming?

If the thermal depolymerization process WORKS AS Claimed, it will clean up waste and generate new sources of energy. But its backers contend it could also stem global warming, which sounds iffy. After all, burning oil creates global warming, doesn't it?
   Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter—plants take it in; animals eat plants, die, and decompose; and plants take it back in, ad infinitum. Since the industrial revolution, human beings burning fossil fuels have boosted concentrations of atmospheric carbon more than 30 percent, disrupting the ancient cycle. According to global-warming theory, as carbon in the form of carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, it traps solar radiation, which warms the atmosphere—and, some say, disrupts the planet's ecosystems.
    But if there were a global shift to thermal depolymerization technologies, belowground carbon would remain there. The accoutrements of the civilized world—domestic animals and plants, buildings, artificial objects of all kinds—would then be regarded as temporary carbon sinks. At the end of their useful lives, they would be converted in thermal depolymerization machines into short-chain fuels, fertilizers, and industrial raw materials, ready for plants or people to convert them back into long chains again. So the only carbon used would be that which already existed above the surface; it could no longer dangerously accumulate in the atmosphere. "Suddenly, the whole built world just becomes a temporary carbon sink," says Paul Baskis, inventor of the thermal depolymerization process. "We would be honoring the balance of nature."
— B.L.


Hey folks.

I'm pretty jazzed about this idea, as far as dealing with waste products (assuming it works as described. I'm not qualified to weigh in on that debate.). However, I find the claim that it would help address global warming a bit unbelievable.

The idea, as I understand it, is that by running things like plant and animal waste through the process, and then burning the resulting oil, you wouldn't be adding anything to the natural carbon cycle, since any carbon released from burning the oil had to have been absorbed by the feedstock in the first place.

Fine, even if that's true, if a chicken dies, gets eaten by a person and then pooped out, wouldn't most of the carbon in the poop (i.e. in the chicken) be absorbed by the ground and the plants growing in it? If the chicken is run throught the TDP process, however, and the resulting oil is burned, the carbon from the chicken forms carbon dioxide, goes into the atmosphere, and contributes to global warming. So, even if we're not changing the total amount of carbon in the system, it seems to me that we'd be changing the relative concentrations of it between the atmosphere and the ground. Essentially, we'd be taking solid carbon out of plants and animals, turning it into carbon dioxide, and pumping that into the atmosphere, which in turn would increase global warming.

Everyone who is focusing on the potential effect of TDP on world economies is missing an essential element to that equation: time. If TDP proves to be as efficient and effective as Baskis and Appel claim, there will be countries and companies ordering their own machines for use worldwide, but this is not going to happen like a whirlwind. There will be quite a number of eyes watching the Missouri plant, and probably another plant or two a year set up over the next two or three years -- probably all within North America. After that, assuming success, the growth rate will accelerate fairly rapidly, but it still won't be fast enough to entirely destabilize any countries or companies that have been doing their homework. There's no need for the Chicken Little act right now, just watchfulness and analysis.

maybe they were claiming

100 btu waste - n - m = 85 btu product

where n = energy to process
m = losses


impressive since diesel engines are very efficient
at *half* 85!

As I see it, even on a best case scenario, it would take years for this technology to reach 100% usage which would provide the cushion needed for the the oil producers to transition. Any technology that reduces the USA's dependance on foreign energy sources is a good thing, both for us and them. Since it appears that nuclear fusion will forever remain the energy source of the future (it was only ten years away when I was in college in the 70's) I hope this process is for real.

you said "maybe they were claiming
100 btu waste - n - m = 85 btu product
where n = energy to process
m = losses

What I read in their reported claim is:

100 btu waste + n = 100 btu product - n
= 85 net product out
where n = energy to process = 15 btu

that is not merely ridiculous and intentionally misleading but borders on fraudulent.

Sure, their data/results are understandably proprietary. They hold the patent afterall.

However, that does not provide 'authorization'- or indemnify them - to purvey intentionally misleading efficiency claims.

TDP may eventually help reduce the rate of landfill closures and perhaps even minimally mitigate geo-C withdrawals and more doubtfully slow oil revenue flows into middle-Eastern fiefdoms (et al)
from a 'science' perspective: a) this is not new, b) reported information does not support their claims, c) has not received ANY 'per review' (that I can find), d)the purposeful misrepresentation/manipulation of the basic tenets of thermodynamics and energy transfer (to an audience of gullible neophytes and dreamy futurists) carries less then zero weight.

WRT the 'per review' issue: these actors surely know (appreciate) the value (benefit) of same - and since they have apparently chosen to not release (open) their methodology/data/conclusions for scruntiny, then I strongly suggest they have an undisclosed ulterior motive for so doing. When coupling this with item 'd' (above), I cannot restrain my cultivated skepticism. Since they have 'cried Wolf!' already (in my view), my requirement for 'proof' has expotenitally increased. This is not meant to imply that TDP can't or won't be economic in a given circumstance or otherwise have merit under specific conditions. To present it as salvation for the woes of a technological world is to say the least - audacious. Time will tell but 85% efficient (recovery) - I think NOT!

indeterminate 1 a: not definitely or precisely determined or fixed: VAGUE b: not known in advance c: not leading to a definite end or result 2: having an infinite number of solutions 3: being of one of the seven undefined mathematical expressions (e.g. 0/0, 0^0, 1^infinity, etc.)

TDP's claims are akin to stating "anything divided by itself = 1" This is not true! - not in math, chemistry, physics or biology.

Until and unless they provide (to any audience) the numerical values of BOTH the numerator and demoninator of their mystical TDP division, a solution is not possible.

To say that x/n = 85, where: x=100 and n is unknown is a farce. As it is for division, so to is it for multiplication, addition/subtraction, expotentiation, etc).

Let's not jump to any conclusions. I think we all remember what happened with "IT," the so-called miracle machine that flopped. There is one major difference, though, in that while "IT" was shrouded in mistery, we already know essentially how this depolymerization machine works and what it's capable of. As far as other nations' economies are concerned, we're under no obligation to support them (and possibly their terrorists.) Freedom from OPEC is worth it all, but remember, it's all mute when fuel cells become mainstream.

Whether or not this process proves to be economically feasible is in my thinking almost secondary, it would, of course, increase its chance as a surviving technology. The needs for companies that produce high volumes of organic waste to be able to environmentally dispose of these wastes are primary. Something has to be done with it. There are many ways to dispose of organic waste, but almost none of them provide usable products of any consequence.
The fact that this process appears to convert the previously troublesome matter to usable byproducts, that don’t have to gotten ride of (generally expensive), and have marketable value is a huge gain for companies. They can then claim at the same time that they are helping the environment by recouping energy that would have been wasted and supplying a renewable fuel (assuming we burn it in cars).
I hope this pans out; it really bothers me that we discard colossal amounts of potential energy in the form of organic materials. If it does prove to be economically feasible we should see free market forces apply considerable pressure for its implementation.

The comments about this being an "old" process and chemistry is chemistry must not have read the article carefully. The "new" thing is how they deal with the water in the process. They clearly state the effort to drive out water in the old process made it an energy hog. The new process uses water to help the breakdown of the waste and when it is flashed off as steam, it is used to preheat the incoming stream. Now I don't know if this is all hype or not anymore than anyone else does, but it seems to me if Conagra is buying there must be something to it. Surely their scientists and lawyers and managers have checked it out and been convinced that the process works. I doubt they would build such a complex 100 yards from their largest facility if it was bogus.

sticky notes " yes, true. not saying otherwise.

chilly dog - yes, true, Conagra has seen the 'numbers' that CWT undoubtedly generated, we haven't. They may have actually achieved the conversion efficiencies they claim. But you can not draw their conclusions from the limited infomation with sound thermodynanics. Not from the information cited in the pop-press article or from marketing info. And I read it, and I know enough chemistry and enough research chemists & biolgists to be aware that this not a new methodology. But, at the sought for industrial scale, yes it's 'news'. It may be environmentally friendly (let's hope). It may well be economic at some level (the investors hope), perhaps lucratively so! Particularly when factoring mitigating downstream consequences of currently available alternatives. However, my prior points (posts)remain unchallenged and unrefuted. Show me the net E(output) value per unit input and then one can speak of efficiencies.

An interesting article and a promising technology; however, we still cannot seem to break out of the "treatment parigdam"

You still must generate a waste to make this process work. We should be focusing our technological efforts and venture capital upstream to find solutions that actually prevent waste generation. I think the term for this activity is still called pollution prevention!

Really. How do you propose to prevent waste generation? Kill all the people? As I understand it, waste generation is part of the natural cycle, ie we all generate waste. Having this process, if it works as claimed, would take what we have been burning, dumping or burying since the dawn of civilization and turn it into something useful.

Doesn't dr mac realize that we are not talking about energy-to-work conversion here, but conversion from one form of potential energy to another? You could burn the chicken to get the energy from it, or you can burn a small portion of it to convert the rest into a different form of potential energy. An analogy would be the process of coking coal, which uses up a portion of the energy of coal to convert it into a source of potential energy more suitable to steelmaking

Dr. Mac,

Whether or not your rational arguments are correct (i.e. that there was insufficient information provided in the Discover article, that the depolymerization process is old tech, and so on), the remainder of your claims are just as rabidly nonsensical as the views of those you'd refer to as gullible hippy dreamers.

Is anyone claiming that thermal depolymerization is a free lunch, thermodynamically or otherwise? Of course not.

And yet, you're suggesting that we should look upon CWT as borderline-fraudulent pseudoscientists . . . that they're trying to hide something, holding back information in a suspicious manner, and so on.

Dude, lighten up. First off, your own claim that it's old tech requires that they can't possibly be shifty-eyed evildoers who run from peer review . . . obviously, the basic procedure is well-known. Even beyond your foaming-at-the-mouth self-contradictions, though, there's the simple fact that you need to lighten up.

The Discover interview was with the salesman of the technology, not its inventor . . . you should not judge it as a scientific treatise, but as the sales pitch that it was. Then, if your curiosity is piqued, you should try to learn more, instead of declaring it heresy and demanding that everyone involved be burned at the stake.

would someone please think of the children!?!

RE bobby mac
] Doesn't dr mac realize that we are not talking about energy-to-work conversion here, but conversion from one form of potential energy to another?

YES, what's your point. your steel analogy is valid (partially) but irrelevanmt to the point I raise.

RE: MacDaddy
] "you should not judge it as a scientific treatise, but as the sales pitch that it was"

My point exactly. And, how much of what is pitched at 'you' is made manifest. My intent is not to denigrate worthiness TDP or to impune CWT's integrity. I hope this 'industrial novelty' is as avertised. I however do note a (perceived) conclusion [claim wrt efficiency) being drawn (stated)without provision of quantatative support(s).

]"foaming-at-the-mouth self-contradictions . . "

Chapter and Verse please

] "instead of declaring it heresy and demanding that everyone involved be burned at the stake.

NOT - I have stated I perceive the concept to be sound (as are the patent rights) and I think it may/would have significant utility in specific applications plus could well be VERY economic, 'friendly', etc. No heresy engaged or stakes required. I suggested the cautionary acceptance of superfical 'information'- e.g. beware of both wolves and sheep in any clothing'.

So who is foaming-at-the-mouth!!

] “Biology is the study of the informational complexity from which particulate existence, suspended on 4D event horizon surfaces, can observe and perpetuate the universe!” Samuel A. Cox

RE bobby mac
] Doesn't dr mac realize that we are not talking about energy-to-work conversion here, but conversion from one form of potential energy to another?

YES, what's your point. your steel analogy is valid (partially) but irrelevanmt to the point I raise.

RE: MacDaddy
] "you should not judge it as a scientific treatise, but as the sales pitch that it was"

My point exactly. And, how much of what is pitched at 'you' is made manifest. My intent is not to denigrate worthiness TDP or to impune CWT's integrity. I hope this 'industrial novelty' is as avertised. I however do note a (perceived) conclusion [claim wrt efficiency) being drawn (stated)without provision of quantatative support(s).

]"foaming-at-the-mouth self-contradictions . . "

Chapter and Verse please

] "instead of declaring it heresy and demanding that everyone involved be burned at the stake.

NOT - I have stated I perceive the concept to be sound (as are the patent rights) and I think it may/would have significant utility in specific applications plus could well be VERY economic, 'friendly', etc. No heresy engaged or stakes required. I suggested the cautionary acceptance of superfical 'information'- e.g. beware of both wolves and sheep in any clothing'.

So who is foaming-at-the-mouth!!

] “Biology is the study of the informational complexity from which particulate existence, suspended on 4D event horizon surfaces, can observe and perpetuate the universe!” Samuel A. Cox

The point is that the figure of 85% is not unreasonable and that there is not nearly enough quantitative information in the article to make the blanket statements you posted on Apr 26 and later. Why not read it for what it is, a rather general article on a new process that may or may not work out? It's not like you can even invest in it.

Everyone is making valid comments. Now I have to remember the article but the point that I thought was being made....for 15 gallons of energy equivalents in, 100 gallons of energy equivalents came out. In the past using a one step process it took almost 100 gallons of energy equivalents in to accomplish the same thing. Not very economical. The main point seems to be there is a large margin here to find economical uses for this process. So combine this with the fact that nothing toxic comes out, only what are claimed to be useful products. As I have looked at some of the research articles on TDP it would appear almost impossible to come up with an efficiency figure. Everytime temp, pressure or cooking times change the output changes, not to mention the drastic effect of input. I am willing to give this company the benefit of the doubt. I think they were trying to take a complicated concept and simplify so it could be understandable. Has anyone tried emailing the company and asking for some efficiency figures? Assuming it is that important.

Finally you could have a process that is 99.99999% efficient but if it requires a large highly paid workforce to operate then it will be less useful. It is the economics that will drive this process. 15 in, 100 out.....leaves me hopeful that something big and useful is brewing.

Actually it's 100 in, 85 out. 15 in and 100 out would be 666% efficiency

RE: Doc 4/30/03 12:08PM

] . . ." the point that I thought was being made....for 15 gallons of energy equivalents in, 100 gallons of energy equivalents came out."

Quoting the Article (reporter)
] "Thermal depolymerization, Appel says, has proved to be 85 percent energy efficient for complex feedstocks, such as turkey offal: "That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock[INPUT], we use only 15 Btus to run the process." He contends the efficiency [85% !]is even better for relatively dry raw materials, such as plastics."

My point is that "feedstock" is the INPUT - not OUTPUT

Interesting discussion here, especially about the 85%/15% figures.

The way I read the statement is that if you take a quantity of waste, run it through the process, you generate x amount of usable energy products (oil, gas, whatever) and that the process itself uses energy equivalent to .15x, thus leading to a figure of .85x efficiency.

Think of a car engine. According to estimates and figures I've seen long ago, a car engine, at idle for the sake of arguement, is capable of producing x amount of torque, however an amount close to .5x is used by the engine itself just to keep itself running and to turn the alternator, a/c compressor, power steering pump, water pump, etc., thus a car engine could be thought of as .5x efficient. Similar setup there.

Sounds like a simple email to the company for clarification is in order. The 100 BTUs in the feedstock.....does it refer to input or output? Only recoverable output makes sense to me. Since theoretically all matter can be converted into energy (physicists feel free to correct me)how do you arrive at 100 BTU of input? I will write the company and post their reply.

Re Sean
I think you mean .95x efficient, but your analogy is not really to the point because the .5x you cite is but one of the many losses (and a minor one at that) that an IC engine suffers in converting gasoline to work. In the TDP process we are converting one form of energy equivilant material to another. The 85% figure must be taken as a very rough estimate, and not worth arguing over, because the output is not all in usable energy forms, but also as minerals and such

Algebraically a+b = b+a
and (a+b)+c = a + (b+c)
(a-b)+C = (a+c)-b
etc. (for real numbers)

e.g. If: 100 + 15 = n - 15
then: n = 100 - 15 = 85

I do not judge the relative (anticipated) merits of TDP in socioeconomics.

FACT 1: TDP is NOT algebra. It involves complex thermodynamic transformations in organic chemical compounds.

Fact 2: Entropy is real and inviolate
1 a: a measure of the unavailabile energy in a closed thermodynamic system so related to the state of the system that a change in the measure varies with change in the ratio of the increment of heat taken in to the absolute temperature at which it is absorbed.
1 b: a measure of the disorder of a closed thermodynamic system in terms of a constant multiple of the natural logarithm of the probability of the occurence of a particular molecular arrangement of the system that by suitable choice of a constant reduces to the measure of unavailable energy.

I do suggest with a high degree of confidence the probability that the TDP process, regardless of it's X% 'efficiency'rating (however defined, documented, proprietary, economic, worthwhile etc, etc.) is NOT as (equally)'pure' as the associative princple above. Period.

That is my ONLY point. I judgeth [merit] NOT lest I be judged .

Some posters here appear to 'think' I am on a some type of witch hunt - and responding as if [like] I had just pissed on their socks - or stripped their favorite Barbie(^TM)!

I am investing in facts - not conjecture or opinion.

CWT 'may' have achieved converstion (transfer) efficiency of 85% - now wouldn't that be special !!!

If the input energy equivalent is 100 Btu and the output energy equivalent is 85 Btu and the 15 Btu difference is used to run the process, what is the efficiency percentage?
Do we care, if it works and makes energy from waste?

Truth is a majority on one.

Love is a religion of two.

Every sperm is sacred.

In its own way.

U of waterloo research on thermal depolymerization.

The numbers seem to agree with the first stage % and products of the "gizzard wizard".

The second stage cooking c/w reflux distillation and a thermally coupled desuperheater will just improve the numbers.

I think these guy's have a great idea that works. I want one deal with all the b.s.

RE: paper referenced above by reinharg

Yes, I read it a few weeks back, and again today.
Yes, I understand it. No 'shock & awe' here!
Classical presentation.
Note: these authors reference Appell

Note that they do NOT make ANY claims regarding "efficiency"of their "TCC" process (supported or nonsupported). The energy fraction recovered as a percentage (fraction) of energy input is irrelevant.

They do state they have acheived oil yields as high as 63% (parameter dependent) of the total volatile solids in the input feedstock (swine manure in this case). (- for lay people, this not 63% of the mass, energy, etc. of the INPUT)

The extracted oils showed an average Heat Value of 30,500 kJ/kg. (that's per kg of extracted oil, not of the per unit input). The energy content of the oils extracted is the primary relevant consideration to its suitablity as a economic/viable fuel.

Per Review!! What a concept.

Remember Dr. Mac,

Conservation of Energy/Mass. Energy is not being destroyed in this process. Every single element that goes in comes out again. That proves that the number of BTUs of input is IDENTICAL to the number of BTUs of output.

The output is then distilled and separated in a maner similar to classic oil refinery. The gas produced is used to heat the process, and all other outputs are sold.

These outputs include Oil from most polymers, Carbon Black from car tires, Metals, Calcium from turkey bones, and Hydrochloric Acid from Polyvinal Chloride (did I spell that correctly), or PVC.

Wait a minute. Chemical bonds can raise the energy contained by a polymer, as well as reduce it. An energy released by the breakup of bonds will help to heat the process. Any energy needed to seperate the bonds will stay in the chemicals as they are separated and sold.

You wouldn't be 'pushing my leg' would you? Jerking my chain?

Yep, elements immutable
Energy conserved.
In so far as entropy permits

however - not my point.
words are prejudicial
choose them wisely
and I will attempt likewise

I think that some people are getting misled by the whole 100-15=85 equation here. This process converts an unusable product (waste) into a more easily used product (oil and carbon black) using energy. There's nothing unfeasable about this. It's just a conversion.

Whats going to happen to the oilpatch, in Alberta our economy would crash if the oilpatch was put out of business.

offered for your consideration . . . That's the signpost up ahead . . .

for each kg in your body there are 3kg of bacteria (and CWT) waiting to convert you.

Soylent Tan is people . . .

Dr. Mac:

It's a shame that all of this virtual space is wasted by your masturbatory rants, you arrogant, condescending pedant.

Most of the people here are smart enough to think critically and to be skeptical of claims made by company executives. And who cares about those aren't?

Even if this process were to break even in your thermodynamic terms, it would warrant further development.

So go...git...get out...

Yours Truly,

Dr. Finklestein

Dr. Mac,

Any particular topics in Quantum Chemistry, Bonding, Reaction Energy, and Reaction Pathways you want me to look at? I have taken AP-Chemistry and am aware of most of the concepts that are presented on this website.

I can't seem to find much of a logical flow from point to point in your posts. All I can see is you trying to say that they are being fraudulant with their data.

As some people here have said, Read the whole article.

Where else could the energy go than to the output? Since everything that goes in comes out again, this is basically a fancy refinery.

I am also working on a research project about this right now, so I am trying to find as much positive and negative information about this as possible.

uhhhh...PEER review, right?


BTW Dr. Mac,

Soylent Green is People.

circuit boy

links provided FYI
if you find future utility (tools) there- great
if not


Ahh! YES my bad

Dear moderator F_-queststein

It is not my purpose to provide for your edification. I could recommend remedial reading course to you, but why bother.

Beauty,like arrogance, intelligence and other attitudes exists soley in the eye of the beholder

Clowns have grins
Fools rush in
Neurotics have problems
Fools rush in
Psychotics have solutions
Fools rush in

Oh, and do the rest of us a favor and don't forget to whip your dog (or beat your wife) today.

I recall when I first read the article on thermal depolymerization in Discover magazine I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. In fact, I even checked the cover to make sure that I was reading the May, not the April, issue. My next thought was that it was a hoax, ala Martin Flieschmann and Stanley Pons and their miraculous cold fusion machine. But on further reflection and a bit of research, I think these folks might be on to something.

Several facts lead me to this conclusion.

First - The folks developing this technology have little need to pull the wool over the eyes of the general populace. Changing World Technologies is a privately held corporation and, as others have pointed out, the average schmuck reading Discover magazine just plain can’t invest in it. Since they already have their backers in place, including the agri-business corporate monolith ConAgra, they would derive little benefit from promoting the process in the popular press. Indeed, one of the more predictable results would be discussions amongst smart people such as the one currently happening here on this blog. Unfortunately, like most forums like this, the strident bleatings of the nattering nabobs of negativity (thank you Mr. Safire) tend to get the lion’s share of attention.

Second – According to the article, CWT is not only talking the talk, they’re walking the walk. They have already proven the concept well enough with their pilot plant to convince ConAgra to cough up $20 million for a full-scale plant at the Butterball facility. $20 million – that’s not turkey feed. Even if the efficiency of the process and the value of the resultant products merely breaks even, both ConAgra and the world at large benefit - ConAgra has found a politically and environmentally acceptable method of dealing with their waste stream and we don’t have to deal with all the negative aspects of the traditional utilization/disposal methods. The fact they are already in the process of scaling up the technology to commercial operations explains why there is so little emphasis placed on per (peer?) review by the developers of the technology. They want to exploit the technology, not garner academic accolades.

Third – Wishful thinking. It has always been my contention that if the USA were energy independent our political interest in most of the rest of the world would virtually vanish. If we controlled our own energy destiny, countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and any of the other festering pits of fanaticism and barbarism in that part of the world would no longer have the rest of us by the short hairs. Personally, I’m tired of being held hostage by fourth-rate medieval dictators and despots just so my sister-in-law can drive her full-size SUV to her spinning class. And don't even get me started on sending our sons and daughters to the Mideast to die for their ungrateful populace...

I hope that in the next few years TDP delivers even a quarter of what it promises. I think it would be the start of a better world for everyone.


Thank You. I concur with your assesment unreservedly. Excellant articulation.

The degree of highly 'invested' posters here has amazed me. Those 'select' few who can not "read" or otherwise follow a logical construct (pertinent or not) have a remarkable tendency to ascribe (transfer) their personal limitations to any who may challenge them (at any level). No doubt this is due, at least in part, to the poor lighting conditions in their colon. To those of such propensity I can only suggest installation of a bulb with higher wattage.

Both worship and insult are limited to the extent of one's imagination.

FYI, I have direct personal experience wrt 'world changing technologies' and how the megaliths (in my case ADM) actively conspire, pervert, and usurp 'technologies' which can boost their corporate image and/or revenue stream (or limit competition) at the expense of appropriate technology transfer to people (nations) in greatest (real) "need". Hence my cynicism. I do hope TDP is developed for the benefit of humanity and not merely for the investors. However, when is the last time this actually happened in multinational corporate enterprise?

TDP can only become "CWT" if the world beyond the corporate boardroom can actually access/employ it. The interests of corporate boards are not likely the interests of humanity at large. That they shall attempt implementation of TDP-CWT in a manner that can maximize actual benefit to 'our' shrinking planet is indeed "wishful thinking".

dr mac:

I didn't ask for your edification. I would go to someone with real wisdom for that.

Your reflection of our hostility towards you just proves all the points made earlier.


Dr. Finklestein

It is the economics of this process that will determine if all mankind benefits especially when you look at the capital investment required. I hope Conagra makes billions off of it. While that won't benefit me directly it will indirectly. The last thing we need is something uneconomical that gets government backing. Ecomonics drives realtively efficient decision making. Okay, those with agendas, take aim....

I emailed and called the company. No response, no return calls. Tried calling one of their partners and got the same response. I was upfront with all of them and let them know this was for an internet discussion. I can therefore understand my low priority. If anyone works for the press there is a number just for you at the CWT website. I am just not comfortable faking credentials.

Here is the response from my eMail request to CWT.


Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, our cost and operating data is
confidential. We are however, competitive with E&P costs.

-- Original Message --
From: <CircuitSoft@GMX.net>
To: <cwt@invision.net>
Sent: April 25, 2003 9:59 AM
Subject: Website Question or Comment

I am working on the Minnesota technical writing Graduation Standard right now. I need information that might interest a student who is exploring this technology, including cost compared to oil imports.

What's E&P?

Just think of the ramifications if this is true. It would change everything. Would they even dig for oil anymore? It would cost more to find it and pump it out of the ground than it would be worth. Maybe there would be huge algae farms next to power plants.

In the future, maybe they could shrink the system to fit inside robots. The robots would then seek out and eat anything with carbon for more energy, including humans! Scary

checked out offal (fat and tallow cost) ~$45/mton in 1996


Crunched numbers for 350hp grinder---~21 gjoule/day

Heat 200 tons to 500f--------~200gjoule/day

Lots of spare.

10 tons of lpg produced-------~400 gjoule

Gas produced will run the system easily.

Sell 600 barrels at spot---$25per---15k$/day

Cost of 200tons input-------~9k$

Diff without operating costs----~6k$

$2m loan @ 10 year + 7% =~$7500/day

operating guess for 24/7--1 queen + 4 drones/shift ------~$3500/day

diff of -$4000/day

Sell the fertilizer @ 200/ton ------~$2000

Scavenge heat blah blah blah

This first go costs $20m. A standard learning curve should yield 1/4 cost after 20 units. Things get really interesting then.

These are all $usd, I think our offal is cheaper up here. :)

The loan cost should have been $20m.

That oil could yield $100/barrel if converted to electricity @ .06/kwh


so many possibilities for good b.s.

I just read the whole section. I am wondering why someone doesn't just take any of the stated
breakdowns of actual product from the process given in the article and compute the energy out
from the process? Would that not then give the
numbers needed to determine efficiency for
any given source? (It seems obvious on the face of it that efficiency will vary dramatically depending of the source material). I don't have the article in
front of me at the moment, but I recall breakdowns of content given for humans, turkey leftovers, tires and other items. It should be possible to figure out how much energy would
be obtained from oxidizing (burning) some or all
of the items mentioned. The btu value of
"a light oil, averaging c-18" would seem to be
determinable. SO, somebody (drmac), figure it out. Then say what actual efficiency is! But don't pretend this is all that matters. TOTAL
VALUE is all that matters. Since sewage, turkey guts and some humans are SERIOUSLY on the negative side of value, just bringing the value
up to zero is a noble endeavour. To make a profit on it would be nearly astounding... JG

E&P, incidentally, is "exploration and
production". As in the "all bidness".

Does anyone know the current aproximate cost to the factory for processing the turkey remains?

Not knowing the btu value of offal make energy calc's difficult. I suppose you could determine how many lb's of corn to raise a turkey, find the average weight and number of bird's processed by congra each day and determine the ratio of corn to offal. I would need Wild Turkey to do those calc's. My bet is that 200tons is not all the offal produced each day though. You would need a lab to determine the btu content of the 11 tons of solids, which is just not relevant anyway. I just was testing some known commodity prices to see when the economic's add up. I don't believe that conagra is doing this only for the good of the world. They were making money selling this stuff before. Mad cow disease has shot that market.


"It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was [truely] on to something big." - Ornette Coleman

Apparently, many others have discovered this also!

Such is the 'nature' of human inquiry.

Anyway . . . made you look

? If E=mc^2 then does Э = ψ c^2
where: Э is dark energy, ψ is mass of antimatter

? In antispacetime are the ‘black holes’ white?

”I ain't no physciscisk, but I knowsk what matters” (Popeye)


The question should be..

?In antispacetime are turkey breasts darkmeat?

in keeping with the topic!


vive la différence

vive le naivieté

QUESTION: can any other birds be used to create energy, or rather should I say Oil? I think there are alot more chickens created and used than turkeys?

"In the future, maybe they could shrink the system to fit inside robots. The robots would then seek out and eat anything with carbon for more energy, including humans! Scary "

Leaping dog, you are a fool. Why do you want to wrek this good website. People like dr mac are trying to teach us something and you are messing it up. Good going.

Have any of you invested in this company yet? You all seem so smart!

Question: why are people like leaping dog trying to mess up this great and amzingly ausume web site chat room for smart people like dr mac can teach us the true nature of matter eg. e=mc2, which I think Einstign came up with along with his theory on balck holes and aintimatter, he also came up with the theory of relativity when he was young and then they used his ideas to mess up the world when the "japers" where comming to invade us when we were not even doing anything to provoke them while they snuck up and attacked us at pearl harbor when we were not expecting it. What a joke that was, but now we may have this new science that will revolutionize the earth!!!

What a great and amazing and truly phenomenal idea to use turkey leftovers to create energy.


I wonder if the whole thing is for real or if it is just an imagination or something like a delusion or maybe some one didnt take their medication again like the doctor always says, better take your medds or you end up in not feeling to well in the head again.

Youall seem like a nice fellas, unlike some others in this chat site. Have you ever read discover magazine it the amazing stories that all are so real sounding. I wounder if any of them are realy true to nature and not just pretend.

You are all the smartest, you should write to Discover and see if they will publish any of your mazazines in this day of terrorism we need every type of idea that could add amazing and extravagent researching mechanisms to our already populated earth.

RE "MattDrudge"

biting satire is nowhere diminished (unlike turkey offal)

too bad its not C-based or we could all fuel our SUV's at $0.349/gal

thanks to the miraculous synergy of CWT's thermo-altruism as coupled with the generosity of ConAgra we all can now be freed to consume presumptively without regard to conscience (while 6+ children die every bleeping second in Africa alone (15/sec globally) from easily preventable dehydration (mainly dysentery)as just one'trival' example). No problems, Mate!

It won't be long now.

Soon, ConAgra can honestly state, "Problems?,What Problems? We don't have no 'stinking' problems!"

There are shadows on the faces
of the men who fan the flames
of the wars that are fought in places
we can’t even say their names.

They sell us our Presidents the same way,
they sell us our clothes and our cars [oil].
They sell us everything from youth to religion,
at the same time they sell us our wars.

I want to know who the men in the shadows are.
I want to hear someone ask them; why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they are never the ones to fight and to die?

And there is lives in the balance, there IS…
People under fire, there IS…
Children at the canons, there IS….
And there is “blood on the wire”. Jackson Browne. Lives in the Balance 1986

We smug Americans ‘observe’ the wire (CNN, AP, etc).
But, we do NOT “see” ANY of the normative abject status of the human condition occurring NOW (actually, still)
‘We’ are so totally ignorant, arrogant, selfish, and ultimately discontent. NTM, Destroyers of Worlds!

Change that (TDP,CWT)
/ . . . with a proprietary technology
/ . . . and, we’ll do lunch sometime!

Posted by: dr mac at May 3, 2003 09:36 PM

On the lighter side, I'm glad I don't got feathers. Between ConAgra and these dudes


I'd be plucked!!

This is my first-ever post on a Blog.


The argument over the claimed efficiency is really boring.

I had a few peole read the original article as I told them how it was going to change the world in thirty years and would mean the end of OPEC for sure.

One person told me it would be more on the order of 100 years and made a few interesting criticisms which would be well worth noting and discussing.

First, unless we (the world) stop procreating or acheive 0% population growth, we are going to continue to need to explore and find new energy sources (oil).

The infrastructure is not currently present to handle:
a) the movement of feedstock to a multitude of plants (if they existed)
b) the distribution of the resources generated to refining facilities.

Opps. Let's postpone the celebration...

The creation of this infrastructure will take considerable planning and time. Would we (society) build many small plants throughout the country, (several or more in every town to handle different sorts of wastes)? Would we opt instead for building huge complexes on the order of chemical plants (in the vicinity of refineries and chemical plants) and ship the 600 million tons of waste to these facilities? Would it entail building tens of thousands of miles of pipelines (as now exist for transporting various fuilds) to carry our poo to the plants or do we build thousands of trucks to do it?

To read the original article, go to Discover.com and search for "Anything into oil"

So many bonehead arguments here, I was hoping for better. Dr. Mac, your comments are the worst. Always sad to see someone torture scientific arguments to produce confusion. Do you really enjoy creating an atmosphere of misunderstanding? Is that fun for you?

Regarding "reduction of carbon in the atmosphere" I'm sure most of you are already clear that the CWT process, if true, WOULD absolutely reduce carbon in the atmosphere, just as they claim. If we convert turkey guts to CWT oil and burn the oil, yes it would create CO2, but it doesn't matter because the turkey guts would emit that CO2 anyway. Basically biomatter degrades and releases almost 100% of it's carbon to the atmoshpere within a few months.

However, there is another even more interesting point, which some of you may not realize. The CWT process process could actually eliminate MORE THAN 100% of the carbon in the oil.

Yep, sounds impossible, but here's how it works. You need to think in terms of what FORM the carbon takes.

Most greenhouse gas calculations are done based on CO2 "equivalents"...so many tons of CO2. Most hydrocarbon burning (in cars, power plants, and so on) produces CO2.

However, much of the biological waste that our society dumps actually releases it's carbon as Methane, not as CO2. This happens because waste is often buried (in the case of solid waste) or insufficiently aerated (in the case of liquid waste). It's then digested by anerobic microbes, which produce Methane instead of CO2.

Here's the interesting part...Methane is 16 times worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2. That means that carbon that "returns" to the environment as Methane is 16 times worse than carbon returning as CO2.

So if we take turkey guts and convert them to oil via the CWT process, and then burn that oil, not only are we saving the "equivalent" of the carbon in the CWT oil (we burn the CWT oil, thus we we avoid burning oil from the ground, thus we avoid pumping carbon dioxide into the air)...

But we actually are at the same time reducing the amount of methane being produced by that waste, and producing CO2 instead. That adds even greater "carbon reduction" to the equation.

That multiplication factor of 16 between CO2 and Methane is just magic.

Sorry if this is brief, and convoluted, so maybe hard for you non-atmospheric scientists to understand. However, trust me, my firm spends millions of dollars every year on carbon dioxide "avoidance credits" (being traded because of the impending Kyoto treaty restrictions). We finance projects JUST for the sole purpose of processing waste, not even with the intent of getting the energy, but just to eliminate the methane. Landfills all over the world are spending a lot of money to pump air into the ground, or to burn the methane, even without collecting the energy.

The CWT process, if it works, would allow us to creat usable energy AND eliminate the methane...well, that would be extraordinary.

Wasted daze said:

"The creation of this infrastructure will take considerable planning and time. Would we (society) build many small plants throughout the country, (several or more in every town to handle different sorts of wastes)? Would we opt instead for building huge complexes on the order of chemical plants (in the vicinity of refineries and chemical plants) and ship the 600 million tons of waste to these facilities? Would it entail building tens of thousands of miles of pipelines (as now exist for transporting various fuilds) to carry our poo to the plants or do we build thousands of trucks to do it?"
Now THIS is an interesting question. If CWT can actually make their plants work economically, then this is the other big problem...transportation.

However, consider this: we already have a huge distribution and collection system for liquid human waste. It's called "the sewer system". We have another huge collection system for solid waste. It's called "garbage trucks". These systems already centralize and process megatons of waste every year.

S, for the 300 largest cities in the USA, you could just plop a CWT plant right next to the waste treatment plant, and then burn the oil right there, and pump the energy into the grid right on the spot. Cities are all working to build "small power plants" as we speak, to try to make the power grid less centralized...so the CWT plants might actually fit right in perfectly.

Yes, it's a lot of infrastructure, but frankly the waste handling infrastructure of the country has to be rebuilt frequently anyway. This would just be an upgrade.

And finally...compare this to OTHER types of renewable energy like Solar or Windpower! Those systems have NO centralization infrastructure in place.

By that measure, CWT would be massively better than other types of renewable energy...because CWT piggybacks on existing collection infrastructure.

In a sense, CWT uses the solar power that we are already collecting. It just squeezes a few more BTU's out of our massive "agricultural" solar infrastructure.

Here's your answer dr. mac, a bit off topic:

"It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country, the United States of America, are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies of civil and religious liberty. They have instigated most of the wars of Europe." - General Lafayette (French, served under General Washington)

It's called the Counter-Reformation. They (Jesuits/Illuminati) want to destroy the protestants and return temporal authority to the pope. They work through high level Freemasons, Knights of Malta, Knights of Columbus, Council on Foriegn Relations and others. Did you know many high level intelligence officers are Roman Catholics, Knights of Malta and members of the CFR? Can you say 9/11? Don't forget Bush and his father are Skull and Bones members too. I think that is one of the reasons CWT is trying to stay low key, because if the oil interests feel threatened they will try to crush them.

Chilly Dog-

"Here's your answer dr. mac, a bit off topic:"

Man, I didn't see THAT one coming. From turkey guts to conspiracy theories involving the Illumanati/Jesuits/Freemasons/KoM/KoC/CFR and their involvement in 9/11? Why no mention of Dreamland, the Trilateral Commission or the Dark Lords of the Sith?

"I think that is one of the reasons CWT is trying to stay low key, because if the oil interests feel threatened they will try to crush them."

Since when is having your company featured in a national magazine, not to mention the commercial website and affiliation with a multinational conglomerate, considered staying "low key"?

It took longer than usual, but this discussion has finally sunk into the rant and paranoia mire that characterizes most message boards on the web.


silly dog: I do not recall asking (you) a question. However, since you have supplied an 'answer', I suppose you could have 'heard' me whispering across the void.

Lampere: wrt time, yes. Stephen Hawking said "... the time we experience is illusory." I am not sure that I fully comprehend what the kind Doctor meant. However, I have confidence that chilly dog does.

WRT Topic

Laughter is indeed medicine. The following statement from thomasrex is priceless (on several levels).

] "The CWT process process could actually eliminate MORE THAN 100% of the carbon in the oil."

I had no idea that one could actually weave five (or is it 6?) false concepts (propositions)in a single sentence. The term 'gift' comes to mind.

After I stopped hiccuping from laughing so hard, I drafted a multipage response (rant) to T-rex's prior post.

I'm fairly certain that he would not 'like' to 'read' it. I'm also fairly certain many would find 'need' to object strenously! Why? Because, it was generated by someone else. Duh! Encounters with these types who 'build' themselves up in their own imaginations by 'tearing down' others is getting so old.

] "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Anyhow, I have not posted it. If anyone actually want's to read my tandrum as precipitated by T-rex then may request same.

So after all this "discussion" the bottom line is that only CWT and ConAgra know the truth here

In keeping with his attempt to keep a low profile, Brian Appel, CEO of CWT, gave Pat Gray of TALKRADIO 950 AM KPRC an on-the-air interview this date in the AM.

Obviously, he must have been afraid to give an interview on CNN Television - probably to keep the Jesuits from being able to see an image of him.

Mr. Appel said that they have no plans on taking CWT public and when asked about the profit motive, he disappointed Pat Gray (IMO) by giving very socially-conscious motivations as the impetus behind CWT. He spoke of the incidence of asthma in neighborhood children and the desire of the investors to "make a difference".

"Socially-conscious" capitalists - what is this world coming to? What is the Left to do? The Capitalists have even subverted their warcry of "No Blood for oil". CWT is all about "Blood into Oil"

"I want to know who the men in the shadows are."

It can only be a "theory" if there is some evidence for it, otherwise it's just a "hypothesis". Ever heard of the Inquisition? One guess who was behind it.

The part about low key was a joke. duh.


You wrote:
"It can only be a "theory" if there is some evidence for it, otherwise it's just a "hypothesis"."

I stand corrected. You are promoting a conspiracy "hypothesis" with no supporting evidence. Silly me, I should have picked up on that.

"Ever heard of the Inquisition? One guess who was behind it."

I didn't expect that...but then, NOOOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

"The part about low key was a joke. duh."

It can only be a "joke" if there's some humor in it, otherwise it's just a "statement". double duh.

Hi! I was just wondering if any of you all are experts on this process? Or are these simply just your comments? Also, what kind of a site is this exactly? Do any of you know who sponsors it?
Thanks for all of your help.

"I was just wondering if any of you all are experts on this process?"

Some are. Some are not. All claim they are. How could it be otherwise?

"Or are these simply just your comments? "

Yes! Some are informed Others are not.

"Also, what kind of a site is this exactly?

Site (URL) is a Blog (contraction of 'web log')

"Do any of you know who sponsors it?"

Frank Boosman=> http://www.boosman.com/blog/

Merlie, I think most -- if not all -- of the people here are interested observers as opposed to "experts" on thermal depolymerization. We're trying our best to understand the viability of the technology given the limited marketing information available and the patents issued to date.

As for this site, it's a blog, it's mine, and it's sponsored by me -- I alone pay the bills.

Further reading in depolymerization of organics and energy physics

Thermochemical Conversion of Swine Manure: Temperature and Pressure Responses

Hybrid Thermal Biological Conversion to Industrial Chemicals

Medium- and High-Energy Thermal Technologies:Depolymerization, Pyrolysis, and Other Systems.

Thermal and Chemical Stability of Polymers

- - - - - - - -- - - - -

Conversion Factors

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Entropy is Simple

Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Entropy and Gibbs Free Energy

The Essential Link Between Life and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Thanks for your help. I have one more question for you. Do you think that companies that promote solar energy for power will be opposed to this new process? Also, do you think that companies that already drill for oil will have a problem with this? Sorry for all these questions, but I am doing a paper on this new technology.

A few calculations based on "data" as provided in Discovery article using Standard Measures/Values.

IN Turkey Offal 200 T
OUT “gas” 10T (used to drive reaction)
“mineral” 11 T (to be sold as ‘fertilizer)
water 87.6 T (1)
(600 bbl)“oil” 90.2 T (2)

1. Water (s.g.=1) 21,000 US gal = 78,645 liters (or kg) = 87.63 T
2. Oil ( equiv. #2 HO) 600 barrel = 81,840 kg (crude) = 180,441 lb (crude) = 90.2 T

600 bbl = 25,200 US gal#2HO @ $1.50/gal = $37,800/200T(day) = $109/ton offal
E equiv. To 630 bbl crude @ $25/bbl=$15,750 /200T (day) = $78.75/ton offal

1 bbl (l.s.crude) = 42 US gal = 136.4 kg = 0.56E+07 btu = 0.591E+07 kJ = 1641.1 kWh

TCC: 1 ton Poo (@ 8% oil, max) = 160 kg oil @ 30,500 J/kg = 0.416E+07 kJ/bbl = 0.70 bbl of crude

TDP: 1 ton offal (@ 45.1% oil???) => 0.451 ton oil (equiv to #2 heat oil) = 409 kg = 3 bbl
= 0.1764E+08 btu/ton offal = 3.15 bbl crude
Where: #2 heat oil) = 140,000 btu/gal = 5,880,000 btu/barrel (136.4kg) = 43,108 btu/kg

200 T (wet)- 88 T H2O = 112 T DW = 101,587 kg x 21,254 kJ/kg = 2,159,130,098 kJ/200T = 10,795,650 kJ/DW ton

Poultry 'Offal'data:
IFN #5-03-798 Viscera w/head & feet @ 5,080 kcal/kg = 21,254 kJ/kg =>10,795,650 kJ/ ton(dw) = 0.1079565E+08 kJ/ton

DW 100%
KCal/kg = 5080 = 21,254 kJ/kg
Fiber crude 2.5% Either extract 6.0%
Ash 16.3%
Ca 4.17%
Crude protein 62% ether extract 13.2%
Arginine 4.13%
Cytosine 0.98%
Histodine 0.94%
Isoleucine 2.73%
Leucine 4.44%
Lysine 2.97%
Methiodine 1.15%
Phenylalanine 2.48%
Threonine 2.27%
Tryptoohan 0.50%
Tryosine 0.97%
Valine 3.21%

Patent No. 5,269,947
Thermal depolymerizing reforming process and apparatus
Baskis December 14, 1993

Full Text, Drawings, Specifications, Claims, and Corrections


A bit of triva that Discovery article (developers) failed to mention:

According to their Patent, the TDP process ALSO requires an input of anthracite coal as an emulsion in water (steps 10 through 24). They state "The amount of water may be approximately 50 to 100% (mass to mass) of the coal." (detailed description par.2)


That's 44 to 88 short tons of high-quality, powered coal per 200 wet tons of 'offal' (with their numbers). Are we to assume that none of the Carbon in this coal ends up in the 600 barrels of oil per 200 wet tons of 'offal'?

From Discovery article:

In Section "Garbage In, Oil Out"
“Feedstock is funneled into a grinder and mixed with water [AND COAL!]to create a slurry that is pumped into the first-stage reactor, where heat and pressure partially break apart long molecular chains.”

ONLY mention of Coal:

In section “A Boon to Oil and Coal Companies”.
“One might expect fossil-fuel companies to fight thermal depolymerization. If the process can make oil out of waste, why would anyone bother to get it out of the ground? But switching to an energy economy based entirely on reformed waste will be a long process, requiring the construction of thousands of thermal depolymerization plants. In the meantime, thermal depolymerization can make the petroleum industry itself cleaner and more profitable, says John Riordan, president and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute, an industry research organization. Experiments at the Philadelphia thermal depolymerization plant have converted heavy crude oil, shale, and tar sands into light oils, gases, and graphite-type carbon. "When you refine petroleum, you end up with a heavy solid-waste product that's a big problem," Riordan says. "This technology will convert these waste materials into natural gas, oil, and carbon. It will fit right into the existing infrastructure."
Appel says a modified version of thermal depolymerization could be used to inject steam into underground tar-sand deposits and then refine them into light oils at the surface, making this abundant, difficult-to-access resource far more available. But the coal industry may become thermal depolymerization's biggest fossil-fuel beneficiary. "We can clean up coal dramatically," says Appel. So far, experiments show the process can extract sulfur, mercury, naphtha, and olefins—all salable commodities—from coal, making it burn hotter and cleaner. Pretreating with thermal depolymerization also makes coal more friable, so less energy is needed to crush it before combustion in electricity-generating plants.”


Patent Statement: "The amount of water may be approximately 50 to 100% (mass to mass) of the coal." (detailed description par.2)"

That's 88 to 176 short tons of high-quality, powered coal per 200 wet tons of 'offal'

Since this is so off topic i'm not going to post about it anymore in deference to the other users. There is plenty of stuff on the web to examine. Then make up your own mind.


Had it right the first time!
(I think) It's Late!

At a minimum it is 3 lb coal to process 1 turkey's guts (13.33lb offal/bird w/ their numbers)

As an organic chemist, I guarantee you there are no "experts" on this site, just the usual assortment of armchair scientists, cranks, and blowhards.


Oh, and by the way Dr. Mac, your comments about "coal" are utter nonsense.

The discussion of coal in the patent very clearly states that the coal itself is the material being processed. Coal is not being "added" to the process...in the patent it is the process material.

From the patent:
"the following description relates to a specific example wherein the material being processed (the process material) is coal and the liquid (the process liquid) mixed with the process material is water"

Next time, you might want to quote your source material a little more accurately.

CWT puts 200 ton �offal (10.8 million Btu) IN to TDP processor (without coal)
-- raises 200 tons of �offal� to 250 degrees C at 500-700 psi
--�flashes� 88 tons (21,000 US gal) of water
-- 0.78645E+08 g H2O ^ +250 C = 0.1966E+11 cal. = 0.78E+08 Btu
-- or ^ +200 C = 0.624E+08 Btu
--�break down� 69 tons of protein(s)
--�break down� 23 tons of lipids, etc
--�disassociate� 11 tons of �mineral� (Ca, N, P, K, etc.)
--�distills� 92 ton of hydrocarbons to #2 heating oil equiv. (43,108 Btu/kg)
AND extracts/returns 17.6 million Btu (600 bbl) of refined oil plus 10 tons of �gas�
Now that is �efficiency�!
Organic chemistry sure is cool.
Praise Be TDP!

Turkeys can no longer defy gravity but they can now defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics!
Turkeys have true "expertise".

Thank you, Frank Boosman, for providing this blog, which I just discovered today.

I think what we have here is a perfect example of disciplinary parochialism. dr mac, you seem to have a need to dismiss the process described in the Discovery article based on their failure to hold to conventions used in your particular discipline for describing energy efficiencies. However, there are other conventions in use, and the one they should have used (but which I am sure you will squawk about) is the one used in the biofuels arena.

Basically, my reading of the article is that you stick in a bunch of turkey goo (in the example they use, goo containing 100 BTU of potential energy), you invest some energy into reforming it (15 BTU in the example), and you end up with a variety of products, including some that can be used *conveniently* as fuels. (They subtract the 15BTU used to run the process, for a yield of 85 usable BTUs in fuel oil).

The calculation that would be applied to this conversion in the biofuels world would be to simply divide the usable output by the *energy used to run the process* , or 85/15, which yields an overall efficiency of 567%, not the 85% reported in the article.

Yes, I agree, as one who works in biochemical energetics, that this is odd. It even grates when I hear it. But, please spare me any claims that I or anyone else expressing efficiency in this idiosyncratic manner is making claims for creating of energy out of nothing.

You have to remember that it is the convention of the field, and although you can criticize their choice of this convention, you have to recognize that the people in the field understand what they mean. And that is th point of all this, isn't it? TO communicate, not to obfuscate??

The reason this calculation yields efficiencies over 100% is that the input -- the 100 BTU worth of turkey goo -- is not figured into the calculation -- it is considered "free" energy or something like that.

For comparison purposes, the conversion of soy to biodiesel yields efficiencies on the 300-400% range. (I believe that figure includes the energy used to harvest and process the soy, but it does NOT include the energy contained within the soy) I don't have the figures in front of me right now, but you could probably find this info with a little digging on the web.

I believe the reason efficiencies are calculated this way is because the people working in the field are mostly interested in how many gallons of fuel it takes to produce each gallon of product. For example, how often do you think of how many gallons of gasoline (or its diesel, etc equivalent) it takes to deliver a gallon of gasoline to your tank? The refining process represents a significant part of this figure, and when someone is developing a new process, that is what they are focused on. Rest assured, all the other aspects of efficiency will be examined carefully if this process ever takes hold.

By the way, the figures I came up with is contingent upon many things -- the honesty, integrity, and accuracy of those providing the information (the company and the outhor of the article), and that my (and others') interpretation of the numbers as provided is correct. Most people I have talked to about the article agree with that interpretation, and it is a reasonable one.

OK, have at me.

David, it's good of you to give Dr. Mac the benefit of the doubt, but the bottom line is this:

He just got caught red-handed, so to speak, posting some really nonsensical comments about coal in the process. He either A) was incredibly sloppy in his read of the the patent or B) was intentionally trying to mislead other people, by selectively editing his patent quotes.

In either case, IMO his integrity is blown, and I would suggest to anybody who cares that they might want to ignore all his comments. On the internet, there is a huge risk of wasting precious time arguing....only to realize that the person at the other end of the debate is not arguing in good faith. I would suggest that this is the problem here.

Too bad, it could be a very interesting topic. There are hundreds of real potential pitfalls in the CWT process...there's certainly no need to invent unreal pitfalls.

Well, I usually try to avoid bickering myself, and you are certainly correct that the web seems to invite it (I'm sure there is a good MS project for a psychologist or a sociologist here...).

In fact, given the tenor of the thread above, I almost didn't post at all. THat comment isn't directed at anyone in particular.

On the postitive side, I have seen much, much more disturbing breakdowns of civility elsewhere.


since we are talking about good ideas for producing energy and processing waste, I thought you guys might be interested in one man's estimate of what it would take to provide renewable fuel for our entire transportation sector. (141 billion gallons of biodiesel per year, 11,000 square miles of desert land... or 9 percent of the Sonora Desert in California, $169 billion to build the algae farms, $51 billion to run them every year)

also, he talks about efficiency the same way that the TDP guy does... "Electrolysis systems are around 60% efficient. That means that for each unit of energy you put in, the amount of recoverable energy in the hydrogen produced is equal to 0.6 units."


Thanks David and Philx. It usually becomes obvious when someone starts pushing an agenda. I admit getting discouraged not having the energy or the expertise to respond to some of these postings. But your knowledgeable posts have done that and provided a real service to those of us who just want to learn a little more about this process.

wrt dr macs #'s.

GE (gross energy)

animal feed stock...

The average total caloric values for protein, lipid, and carbohydrate
are ............................... 5.65 kcal, 9.45 kcal, and 4.15 kcal/g, respectively.

for herring gives a GE 6731 kcal/kg

for poulty offal gives GE 22.7 kj/g ---> 5425 kcal/kg

for dry corn =~ 8250 btu/lb EQUALS 8704.kJ/lb --->19149 kj/kg ----> 4576 kcal/kg

So dr mac's 5080 kcal/kg for DW offal sounds close.

5425 kcal/kg =~ 4931818 kcal/ton =~ 3.49 equiv bbl crude

http://www.processassociates.com/process/convert/cf_ene.htm (easy to use)

112 ton dry weight in ...... 3.49 bbl/ton * 112 ton = 391 bbl crude =~ 54.5 ton crude equiv. avaliable energy.

YET the CWT claim is "600 bbl--90 tons oil equiv plus 10 tons gas equiv =~ 100 tons equiv energy"

Even if the input was all fat (lipids DW @ 9450 kcal/kg) the yield would still only be 94.9 tons crude equiv.

I don't doubt that the process is feasible but the stated input--->ouput #'s cannot be supported.

Must I retract ?

The average total caloric values for protein, lipid, and carbohydrate
are ............................... 5.65 kcal, 9.45 kcal, and 4.15 kcal/g, respectively.

Furthermore, poultry has in Dry Mass
15 % ash, 60.2 % crude protein (CP), 18.3 % crude fat (CF) and 22.7 kj/g of gross energy (GE).


15 60.2 18.3 22.7 kj/g

protein, lipid, carbohydrate
5.65 kcal, 9.45 kcal, and 4.15 kcal/g

Total avaliable energy then is......

poultry 3390 kcal/kg + 1729 kcal/kg + 5425 kcal/kg = 10544 kcal/kg


10544 kcal/kg = =~ 9585454 kcal/ton =~ 6.78 equiv bbl crude

112 ton dry weight in ...... 6.78 bbl/ton * 112 ton = 759 bbl crude =~ 105 ton crude equiv. avaliable energy.

"YET the CWT claim is "600 bbl--90 tons oil equiv plus 10 tons gas equiv =~ 100 tons equiv energy""


I guess I'm sort of comfortable with input--->output.

It's time for a beer!!!

reinharg: "I don't doubt that the process is feasible but the stated input--->ouput #'s cannot be supported."

thank you - whew! So glad to see I am not the only one here with a calculator.

my sources are quite similar to yours

The International Network of Feed Information Center (INFIC)lists:

IFN#5-03-798 viscera w/head & feet @ 5,080 kcal/kg
= 21,254 kJ/kg =>10,795,650 kJ/ (dw)ton = 0.1079565E+08 kJ/ton


wrt Patent quote cited: read the Patent for yourself.

The quote posted was unedited (albeit without sufficient context)

Statements made by patent applicants were not qualified in "Detailed Description" section.

David : you said, "Ok, have at me."

mailto:nospam@yahoo.com = this is not a valid address.

I wrote you a personal letter (email) of appreciation for your non-venomous tone, input and perspective. I appreciate your excellent point that “convention” does vary [substantially] by discipline.

I prepared a detailed presentation of my 'analysis'of TDP energetics (w/source citations). I was requesting you to perhaps 'show me' (really) where I may have errored. I do not post it here since so many (with notable exceptions) seeming object strenuously to the mere concept of quantative analysis/assesment of data (as available).

No matter how one slices the ‘energy pie’, it does not work out to be “85%” ‘efficient’ by any convention/discipline I am aware of (e.g. per your explanation, per mine, and likely by many others). That was my initial point (period). I have repeatedly stated this and have attempted to ‘explain’ several times in different ways (quite unsuccessfully).

My initial statement (posted 4/26) was, “An actual [honest] measure of TDP efficiency would contrast usable energy content of the OUTPUT (not of the inputs) to the energy required to drive the reaction/process.” This statement is principally what others have been strenuously objecting to – and creatively ‘developed’ (twisted) to provide much foment.

The ‘efficiency’ claims as expressed by Appel and Discover was considered by me (IMO) at first blush and remains to date, at best, misleading. Insults and will never change the numbers.

Obviously, one can not extract more energy OUT of a system than has been put IN to it. I have conservatively calculated their output claim to be >1.6 kJ per 1.0 kJ of input - with the energy requirements of processing the non-water fraction ignored/assumed ‘free’ (unlikely, IMO). This cannot be accurate.

The perceived relative merits (advantages) of this technology is not my concern here nor my purview – that is the domain of CWT, ConAgra, et al. If it makes sense ($) to them, then they will attempt development regardless of ‘efficiency’, public opinion, scientific scrutiny, etc. It may also be advantageous for ConAgra to implement TDP even if it should prove to be not profitable in immediate-economic sense.

Should you wish to review my (naive) quantitative analyis (as deluded as some here may consider it to be)then email me accordingly (copy shortcut @"dr mac" link)and I will respond.

I thank you for your time, consideration and civility.

PS: Quoted from "hector" on Stephen Hawking Forum this date:

"Like in society there are different kinds of individuals here.

1. Curious and honest ignorants like me.
2. Know-it-all guys that time has showed they were know-it-barely-at-all.
3. Rigid people that lack any flexibility in their views and feel any questioning is insulting.
4. Jokers of a nasty nature, spreading only shit and fetidness around.
5. Heros of the forum that have managed to launch serious efforts to teach us something.

The golden rule that insults are directly proportional to weakness of mind is routinely confirmed here." [emphasis added]

end quote

I apologize for not providing a valid email address. I had a very bad experience once, and I now probably overvalue my on-line privacy.

I think it is difficult to analyze with any precision the validity of the claims using the information in the Discover article. However, dr mac and reanharg have made some good efforts. I think reinharg's analysis at 8:27 PM is very interesting.

I have no doubt that Conagra's engineers have looked this over, and have liked what they have seen. I remain cautiously optimistic. I also have serious reservations regarding removal of toxics, particularly heavy metals, from the waste stream.

In any case, even if the efficiencies are not quite what they claim, even a relatively inefficient process would solve a rather serious waste problem we have in this country. And that might just make the whole thing cost-effective even if the energy is not as cheap as they make it sound.

After all, the efficiency of burying organic matter in landfills is pretty darned low, no matter how you cut it.


In defense of my retraction. Just had a 3 hr drive to think this thru.

In defense of dr mac, my initial calcs supported ~5000kcal/kg.
However, I realized that I could not be comfortable with 50 in and 100 out.
Where is the missing 50. I know, darkmeat, sorry dr mac I could not resist.

As the science of biochem wrt to offal is NOT my area of expertise, like all
tis easier to read numbers quickly. The study of energy content in offal and like offal subjects
is primarily limited to energy conversion as a feed stock for agri stock. I initially took the ME
(metabolizable energy) vs DM (dry mass) as a relative unit for recoverable energy. What put me off
was GE (gross energy) and carbohydrates are used intechangably in the papers. Mind you some of them
use g and kg interchangably as well, but give geeks some space.

What the CWT process suggests, via the break down of the molecular C chains, is that the Energy value of
protein and lipids plus the GE is realized.

If this is valid, Philx you might know, then maybe we can determine a realitively accurate value for the
input. From there, life is easy. To me, efficiency is how fast this is solved.

Dr. Mac wrote:

“A bit of triva that Discovery article (developers) failed to mention:
According to their Patent, the TDP process ALSO requires an input of anthracite coal as an emulsion in water (steps 10 through 24). They state "The amount of water may be approximately 50 to 100% (mass to mass) of the coal." (detailed description par.2)”

With all due respect, Dr. Mac, I think you misread the patent. I went back and re-read it several times and I think most references to coal are made in the context of specific processes for depolymerizing coal. In fact, the author implies that coal may or may not be used in the process:

“It is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved process for converting a process material such as organic materials (coal AND/OR organic waste) and inorganic materials into useful oils, gas and solids.”

This statement seems to make the same implication:

“While the foregoing specific example relates to the reformation of coal, any other organic or inorganic material may be used, which can be chemically reformed into other products by varying the temperature and the pressure.”

I cannot find any references to coal as an integral and necessary adjunct to other types of feedstock. The writer only seems to have chosen coal as his primary example:

“While a processor constructed in accordance with this invention may be used to process a variety of organic and inorganic materials, the following description of the first embodiment relates to specific examples wherein the material being processed (the process material) is coal and the liquid (the process liquid) mixed with the process material is water.”

As you know, the narrative continues describing the processing of the coal/water slurry.

Later, the writer describes processing other feedstocks, including “most organics” and triglycerides. In the abbreviated descriptions of these processes, the need for coal as an additional material necessary for the TDP process was neither explicitly nor implicitly stated. Coal is mentioned once again in a brief discussion of the use of TDP to remove sulfur from coal.

Granted, I’m not a scientist and I only have a layman’s understanding of most of the academic and technical principles being discussed, but I am a pretty good reader. My impression was that while coal could be used in the process, it was in no way integral to the process. Could you point me towards those portions of the document that lead you to believe that it is?

(By the way, I am referring to US Patent 5,360,553)

I am more than curious DrMac. You really seem to go out of your way to criticize the developers of TDP when you write:

A bit of triva that Discovery article (developers) failed to mention:

According to their Patent, the TDP process ALSO requires an input of anthracite coal as an emulsion in water (steps 10 through 24). They state "The amount of water may be approximately 50 to 100% (mass to mass) of the coal." (detailed description par.2)


That's 44 to 88 short tons of high-quality, powered coal per 200 wet tons of 'offal' (with their numbers). Are we to assume that none of the Carbon in this coal ends up in the 600 barrels of oil per 200 wet tons of 'offal'?

From Discovery article:

In Section "Garbage In, Oil Out"
“Feedstock is funneled into a grinder and mixed with water [AND COAL!]to create a slurry that is pumped into the first-stage reactor, where heat and pressure partially break apart long molecular chains.”

You injected the emphasis [AND COAL!] I read the patent you listed and agree with Lampare. So please tell me where did you get the information that high quality coal is required to process turkey offal?


"However, I realized that I could not be comfortable with 50 in and 100 out." (you too?)

"Where is the missing 50." (my point)

"I know, darkmeat, sorry dr mac I could not resist. (don't be sorry, I like dark meat, humor, puzzles and mystery)

WRT GE vs ME you make a intersting observation- however,
IFNIC reports GE values

IFN Data:
IFN# 5-03-795 Poultry, feathers, hydrolized
DW% 100
GE (kcal/kg) =5,620
Protein, crude (%) = 91.7 Ether extr.= 3.2
Fiber, crude (%) = 1.2 N-free extr. = 0.0
Ash (%) = 3.8
total vitamin content (%) = 1.1
elemental, vitamin & amino acid composition avail. on request
Calc: protein + ash +fiber + vit = 97.8%
Calc: lipid + carbo = 2.2%
Calc: 5,620 kcal/kg => 3.48 bbl crude equiv.

IFN# 5-03-798 Poultry, viscera w/ heads & feet
DW% 100
GE (kcal/kg) =5,080
Protein, crude (%) = 62.0 Ether extr.= 13.2
Fiber, crude (%) = 2.5 N-free extr. = 6.0
Ash (%) = 16.3
total vitamin content (%) = 6.9
elemental, vitamin & amino acid composition avail. on request
Calc: protein + ash +fiber + vit = 87.7%
Calc: lipid + carbo =12.3%
Calc: 5,080 kcal/kg => 3.15 bbl crude equiv. or 3.0 bbl #2 h.o.

For number crunchers:
lipids = 9.4 kcal/g
carbohydrates = 4.1 kcal/g
proteins = 5.6 kcal/g
oxidation of H = 34.5 kcal/g
oxidation of C = 8 kcal/g
oxidation of glucose = 686 kcal/mol
hydrolysis of ATP = 8 kcal/mol

source: http://www.cabi-publishing.org/Bookshop/Readingroom/0851995195/0851995195ch1.pdf

I reiterate: (risking accusation of stating the obvious)

GE = (Ein + Ep) = (Eout + Ep) or Ein = Eout
GE = gross energy
Ein = TDP organic input energy content,
Ep = TDP processing energy requirement,
Eout = TDP organic output energy content,
AND n = any value

Example: If (Ein + Ep) =115; then (Eout+Ep) =115

Discover text statements (IMO) suggests (implies):
If: (Eout-15)/(100+15) =0.85; then Eout = 112.8 (≠, not possible)
or If:(Eout+15)/(100+15) =0.85; then Eout = 135.3 (≠, not possible)
However, If: (Eout +15)/(85 + 15) = 0.85; then Eout = 85 (which is 100% “efficient”)

'my' calculations on values presented by Discover article (IMO)=>

Calc.: Organic Input @ 5,080 kcal/kg = 10.8 million Btu/ DW ton offal
“oil” output of 600 bbl #2 equiv./200 wet tons “waste” (ignoring 10 tons unspecified “gas” energy)
#2 equiv = 43,108 Btu/kg.
43,108 Btu/kg x 136.4 kg/bbl x (600/200) bbl = 17.64 million Btu/ton (offal wet)
17.64/10.8 = 1.63

1 kJ Ein + n kJ Ep => (~1.63 kJ Eout + n kJ Ep); where n = any value
If: Ein =100 and Ep =15; then Eout ≠(163 + Ep) ≠175 (not possible)
If: (Ein + Ep) =115 then (Eout + Ep) = 115; therefore when Ep=15; then Ein =100 =Eout
If: (Ein + Ep) =100 then (Eout + Ep) = 100; therefore when Ep=15; then Ein = 85 =Eout
If: Ein = 100 and Ep = any value (n); then (Eout + nEp) =100 and Eout = (100 – n)

Assuming: Ep = n kJ, and (Eout + Ep) = GE = (1.63 kJ + Ep); then Ein = 1.63 kJ
Calc.: If GE = Eout = Ein = 1.63 kJ; then E content of processed “waste” = approx. 8,280 kcal/kg

So reinharg, Where's the “dark meat”?

Response to Lampere et al:

With respect to the “coal issue” I posted late in the night, I errored in my undue haste. Haste does indeed make ‘waste’. I came across the quotation I cited (unedited from “Detailed Description” section of the US Patent) while searching this large document (using keywords) for water, temperature and pressure information. I read the adjacent sections wrt the coal emulsion/processing and I did not see a qualification statements (caveats) made in this section. My ‘bad’.

I saw where they stated adding coal (in large quantity, as posted) and regrettably, inappropriately concluded “Viola! So that is where the ‘other’ energy is coming from! Mystery solved! Now I can go to bed!” I also provided link (URL) to the full patent documents such as to facilitate informed discussuion.

Assuming, as I now do, that I was incorrect about the coal input issue, I nevertheless continue to puzzle over the validity (‘nature’) of CWT’s claims. The foregoing statement does not suggest that an “efficiency” (regardless of formula applied or value derived) actually affects the probable efficacy of a TDP implementation (for ConAgra or others), a point I have repeatedly attempted to make on this forum.

Please excuse my hasty post as directly resultant to “insufficient information” coupled with the (unwarranted) exhilaration of ‘discovery’. I extend my apology for any confusion this error may have created. It is not my intention of obfuscate the issues being’discussed’ here. I will wager that at least one other forum participant sought out the Patent documents as a direct result of my error – a silver lining so to speak (IMO). This is hardly a valid excuse for poor/sloppy research.

However, my original observation wrt integrity of GE remains unresolved (IMO). I hope that someone can illustrate (to me, for us) any error in judgment or of calculation in what I have presented above with equal civility. I, like all others here, am attempting to understand what CWT/ConAgra is claiming/attempting. Thank You.

The discussion has been very interesting so far, and the energy output calculations notwithstanding, I am most interested in the use of this TDP as a clean-green-technology to solve our planetary waste problems. I can see that DrMac is very concerned about the issues of Thermodynamics and energy but he is also as concerned with - 3rd world exploitation, oil exploration and modern societal damnation...as are most of us...I contend that we have more in common that in opposition in our desires for a clean future...indeed I wonder about any future at all on some days! What is most concerning to me, is the nature of CWT's interest in releasing the license or patents to local municipal cleanup for the use of human prophets, not corporation profits. If you read the bios of the Principals you will see a heavily-corporate group, with one guy having a past Monsanto background changing to recent Nature Conservancy as well as others with major Real Estate interests (Hmmm)
Anyway, these are the signs of Corporate Exploitation that mark this project as potentially another "hands-off, you dirty hippies" type venture - well, at least they didn't buy the patent and bury it (sorry, couldn't resist)
I am rambling - but anyway, David - I tried to post you about biofuels, so perhaps you can post me instead - I am interested in creating a public forum at the Solfest this summer to discuss biofuel, TDP and other current energy sourcing possibilities. I am also going to find a way to visit the Philadelphia plant. Press credentials? Well, why not....

I no longer have the issue of Discover so went back and read the online issue. I wonder if some are trying to hang CWT because of a poorly written article. Only in the caption of the photo of turkey offal does the author write: "Each day 200 tons of turkey offal will be carted to the first industrial-scale thermal depolymerization plant, recently completed in an adjacent lot, and be transformed into various useful products, including 600 barrels of light oil." Note he writes "will." Yet in the write-up of the article he writes that, "The $20 million facility, scheduled to go online any day, is expected to digest more than 200 tons of turkey-processing waste every 24 hours." Note it is now "more than 200 tons." These are the writers words. Then Appel is quoted as saying the plant will make 600 barrels of oil a day. Nowhere is a CWT representative quoted as saying that 200 tons of waste will be turned into 600 barrels of oil. Nowhere on the CWT site is this claim made.

Later in the article numerous examples are given where various 100 pounds of input are converted into different ouputs of oil, gas, carbon, water, etc. I am only guessing but I would suppose these figures come from the company. Perhaps someone with the expertise could try to do the efficiency calculations based on those examples.


Annie, are you referring to my post about biodiesel which happened to be after something written by David? if so, please seek help from the folks at http://forums.biodieselnow.com

oooops! Never mind!

Those examples of various 100 pound inputs of material does not have the input energy, so no efficiency calculations can be made. Let's go back to arguing over uncertain data.

I have been reading all of this 'discussion' about the efficiency claims. I read the article when my copy arrived at my house and I was inthralled with the possibilities. When I read the part about 85% efficiency, I never floundered.

My interpretation of the numbers were not
Ein = Btu content of feedstock
Ep = energy required to run process
Eout = energy output of process

I understood the claim of efficiency to be
(Eout - Ep)/Eout = .85

interpreted to be feasible because:
Xin = (Eout) = 100Btu
read: Xin = any value with regards to feedstock needed to produce enough product to achieve an energy potential of 100Btus.

Hence, whatever the amount of feedstock needed, the example from the article indicated that enough product will be output to provide an energy potential of 100 Btu and of that 100 Btu output only 15 Btu will need to be recycled in order to opperate the plant. The entire issue of Btu content of feedstock, etc. is way over my head, but seems irrelevant given my interpretation of the numbers.

In other words, The efficiency claim (IMO) was not a depolymerization efficiency but rather a power efficiency. Regardless of how much potential energy in contained in 200T of turkey offal, only 15% of the resulting product energy is needed to turn the thing on and make it do what it does.

Ok to retract a retraction.

I went and did my homework for the day wrt. GE (gross energy).

What are Ether Extracts


What is a carbohydrate

What is Crude Fibre

Went and did my 101 on the "Bomb Calorimetric" method used to determine GE values.

And my finding and assumptions are:

DM=Dry Mass
EE=Ether Extract ~=Lipids
CP=Crude Protein


Carbohydrate = DM - (EE+CP+Ash+CF)

Given the following for offal (from DR Mac and backed by many publications)

DW% 100
GE (kcal/kg) =5,080
Protein, crude (%) = 62.0 Ether extr.= 13.2
Fiber, crude (%) = 2.5 N-free extr. = 6.0
Ash (%) = 16.3

Plugging the data to determine carb content.

carb=8.5% of DM

Using the energy values as follows

lipids = 9.4 kcal/g
carbohydrates = 4.1 kcal/g
proteins = 5.6 kcal/g

9.4 * 13.2 = 124.08
6.0 * 4.1 = 24.6
5.6 * 62.0 = 347.2

total = 485.88

Accounting for the decimals yeilds 4858.9 kcal/kg

I didn't learn where to put the crude fibre so 2.5% of DM GE is missing.


"So reinharg, Where's the “dark meat”?"

Dr Mac, "maybe it's in the 11 different herbs and spices" added to the input.

I liked the comment noted "in excess of 200 tons input". Would that translate to what ever it takes.

Look Dr. Mac, the fact remains that you posted something utterly nonsensical, and it looks like you did so to be deliberately misleading.

You seem to have carefully chosen a paragraph to lead to *exactly* the wrong conclusion.

Immediately above that paragraph was another paragraph which completely contradicted your point. I see no way that you could have simply "overlooked" that contradicting paragraph. Reading the patent, I see no way for a reasonably intelligent adult to have missed it.

I'm not trying to say this to insult you. I'm just trying to alert the other readers to the fact that you seem to be debating in bad faith. Like me, they may not want to spend the time and effort to dig through your posts, knowing that they can't be trusted.

This thread is stuck in a rut, discussing useless boring nonsense, and you are working hard to keep it in that rut. I just wonder why.

reinburg: "Would that translate to what ever it takes."

Apparently! STOP

So you and I agree that 200 offal cannot yield 600 bbl#2 + nEproc. ? STOP

Certainly CWT should do quite well on spot market STOP
-when the inputs are worth less than nothing ('disposal' costs $) to ConAgra now. STOP
(ntm regulation, litigation, PR costs of BAU). STOP

I'm so very happy they did this for me (us). STOP

Such a 'good' process in so many ways. STOP
Much potential for CWT, ConAgra etc. STOP
- and indirectly 'us'. STOP
Too bad they 'think'(appear, IMO) that they have to hype it to us. STOP
- or is that make up as they go? STOP

Buy all CAG shares possible ASAP. STOP

Of course TMDEguy, you are right. The "efficiency" they discussed was clearly the power required to process the system, as a percentage of the total energy output.

Yawn. I wonder if this thread will ever get to the real issues....that would be much more interesting.

Like, how corrosive is water at the temperatures and pressures they are claiming? Damned corrosive. I bet their process will run into huge numbers of technical problems once they try to scale it.

I like time zones, seems you can get the last word for the day.
To PhilX, the efficiency of the system wrt. output DOES NOT MATTER "to me".

Conagra is a business

I have a business. Would I build this system not knowing my input costs. No, because nothing is free!

As for YAWN "real issues" "corrosive water" "technical difficulties". What, been involved at the wrong end of a poorly designed project?

I live in the land of billion dollar oil sands projects. I think these little engineering issues have been solved. This CWT system is really just a baby version. Maintenance is like death and taxes. Plan for it.

If the in's and out's stated can verified, the potential impact may well be understated.

Economic reality is $In = useable energy out.
So far this has held true for:
solar power
solar cells
wind power
tidal power
fossil fuels
thermo electric's
fuel cells
Hydro power
Wood fireplaces
Gas fireplaces

We can only try to fit this in!


Oh yes, I have been at the wrong end of MANY badly designed projects, so I know how much could go wrong.

Yes, oil sands seem like a very similar situation.

One Point:

Remember, again, that the CWT process is using materials coming IN where THEY PAY YOU. Conagra will "pay" to get rid of turkey guts, because it's required that they dispose of them.

Cities will PAY to get rid of human waste.

Polluters will PAY if you can prove you are avoiding greenhouse gases, which I believe CWT can.

So the economics of the CWT process are sweetened a little.

Total income from CWT will equal:

Value of oil and other products + avoided cost of otherwise processing the waste + greenhouse gas credits.

These are all substantial revenues.

What would be interesting from an economic standpoint is to come up with some questimates of the value of this process. For instances, using the figures given in the article (at the grave risk of stirring that pot again)it would be interesting to see what the value of the byproduct may be for different inputs. A reasonable guess at the cost of disposing this input (or buying in the case of heavy oil) and you would have some idea where this process may find its first applications. Anyone with the knowhow care to do a study comparing 100 pounds each of plastic bottles, municipal waste, tires, heavy oil and medical waste?

TO: TMDEguy and Philx
RE: "I understood the claim of efficiency to be (Eout - Ep)/Eout = 85%

1. On this blog, you are in the majority. Congratulations!
2. So, when they stated/wrote, “That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock . . .” they actually meant to say "output instead, or that they confused “feedstock” and “output”, or that they cannot tell the difference?
3. n/100 = 0.n% (definition of % is “n” divided by 100). So?

If they are returning 100% content of CE as Eout then any value of Ep one could select/have is irrelevant since said value would appropriately be placed (IMO) on both sides of the equation (comes out of one, goes into the other). Therefore, Ein/Eout = 1/1= 1 = 100% recovery = 100% 'efficient’ no matter what value of Ep you have selected.

Those who say (Out a+b – (Out b)/Out a+b where a+b =100 are expressing a fractional relationship between “a” and “b” as a percentage rather than as a ratio. IMO, this is not a measure of ‘efficiency’ wrt the energetics of any system. This is also not an especially useful measure of ‘efficiency’ in an economic sense as mentioned previously by others.

Example 1. This idiosyncratic usage of “efficiency” is (IMO) rather like saying that an apple contains pericarp (exocarp+mesocarp+endocarp), petiole (stem), ovary and seed. The stem, ovary and seeds collectively are, for illustration, =1% of the total mass in the apple, and we ‘choose’ to not ingest them. Therefore, by extension, the apple is then (100-1)/100 = 99% efficient? That may be convenient (or not). It may be considered as 99% edible but 100% of its mass contains energy. I cannot see how it’s relevant to the ‘value’ or energetics of an apple. This merely expresses the fractional relationship of selected aspects (components) of an apple. The apple is not 99% efficient chemically or otherwise (IMO).

Example 2. You go to a bank and borrow $100. The bank charges you a 5% processing fee and 10% annual interest on the loan. You keep the loan 1 year. You pay back the loan. How ‘efficient’ was the money if you received $100 worth of the value in goods and services in exchange? (100 – 15)/100 = 85%??? Have you created ‘value’ by your choices/action/process? What if you had applied the borrowed money to pay off a bill that had a $25 late fee penalty, then how ‘efficient’ was the money to you? If you loose n % or otherwise ‘waste’ a portion or is devalued due to inflation before exchange, then how ‘efficient’ was it for you to have borrowed the money from the bank? You figure it out. Any way you would choose to spend the $100 (or subdivide/categorize one sub unit (say $15) as compared to remainder ($85)) is irrelevant wrt the total value that $100 represents the economy in terms of actual goods and services it could provide (be received). However you may decide to spend or compartmentalize any fraction of the $100 is totally irrelevant wrt the ‘value’ (or “efficiency”) of the currency in the fiscal economy today.

Back to Physics and Chemistry
Some of us here on this blog are speaking of ‘efficiencies’ wrt energy transferences in bio/organic chemistry. TDP takes organic molecules (biomolecules of turkey ‘waste’ as one example), ‘breaks these down’ to ‘simpler’ molecules of hydrocarbons, ‘removes’ the non H and C elements, and assembles hydrocarbon chains into what they (we) call “oil”. This is a chemical process involving the transference (transition) of energy from one set of chemical bond (Enthalpies) arrangements (configuration) to another. This is not ‘creating’ energy or producing ‘efficiency’ (this is a fact). CWT may be creating ‘value’ in a fiscal sense, but this is also a judgment (albeit convention) – an opinion, a valuation – not science or fact. The only ‘opinion’ (valuation) that is relevant in an evaluation of TDP are those held by CWT and CAG wrt its perceived economic efficacy and convenience to them (IMO).

A particular ‘opinion’ may be ubiquitous but this does not make it factual. To say, “I value “a” and devalue “b” therefore ((a + b) – b)/(a+b) = % ‘efficiency’ is absurd nonsense and categorically irrelevant (IMO) when speaking of energy (physics) or chemistry.

Assuming they (CWT, CAG) can use (values) some albeit large fraction of an output may be a (one) measure of economic ‘efficiency’ but this is not relevant wrt the energetics of a chemical process (IMO).
Assuming they can sell 85% of what they get out (for sake of argument) is also a trivial measure (IMO) but not to them.
I agree that this is one means of expressing the percentage of the ‘valued’ fraction to the whole. It does not speak to or relate to "efficiency" in physics or chemistry. This is merely a way of stating that an alleged 15% of the output was used to continue driving the reaction (process). I acknowledge that such ‘measure’ is indeed significant to CWT/ConAgra decision-making wrt TDP.

The TDP process IS applied chemistry and physics. In either discipline Eout/100 is not n% “efficiency” nor is Eout-Ep/100 (IMO). Those of us who function within these disciplines may freely express our perspective; as so may those with a fiscal economic or other bias. However, for another to ‘call us stupid’ or otherwise be intentionally insulting to those of a perspective other than their own is: a) serving no ‘vital’ purpose other than obsessively promoting one’s own self-aggrandizement (at best), and b) adds no perspective or input to the discussion here.

Definition of Efficient, - cy:
There are many conventions of usage associated with the term “efficiency” as previously suggested by David.
There are indeed several definitions of “efficient”, “efficiency” in any dictionary:
I choose (in biochemistry and physics) to mean, “efficiency 2b(2): the ratio of the useful energy delivered by a dynamic system to the energy supplied to it.”
Efficiency 2b(1): works for me also but not as well, “the effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, money).” Ex: TDP#’s; production =(100 –15)=85; Cost = (100+15); ratio = 85/115=74%
CWT/CAG and others may be using “efficient 2: productive of desired effects esp.: productive without waste.”

IMO, ‘efficiency’ of TDP (in chemical/energy terms) is the ratio of Ein to Eout for a given value of Ep.
Or (85+15)/ (100+15) = 100/115=82% when using ‘their’ convenient numbers. IMO, this is not accounting for all inefficiencies.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Which can also be stated as: energy is conserved and the total energy of a system plus the surroundings is (remains) constant. It can, however, become unavailable for all practical (our) purposes by various mechanisms not addressed here (via 2nd & 3rd laws).
The Second Law states (observes) the fact that the useable energy in the universe is becoming less and less. Ultimately there would be no available energy left. Stemming from this fact we find that the most probable state for any natural system is one of disorder. All natural systems degenerate when left to themselves. Complex, ordered arrangements tend to become simpler and more disorderly with time. This is known as “Entropy”.
The Third Law states that the entropy of a totally pure, perfectly ordered crystal at 0 Kelvin is equal to 0. We can't actually achieve temperatures of 0K, since quantum mechanics prohibits it. This law speaks to Spontaneity and Entropy
For further definition see: http://www.genchem.net/thermo/laws.html (for example)
Additionally, there are defined Laws in regard to chemical equilibria, physical equilibria, diffusion, kinetics etc.

TDP is an “open” system meaning both energy and matter are exchanged.
TE = (GE + Eproc) = Eout
TE = total energy in (of) system
GE = energy content of the organic input
Ein = GE+ Eproc
Eout = (Eoil + Eproc + Eother)
Eproc= (Etemp + Epressure + Efriction + Eelectromechanical + Eheat of reaction + Eother)
Eother = (Eentropy + Eunaccounted, Eresidual in ‘mineral’ fraction, etc.)

TE = Ein = (GE + Eproc) = (Eoil + Eproc + Eother)
TE= (GE + Eother) for any value Ep
(1 GE + 0.15 GE) = 1.15GE = (0.85 GE – (-Eproc) - Eother)
1.0 GE = Eoil + Eother
GE/ton =10.8 Mbtu
Then: Eoil= (10.8 Mbtu – Eother)
If Eother = 0 then GE = Eoil and GE/Eoil =1 =100%
IMO, Eother can never = 0

For the sake of discussion, let us assume that Eother = 0
And compare apples to apples (i.e. btu to btu, kJ to kJ, etc)

CWT states that they produce 600 bbl oil + Eproc from unspecified mass of turkey ‘waste’ > 200 ton including H2O
Calc: 600 bbl # 2ho equiv. x 43,108 btu/kg x 136.4 kg/bbl = 3.53 Billon btu
Therefore GE >= 3.53 B btu = 630 equiv bbl crude = 600 equiv bbl #2ho

Energy content of GE = 5,080 kcal/kg = 20,145.6 btu/kg
Conversions: 1 kcal = 3.96567 btu = 0.708144E-06 equiv. bbl crude
source: http://www.processassociates.com/process/convert/cf_ene.htm
3.53 B btu / 20,145.6 btu/kg = DW mass of input = 175,123 kg = 193.1 DW short ton
Assuming moisture content of ‘offal’ is 43.8% (calculated from 21,000 US gal/200 wet ton)
Then 56.2% of the total wet mass is the DW mass of GE input
Therefore: total mass of ‘offal’ input required = 343.64 wet ton
(Note: value of Eproc is irrelevant wrt energy conservation)

If GE mass = 112 DW ton (from 200 wet ton);
then GE >= 8,280 kcal/kg (from a previously posted calculation)

If Eother =0 and Eproc = any value
Then 5,080 kcal input => 5,080 kcal output = 100%
And 8,280 kcal in => 8,280 kcal output = 100%

I can state with 99.9% confidence (statistically speaking) that Eother is not = 0. (e.g. Entropy is real and unavoidable)
We do not know what value (n, or n%) Eother takes (is) in the TDP process as envisioned
IMO, it is likely that CWT does not know Eother precisely either.
They may very well have a ballpark guess based on small-scale experimentation

Someone purporting to be a biochemical/energy ‘expert’ - a technological ‘genius’- (i.e. Appel) who makes public statements that a system is“85% efficient” based on output compartmentalization /division alone is being disingenuous and/or deceptive (IMO) and obviously has an agenda to perpetrate. I suspect this agenda is more money for him (them).
IMO, someone who cannot make the distinction (tell the difference) is not “thinking” but rather engaging in conjecture (fantasizing).
IMO, anyone who chooses to believe this to be a useful measure of either “efficiency” or of “value” is either ignorant, stupid, delusional, or any combination thereof. I recognize that the world is full of such people.

TDP Economics 101:
IMO, it may very well be that the TDP process is the most economically viable (productive) means of disposal of turkey (and other) ‘wastes’. Instead of costing ConAgra say $25/ton in disposal costs (+ regulatory costs + litigation costs + public relations costs, etc) they make money.
Assuming disposal and associated costs to ConAgra = $25/ton (now)
Then the disposal of 343.6 tons currently costs them $8,590 (per day?)
Assuming a barrel of #2ho is $45.00 on the spot market.
1.0957 dollars a gallon (08 Feb. 03) = $46/bbl
600 bbl returns them $27,000 (per day?)
The gain to CWT/ConAgra is ($8,590 + $27, 000) = +$35,590/day (or $102.76/wet ton offal)
If CWT generates $27,000/day worth of oil, then how much can (will) ConAgra charge them for the ‘offal’? Anyone’s guess!
Would anyone care to perhaps attempt to calculate the ‘efficiency’ of disposal in economic terms?

More Opinion:
And CWT/ConAgra/Discover would have us believe that they are doing this for us – for the environment – for humanity?
IMO, when ‘disposal’ by an alternative method is deemed more profitable than the currently employed method, then this is exactly what they will attempt to do (no matter what others may ‘think’ individually or collectively).
Regardless of any n(%) Eproc requirement – or of any calculated contrivance of claimed ‘efficiency’ - this is ‘marketing’ hyperbole (‘blowing smoke’) – and not science.
IMO, the n% Eproc requirement is erroneous and the ‘efficiency’ claim as presented is intentionally deceptive (and effectively so). e.g. an apple is 99% ‘efficient’. \
Yes, they will probably make money (generate wealth) and ‘save the landfills’. Halleluiah!

The above opinion(s) should not be construed by others to suggest (indicate) that I ‘think’ (believe) TDP a ‘wasted’ effort in any other respect. e.g. apples taste good to me.

I post this with an expectation that some set of actors here will ‘pull a Clinton’ and quibble about what the meaning of what “is” is!

dr mac I don't understand the point you are making. Go slow, I am not a scientist. You go through calculations to show that to produce 600 barrels of oil you would need a minimum of 343 wet tons of offal. So far so good. As I pointed out no one at CWT has said that they are turning 200 tons of offal into 600 barrels of oil. But then your next calculation is:

If GE mass = 112 DW ton (from 200 wet ton);
then GE >= 8,280 kcal/kg (from a previously posted calculation)

If Eother =0 and Eproc = any value
Then 5,080 kcal input => 5,080 kcal output = 100%
And 8,280 kcal in => 8,280 kcal output = 100%
I don't follow what this means. Why are you using 200 wet tons again? What do you mean by input = output in these statements?


Your right, they did not say 200 tons. The quotes follows.

"The $20 million facility, scheduled to go online any day, is expected
to digest more than 200 tons of turkey-processing waste every 24 hours."

Based on the known energy value of 5080 kcal/kg, the offal input would be 350 tons/day. Quite a
Maybe the 200 ton number is the minimum break even, or minimum load to meet efficeincy's. Who knows.

If the input "was" 200 tons/day the energy value of that input would be 8280 kcal/kg.
(which is about the value of pure fat)

Some turkey facts:

The average US tom turkey is grown to 30 lb (an institutional turkey reaches 40lb, when they let them out)
The average dressed weight is 65% or 19.5 lb
That leaves 10.5 lb of offal per bird.

"At the Butterball plant, workers slaughter, pluck, parcook, and package 30,000 turkeys each workday"

So 30000 turkeys @ 10.5lb offal each:

30000 * 10.5lb / 2000 lb = 157.5 tons

See a problem, to get 350 tons of offal my turkeys have got to weigh ~65lbs each. Those are above average turkeys.

On the lighter side you watch for the poultry at the end of this one


Thanks reinharg but the real problem is that we simply do not know what the input is for this plant. We have one statement by a reporter that it will process in excess of 200 tons of turkey offal per day. Appel does say the plant will make 600 barrels of oil a day. Was he referring to max capacity? Daily average? Will the plant handle only turkey offal or other materials as well? I agree the numbers do not work out if we just rely on the reporter's numbers. But shouldn't someone get some input numbers before accusing the company of fraud?


If we 'know' Eout then we ‘know’ Ein
- But not necessarily GE exactly.
They are not creating energy.
They are rearranging molecules and atoms
- reorganizing the energy bonds, the physical configuration
- to influence the enthalpy of reaction, the reaction pathways and the reaction properties.
What goes in must come out (minus entropy and spillage)
What comes out must have gone in.
e.g. 5080 = 5080, 8280 = 8280, etc

- Enthalpy: A thermodynamic function of a system, equivalent to the sum of the internal energy of the system plus the product of its volume multiplied by the pressure exerted on it by its surroundings.
- Enthalpy of Reaction: The change of the thermodynamic state function (enthalpy) due to a chemical reaction. The enthalpy of reaction is a feature [component, aspect] of any [all] chemical reactions and of the initial and final states of the system.


Observation does not = allegation
Opinion does not = fact
Fact does lead to understanding of truth.


The following is from a press release on CWT's website.

"ConAgra Foods was one of the first enterprises to express early interest in the commercial application of CWT's thermal process. A joint venture between the companies was entered into in December 2000 for the first commercial application of the technology for the conversion of poultry offal at one of ConAgra's
large Butterball Turkey plants. When it is commissioned later this month, the $20 million facility in Carthage, Missouri -- funded in part by a $5 million grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency -- will process 200 tons per day of fats, bones, feathers, grease and oils."

So we have beat to death fats, bones and feathers. Note "200 tons per day"

The grease and oils could well be operational wastes. A processing facility that size has a lot of machinery being serviced. As this is a joint venture between conagra and cwt, there is nothing to say that this facility will process only congra waste. I've asked CWT about this so we will see.

DEFINITIONS: “Glossary of Energy Terms” from http://www.electromn.com/glossary/e.htm

"Efficacy - The amount of energy service or useful energy delivered per unit of energy input. Often used in reference to lighting systems, where the visible light output of a luminary is relative to power input; expressed in lumens per Watt; the higher the efficacy value, the higher the energy efficiency."

"Efficiency - Under the First Law of Thermodynamics, efficiency is the ratio of work or energy output to work or energy input, and cannot exceed 100 percent."

"Efficiency - under the Second Law of Thermodynamics is determined by the ratio of the theoretical minimum energy that is required to accomplish a task relative to the energy actually consumed to accomplish the task. Generally, the measured efficiency of a device, as defined by the First Law, will be higher than that defined by the Second Law."

I can agree that (100-15)/100 = 0.85 efficacy or effective.

If they had said "efficacy" I could not quibble.

The article's use of "efficiency" ignores the 2nd and 3rd Laws of Thermodynamics.

What comes out MUST have gone in.

What goes in does NOT necessarially come out

TE = (GE + Eproc) = ((Eoil + Eproc) + Eentropy + Emisc)
When GE=100, Eproc=15, Eentropy=1, and Emisc=2
TE = (100+15) = ((85+15) – 1– 2) therefore 97/115 = 0.8435

Econsumed = Eproc
Eproc does not = Eminimum


A minor point, YES!
Is TDP a 'good' idea? YES

Regardless, 200 wet short ton of "viscera w/heads and feet"(offal)cannot yield 600 bbl #2ho.

Increasing bone content of input will reduce GE/kg, reduce Eoil out, and increase % Eproc

Increasing lipid (fat, oil, wax) content of input will increase GE/kg,increase Eoil out, and decreases % Eproc.

We have been aware for some time, ad nauseum actually, that 200 tons of offal will not produce 600 barrels of oil. But once again no representative of CWT has stated that would occur, we keep making that inference. But if asked directly, what would 200 tons of offal produce? I wonder what the company would say. Well let's take their figures (actually the reporter's) for human offal (we have plenty of that here). 175 pound man produces 38 pounds of oil and 4 pounds of gas. Therefore 200 tons of offal would produce 86,857 lbs of oil or 289 barrels of oil. Feel free to check my math. And 9143 lbs of gas. Amazed at our low gas figure? I sure am. My guess is that is closer to what they would claim and the 600 barrel figure represents a peak production or some future scaling up of the facility.

Notice how the posts in this thread keep getting longer and more convoluted, yet seem to only make the questions more confusing?


On a more interesting note, I've contacted a couple local waste treatment departments of major cities...they are going to visit Philadelphia to to get a look at the CWT claims and process. I may wangle a trip with them. The only way to judge the validity or potential of this type of process is to meet the developers in person.

Here is an interesting article from the NY Times today. You may have to sign up to get access. But it is a well worthwhile freebie.


As hog farming has turned from family farming to large scale operations the waste has become a nightmare. As attempts have been made to protect groundwater the result is now reported to be airborne toxins in the form of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. The very fact that these are now large industrial operations makes the solution of the problem with TDP more feasible. So despite the "efficacy" arguments it is the pressing disposal problems that may cause TDP to become widespread.

For those of us in Alaska it doesn't matter as much just what the true efficiency of the process is. We have many bush Alaska villages which have no sanitary sewer processing at all and water contamination is is a major problem. If flush toilets are available at all, pipes have to be above ground due to permafrost, in ground composting is so slow as to be non-existant, and many places still have 'honey buckets' collected, pured into oil barrels and put out on the ocean ice to disappear with summer break-up. We deal with third world sanitary conditions and resultant dieases. Just to have a way to render sewage and other human/animal-generated waste non-pathogenic would be wonderful. If the process was just break-even it would still be extermely valuable! Fuel costs are very high in bush Alaska. If the process could just fuel itself we would be delighted.

Reinharg, I read your calculations again and I see you're making a good faith effort to come up with the numbers. So let me tell you where I see the problems.

Basically, you guys have done pages of calculations without talking about the potential error factors. The error factors in your calcs are huge, and the CWT process falls well within the range.

For example:

1. Dry Weight. Your entire calculation is based on the assumption that 200 tons of offal yields 112 tons of dry weight. YOu then multiply that DW with the GE of turkey offal (which you're showing as about 5,000 per kg).

The problem is, you're making an unsupported assumption. The DW of the turkey offal cannot be calculated by subtracting the 88 tons of end-product water.

- DW as it is used in the offal energy calculation is DESSICATED dry weight. That is totally different from the water that comes from CHEMIAL BREAKDOWN of the polymer. Polymers contain all kinds of OH strands that would NOT come out in dessication but WOULD come out in depolymerization.

- Plus, how do you know that the 200 tons of offal weren't already somewhat dessicated, from processing? Again, that would raise the effecive DW of the offal.

So let's assume an error ratio of +- 30% on the DW of the turkey offal. The DW of 200 tons might be as high as 150 tons.

2. Composition of Turkey Offal. How do we know that the Conagra turkeys aren't just VERY fatty turkeys? That could increase their polymer content greatly. +- 20%

3. Selection of the Turkey Offal. Maybe the CWT people are going to screen the offal to make sure that their 200 tons is the oilyest and juicest offal, that will yield the best oil output. I sure as hell would, and so would anybody. That's not deceptive, it's just good engineering. +- 20%

Add up these error factors, using YOUR calculations, and it is perfectly conceivable that CWT can squeeze 600 bbls of oil out of 200 tons of turkey.

Is that a best-case scenerio? Yeah, probably. Is there anything deceptive or inappropriate about CWT advertising their best-case scenerio? Of course not.

It's ridiculous to come on this board and make wild accusations about CWT's "deceptive" claims---especially when you base your accusations on sloppy calculations.

RE: Swine Manure


"In this preliminary [1998] study, 8.5% of volatile solids were converted to a low quality oil-like product. We are in the process of increasing the oil production from the TCC process. Many researchers have employed liquefaction, one type of TCC process, to increase the yields of oil from different types of biomass (Appell et al., 1980; Datta and McAuliffe, 1993) by applying reductive compounds (e.g., hydrogen and carbon monoxide) to the de-oxygenation process. In our next stage research, we will use hydrogen and/or carbon monoxide as reductants to increase oil production.

A preliminary study on the TCC process of swine manure has been carried out with aims of reducing swine waste and odor emission, and producing oil. A TCC bench processor has been developed and tested. COD levels of the swine manure sludge were reduced by 94%. Approximately 8.5% of the volatile solid were converted into oil product. The preliminary results show that the TCC technology has the potential to be applied to swine manure treatment. Further studies are in process to explore the optimum operating conditions for maximum oil production and waste/odor reduction."

"The extracted oils showed an average Heat Value of 30,500 kJ/kg."

At 8.5% TVS => 2,293 kJ/ton manure
= 5.7% equiv bbl #2h.o./ton swine manure

#2h.o. = 45,481 kJ/kg

WRT Third World, Alaska, and municiple sewerage treatment applications of CWT/TDP: look up "proprietary"and "patent".


One of the first after-school jobs I held was working on the cleanup crew at a local turkey processing plant, so I feel I can speak with some authority on the apparent discrepancy between the number of birds killed each day (and their expected offal yield) and the number of tons of waste that ConAgra intends to process daily through TDP.

Your calculations seem to be based on the assumption that ConAgra is taking live birds in one end of the building and shipping out whole dressed birds out the other. As was implied by the Discover article (some remark was made referring to the perpetual aroma of Thanksgiving Day hanging over the city) the plant in question is probably producing processed meat products in addition to whole birds. And as we all know, most manufacturing processes produce waste of one sort or another. In this case, I would assume the additional tonnage is made up of skin, bones and fat discarded during the manufacture and cooking of processed turkey products. In addition, you would probably have waste from other food ingredients used in the plant. I imagine there could be other subsidiary waste streams being figured into the total, such as shipping dunnage, packaging material, waste paper from the lunchroom, and shredded Skull and Bones newsletters from the executive suite. Considering all the crap your typical factory spews into the environment, I find the figures cited in the article to be within the limits of plausibility.

Back to that after school gig at the turkey factory…one of my regular duties was cleaning the “Blood Tunnel”. Imagine a serpentine (following the path of the over head conveyor from which the unfortunate poultry was suspended) mound of jellied turkey blood three feet high meandering in twenty foot loops through a dank smelly concrete block room. Wearing hip boots and wielding industrial-size squeegees, we would push the gruesome jello into a drain that lead to the plant’s septic system. And on a busy day our plant only killed 10,000 birds. Kind of gives me a personal appreciation for the potential benefits of TDP.

Thanks Lampare, that was the final nail in the coffin.

You made me think about this: In a CAG turkey plant, I would think they are cooking turkey meat, and de-fatting turkey meat, since the majority of turkey sold during the year is cooked or fat-free.

If that's the case, we could assume that might be:

- drippings from cooked turkey
- fat stripped out of turkey meat
- cooking oil and other wastes (as you pointed out)

All these drippings and fats are probably thrown into the "mix" going to the TDP process. And those drippings and fats are almost pure oil. They would boost the oil output a lot.

Again, if you were a smart engineer designing your first demo TDP plant, wouldn't you "go for" the highest-quality fattyest raw materials you could get your hands on? Heck yes.

So this is what we've established:

1. It's absolutely plausible for CWT to get 600 bbls a day out of 200 tons of turkey offal at a typical plant. Reinharg's calculations, with some modest error factors, and with the realization that CWT will certainly choose the highest quality raw material, easily lead us to that number.

2. If they don't get 600 bbls a day in large-scale production, maybe they only get 500 bbl a day or 400 bbl a day, that's fine, it doesn't make the CWT process any less a breakthrough. No industrial process runs at perfect efficiency, and we don't expect them to.

3. We should be careful with our calculations

4. We shouldn't be so quick to fling around accusations that CWT's claims are "deceptive". Let's strive for understanding and discussion of the TDP science, and avoid wild finger-pointing.

Lampare: I bet that job sticks in your mind. I was raised on a farm and 4-H basic's are processing plant tours
on a regular basis. These tours were to give us an appreciation of the process, and what "dressed weight" entails.
I have been trying to get a handle on the facilties waste stream that may be included in the TDP input.
Yes, my assumption was live turkey in, roasting turkey out. I know, never assume!

Philx: I agree. I have done your calculations, but didn't post because of lack of info in the published data.

I am wrong to suggest that a "Butterball turkey facility" produces only " Average Butterball turkey's". Indeed,
roasting turkey's are usually only sold in quantity during thanksgiving and xmas.

One scenario I ran or embodied "patent lingo":

"parcooked" suggests that this facility will be producing some % of processed turkey.
IE, boneless and fat reduced.

I try to stick to average or mean for quantities in the 30000 range.

So Average dressed weight could be as low as 40%. Offal @ 60%

Using "instutional turkeys" @ 40lbs = .6 * 40 = 24lbs/bird offal

24lb * 30000 / 2000 = 360 tons wet offal.

From that 360 tons CWT could pick and choose the choicest 200 tons.

As to "ridiculous" "wild accusations" "deceptive" "sloppy", oh well. I will just keep trying to determine
reasonable process variables in support of CWT. I like their idea. Thru this board I have a far better understanding
of TDP than when I first read the Discovery article. I will continue to assUme some of the data is extrapolated and
not yet proven. We wouldn't want to think the data on the 175 man was based on live trials.

We may have to live with the 175 pound man trial. The company sure is tight lipped about everything. Tried calling again and only got shunted into voice mail. Checking the FAQ on their web site: Due to the propietary nature of their plants, no tours are offered and all information regarding costs and economics are confidential. 200 tons of human offal doesn't get us even close to 600 barrels but maybe their figures were for a lean man and didn't account for the fact that 30 percent of adults are not just overweight but obese.

Perhaps they picked someone with a very high fat-to-weight ratio. You know, that test where they float you in a pool of water...

Oh and Reinharg, I apologize..the "sloppy" "wild accusations" part certainly wasn't referring to you.


PS. CWT is being tight-lipped because they are convinced that they are going to make a zillion billion dollars. Unfortunately this tends to make people clamp down and clutch their "secrets" to themselves, which, of course, is a sure fire way to encourage competitors to bypass your patents.

Personally I hope that 100 other smart researchers in the US, asia, and europe start improving on this idea.

From the past posts it looks like a gallon of oil weighs roughly 5.5 lbs. Therefore 600 bbls would weigh around 90 tons (600x55x5.5/2000). That seems resonable from an input of 200 tons.

I agree CWT being tight lipped may come from the fact it might be relatively easy to get around their patents. Since TDP is an old process they may also be worried that the patents could be invalidated due to prior art.

You people can forget whether this process helps global warming since that is an environmental fraud. What is intresting is whether this is a process that will make efficient use of oil shale which could make the US/Canada energy independant again.

In my opinion, the idea of "energy independence" based on fossil fuels is wholly unrealistic.

If overseas oil shipments are restricted in the future -- whether due to OPEC action, war, or some other event -- then worldwide oil prices will rise, no matter how much oil we're pumping out of the ground (or converting) here in the US. To assume otherwise would be to assume that US energy producers would look at rising world prices and say, "If we're selling our oil to Americans, we're going to sell at below-world-market prices." That's laughable.

I agree that total energy independence based on fossil fuels is probably unrealistic, even in the long term (the next century) due to increased usage world-wide both as a result of increased populations and advancements in quality-of-life in the third-world.

However, as this technology is implimented worldwide, the stranglehold that the major oil producers have will be greatly diminished.

Every country in the world _must_ use TDP just to keep from being buried in its own waste.

Each TDP unit that comes on-line results in more autonomy and less dependence on the outside. This is a strong incentive for any country to forge ahead with this technology.

There is no doubt in my mind that TDP marks the dawn of a radically new world - one that should see less conflict - especially as soon as the decline in petro dollar funding causes the terrorists to look for honest employment.

Too bad we won't live long enough to see the fruition - sigh.

And the bad news:


Wasted Daze

I have not read all of the above, but I read through about the first half. I just would like to make a few observations:

-The oil industry will not lose out... who else already has the infrastructure distribute the output from TDP plants? If the fat cats that run the oil companies had a single brain cell to share among themselves, they would be trying to replace every sewage treatment plant in the US with a TDP plant. Besides, the people who now work at oil refineries would be eminently qualified to run a TDP plant, perhaps with a few hours or tens of hours of training.

-Who really cares if this process is 85% efficient? If it operates at better than break-even, it's worth developing. This process sounds as though it does much better than break-even... and beyond that, it can process waste streams that we don't otherwise know how to deal with effectively in a manner that is viable LONG TERM.

-Those of you like dr mac who are falling all over themselves to make TDP out to be a hoax sound just like the idiots who in the 1800's pooh-poohed the notion of rail travel, insisting that the human body could not survive travel at over 25MPH. Why don't you(plural) sit the F___ down, shut the F___ up, go for a ride and see for yourself? If it's that important to you to prove TDP isn't viable, take a ride down to the plant and prove it. Most of us see hope in this, and the rest of you running around trying to convince everyone that the earth is flat just make yourselves look stupid.

Wasted Daze:

I don’t place much stock in the article you cited (“And the bad news: www.newsociety.com/News/oilgarb.html”). It is essentially a PR blurb put out by New Society Publishers to support the marketing of a book by one of their house hacks, anti-oil activist Richard Heinberg. One begins to suspect an agenda when a writer uses charged phrases and insider jargon like “the Empire”, “the depletion curve” and “global oil peak”

Mr. Heinberg’s main point seems to be that most of the energy embodied in the waste processed through TDP had its origin in fossil fuels and, because of this, TDP will ultimately do nothing to slow the “depletion curve” and stave off the “global oil peak”. Heinberg conveniently fails to mention that the process, as advertised, will allow the exploitation of previously uneconomical sources of energy, such as tar sands, oil shale, turkey guts, discarded toaster ovens, and toxic waste from Area 51. And it will essentially turn landfills into oil fields. I wonder why Heinberg stops at the fossil fuel point in the energy cycle. When it comes right down to it, aren’t fossil fuels composed of the remains of plants and other organisms that ultimately derived their energy from the sun? So, if you faithfully follow the energy path back to it’s genesis on Earth, you have to conclude that TDP will actually be recycling SOLAR ENERGY! If this isn’t the Holy Grail of the Birkenstock and hemp cloth crowd I don’t know what is.

Seriously though, I think Heinberg is being disingenuous in his criticism of TDP. He whines that the oil produced through TDP will not completely replace fossil fuels and mewls that TDP will only(?!) increase the efficiency of our energy usage. I get the feeling that he would scoff at any solution embraced by Big Business, regardless of its merits. He seems to dismiss the entire process since it isn’t a complete solution. This is like advocating throwing out a piece of a jigsaw puzzle because it doesn’t contain the entire picture.

"but over the long haul it cannot overcome the downward momentum of overall energy availability"

another statement that shows his bias. No one can predict the future but I see possibilities. If the "efficacy" of the process is as advertised then economics will cause people to exploit the process for profit. Which by the way should have the car manufacturers strongly supporting this as much as the black helicopter people theorize that the oil companies will subvert it.

It may be that crop waste is better plowed back into the ground than transported for processing. But suppose there is a rapid growing plant, requiring one planting, no care except occasional fertilizing and continual havesting. Maybe something like kudzu in the south. Or maybe a multistep process where cuttings are treated with bacteria or some other agent then processed. The point is that there has been no incentive for society to look in that direction. Even if nothing like that is found, the ability to deal with waste products will drive this development in the near term.

Maybe someone from the oil patch can comment. You invest $20 million in a facility that produces 600 barrels a day of refined oil (important point). Let's say that translates into 300x600=180,000 barrels of refined oil per year. How does that compare to current development costs?

Sorry to be disjointed in my posts but the refined oil seems to me to be a very big point. I remember from somewhere that no refineries have been built in the US in over 10 years. They represent a critical bottleneck in our energy availability. If someone familiar with the economics could comment on the value added by either eliminating or reducing the amount of refining needed with TDP produced oil.

Poultry data http://www.co.merced.ca.us/ag/croprpt01/livestock%20and%20poultry%20production.htm
US produced 3.544 Million turkeys
avg live weight = 26.26 lb/bird
Assume 'waste'/bird @ 35% and averages 5080 kJ/kg
Total industry'waste'/year = 16,286 ton/yr

US produced 81 M chickens and 1.75 M misc poultry
avg live weight = 5.19 lb/bird
Assume 'waste'/bird @ 35% and averages 5080 kJ/kg
Total industry 'waste'/year = 75.158 ton/yr

Assume 1 ton 'waste' yields 3.15 bbl crude equiv. (big assumption)
Total 'Waste' above yields 288,049 bbl crude equiv./year

US oil consumption in 2001 was 19.7 million bbl/DAY (many sources including DOE)

Total Poultry 'Waste' recovered as oil (max) = 14.6% of one days usage.

2001, the United States imported 30 quadrillion Btu of energy and exported 4 quadrillion Btu.(DOE)

Correction: ALL poultry waste/YR = 1.46 % ONE DAYS USE

US transportation used 69% of all oil consumed

An increase in overall fuel economy in US of 0.004% (0.00004/100) would 'save' energy equivalent to all annual poultry waste in US if 100% was TDP'd according to Hoyle.

An average fuel economy increase for all motor vehicles operating in US of 0.058% would 'save' energy equivalent to all annual poultry waste in US if 100% was TDP'd

This equates to a national average fuel economy inceasing from 24.50 mpg in 2001 to 24.514 mpg in future.

What is your point? Poultry is a very small part of total agricultural waste. I don't think anyone is claiming that processed poultry waste will solve our energy problems.

But an even more important question since you have had trouble presenting facts in the past. Why are using the poultry production figures of one county in California, in this case Merced, and trying to portray it as total US production? The more you post the more agenda driven you appear.

RETACTION of two former posts

was not Total US production statistics

You are so good at educating us. Okay so you screwed up again. You just have to get that desire to "dis" this process under control. But still, even with your suspect statistics, what point were you trying to make?

Doc - I saw my error as soon as I posted. Big error? Yes? However, it should be obvious that I am attempting to put the "oil" potential from TDP in context of total US energy (oil) usage. I failed to find US production statistics for poultry (despite searching same). Maybe you can find total US poultry production to your liking?

Or, consider multiplying Merced County output by factor of 1000 (1000 such countys). Still, this process does not begin to wean us from dependence on oil inputs as some here have asserted and as CNN has reported this date.

WRT other livestock - the vast majority of these 'wastes' are already used for other products. Every heard of meat byproducts or pet food for example? With cattle, every posssible fraction has a value in the current economy. Same is probably true for hogs.

So what are you contributing to this TDP foment. Just nay-saying and insult? Were you perhaps retained by CWT to monitor the internet chat they generated? You can bet someone is.

"Maybe you can find total US poultry production to your liking?"

Sorry, you are the one with the agenda, not me. Do your own work. What I have seen mentioned is that if ALL agricultural waste was processed by TDP the output would match current current oil imports.

"Doc - I saw my error as soon as I posted."

Oh really? You posted first at 7:26. Even tried to further strengthen your argument (as false as it was) at 8:02. I posted your mistake at 8:10 and you then retracted at 8:18. Do you think I just fell off the offal truck? Do you really believe what you write?

"So what are you contributing to this TDP foment. Just nay-saying and insult? Were you perhaps retained by CWT to monitor the internet chat they generated? You can bet someone is."

Good lord, man. Do you always project onto others what you so plainly do? And if you can't defeat the message, attack the messenger.

received my reply from cwt.

My question:

"Wrt. the facility currently being built. Will it only be processing the
animal byproducts, or will the system be reprocessing operational wastes
such as oils,greases, etc., as well"


"Thank you for your interest. We will be processing the wastes coming from
the slaughterhouse e.g, blood, bones, feathers, meat. the plant will also
process the sludge produced."

A more realistic interview about TDP @

As to last posts:

US annual's


poultry production




Totals meat (a bit of a read)

My 2 bits worth.........

consumption page 7 @ 221lb/ person / year

Say 300lb live weight/ person

@65% dressed

leaves about 100lb waste/person meat consumption only.

through tpd would make about 40lbs #2oil/person each year. What's that? 8 gal's.

if the US daily oil consumption is 19.7mil bbl/day (Crude?)
then per person is .065 bbl/day (300mil people?)
or 3.6 gal per day per person. ~2gal #2

That get's to 3 or 4 days consumption. Certainly the right direction.

have at'er.

Doc - you may have nothing better to do than sit here and critic others. Fine. I do have plenty else going on than to wait on your drivle. You still contribute no information whatsoever. Nothing offered therefore no opportunity to error.

You said, "What I have seen mentioned is that if ALL agricultural waste was processed by TDP the output would match current current oil imports."

No source given. Of course you can't error with hearsay and fanciful conjecture without attribution. I suppose some peole will believe anything.

Reinharg obviously got my point. Nice attempt to put this in some perspective.

"Just converting all the U.S. agricultural waste into oil and gas would yield the energy equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil annually. In 2001 the United States imported 4.2 billion barrels of oil."

I will go one step better. This is from the original article in Discover that got this all started. I am not "critic others" just your falacious postings. I don't damage your credibility....there is no way for me to compete with your own efforts.

I drivel.....you distort and darn if it doesn't appear quite intentional.

in case anyone (e.g. Doc) missed any of my previous stated bias


Does TDP 'produce' oil? YES

IS it energy 'efficient'? YES

Is it economical? YES, great potential for CWT/CAG

Can it be evaluated on info available? NO

Do their numbers work out? NO

Does it slow landfill closures? YES

Is it a 'good' use for this rescource? YES

Does it stink less than rotting? YES
Who said the only option is the landfill anyway?

Is TDP "new"? NO
Appel has published since at least 1990- As have others. The chemistry has been known for at least 50 years.

Is TDP patent valid? YES

Can the patent be circumvented? Probably. but not without $ and a fight.

Will CWT allow others access to the technology and so be benefited? Doubtful

Will it solve US oil dependence? NO, barely a dent. Many other technolgies have more potential.

Will it "Change" the "World"? NO - not like they project (hype). On one hand everything changes and every contribution (thing) has an effect.

WRT the world energy/resource utilization, well that won't change until (unless) we change.

Yes, and thanks, we all know where you are coming from. Just spare us the attempts to undermine the discussion of TDP's pros and cons with your false postings. So while I didn't miss any of your postings which showed your bias I also didn't miss any of your criticisms of or pedantic writings directed at others. Your humble poster included. While I am always willing to accept when someone acknowledges a mistake both your big ones have attempted to discredit TDP's value. Both would not have been discovered had someone not taken the effort to check up on you. Even when I did you tried to distort (nay, I think any rational person can see a lie) by trying to have us believe you immediately recognized your error. Help me believe in your credibility, tell me how you could make such a mistake about poultry production and when it was pointed out try hard not to take responsibility? So just in case you missed my previous post:

"Doc - I saw my error as soon as I posted."

Oh really? You posted first at 7:26. Even tried to further strengthen your argument (as false as it was) at 8:02. I posted your mistake at 8:10 and you then retracted at 8:18. Do you think I just fell off the offal truck? Do you really believe what you write?

Doc, Please believe whatever pleases you to believe. I have made two significant errors of haste and from sloppy research - not from spite or malicious intent. I have also contributed several valid observations/contributions to this blog. You have made no contriution whatsoever except for excercisng your ego and obvious prejudice against those you attempt an analysis. So What? What makes you thing I give a ___ what you think anyway. I am ever more convinced you are a CWT PR want-to-be. But So what? Hey, if it weren't for my admitted mistakes you'd have nothing else to do in life - so be happy.

Ahhh drmac, you are a classic. Continue to dodge responsibility if you want. You really are a piece of work. You castigate someone and accuse them of fraud because they use the word efficiency intead of efficacy. They of course aren't here to respond to your accusations. But your intellectual dishonesty is very clear. You claimed to see your error as soon as you posted. Why then did you post again, even more certain of your data 30 minutes later?

"You have made no contriution whatsoever except for excercisng your ego and obvious prejudice against those you attempt an analysis."

My BIG contribution to this board is exposing how you distort and falsify. While I would like to take credit it was someone else who first checked your false statements about the patent and called your honesty into question. The way you put people down only motivated me to check what you printed after that.

First I would like to thank Frank for his efforts in maintaining this.

I was directed here yesterday when I brought up this subject on a message board, where I said` to someone I would read the link. I have just finished. Ouch!!! It was long and at times tiresome to do in one sitting. I am in no mood to kind to Dr. Mac. But overall I remain excited.

The reason, I am peeved at Dr. Mac, being that he has stated a negative, based on science, and insisted that it is up to others to disprove his negative.

Even in the face of different areas of human endeavors, using different measures, having been pointed out, he has insisted in making the world come to him. That stubbornness has not only confused the entire discussion, but his original, and reasonable, question has been lost in his defense of its validity as its being the one most critical question. It is not.

At the end of the day, the efficiency of this process will be measured in the international unit of energy procurement, US Dollars.

However, in fairness Dr. Mac, the thermodynamics do need to reasoned out. There is not enough information given to so, and if there is an apparent shortfall, the efficient thing to have done would be to assume the facts given are correct, and find the shortfall.

Now, when I first read the article, I was excited. However, early on, they mentioned methane production in a positive light, and I thought, here is the rub.

Methane is a waste product in so many systems, including me. It is always sited by dreamers as the answer to all our energy problems. But it is too hard to collect in commercial volumes, transport and it burns cool relative to alternative gases, so it is always just a waste product. It is "flared off" at the oil refineries and at the well- heads, because, well…. that says all that needs being said about its commercial efficiency. (I wonder if oil refineries would measure up to your standards, Dr. Mac?}

However, later on in the article it became clear that the methane produced in the process was utilized on site. Eureka, the missing BTUs.

The methane does not exist as it enters the system in the form of feed stock, it is produced as a by product, recycled as energy back into the system and thus does not show up on the "E in" side of the equation, but its effects, relative to the overall process, is present when "E out" is measured.

Were it not recycled back, as the energy needed to make the process work, the overall equation have to account for methane produced, wouldn’t it? Does it, according to your figures, Dr. Mac?

That is my theory, stated positively, so the scientific method can be utilized, properly, to disprove it, if I am wrong.

On to the politics of it: Those who worry about economic displacement being a result of using alternatives to imported oil are what were called, at the turn of the last century, "anti-progressive". If I may be forgiven for generalizing, if these people were not coming from a conservative point of view, and the terms having taken on polarizing political connotations, making it appear to be an oxymoron, one might say these generally conservative free marketers, are being anti America to hope this process works. Why should ever trust OPEC again?

If these same people ever take a free market position on another issue, then they are being hypocritical now. The health of the American economy comes first; let the benefits of that trickle down to rest of the world. That is current philosophy, in all things economic, except energy independence, isn't it?

Besides, compared to other alternative energy schemes, the domestic effect is minimal and the net effect, beyond a better balance of payments, would be job creation in America, where the wealth that matters, is created. Just as job creation is key to the current Tax Cut Plan, the jobs potential, American jobs, that shifting to this would create, must go the positive side of the economic and political equation.

This being, because, until all foreign oil imports were replaced, there would be no logical reason to reduce our domestic production, would there?

Meanwhile third world country would absorb the imported production we now consume, as the price fell so they could afford it, or at least if oil is really a free market item. If not, why worry about OPEC? In a free market the chips fall where they will, and to Blazes with a protective overseas cartel. What is anyone's problem with American energy running America?

But America is less of free market then anyone wants to admit. The things we proud of are often government funded, like NASA, the Interstate Highway system and the nuclear industry. The present waste water treatment plant are Federally mandated, and if, and only if, this is as positive a idea as it appears, then there is reason on earth that it should not become the waste water treatment standard for America. It pays after all.

That brings me back to science, sewerage and heavy metals. Heavy metals are only an issue when they escape into the environment. Relative to this process, the only fair measure of how much of an issue heavy metals would be is if they were introduced into the environment at a greater rate then is currently accepted with sewage sludge.

My feeling is they might be extracted by simple chemistry as they would be concentrated in an ore of mostly carbon wouldn't they? What is market price of mercury? Forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself, but could someone with a better knowledge of industrial chemistry comment?

200 tons of turkey innards have an energy content of about 1,888,920 Btus. 600 barrels of light "golden oil" has an energy content of about 3,661,416,000 Btus or about 2000 times the energy provided by the innards. Must we rewrite the laws of thermodynamics (and common sense)? Remember, energy can not be created. Each time you transform it you lose a little or a bunch.
Folks, the principals are all stock brokers with political ties. The turkeys they will process will be govermental agencies giving grants and perhaps a few greedy wealthy people weak in basic science. Cheers

John, could you cite the sources for your figures? They are at odds with what others have posted above. 200 tons of turkey offal should have an energy content of approximately 3,500,000,000 BTUs or slightly less than the BTU content of 600 barrels of oil.

Once again, this blogs’ “CWT-spy” (“Doc”) criticizes others (selectively) but provides no information himself- while misrepresenting efforts made by others (valid or not). He eagerly ascribes a nefarious purpose/intent to those who challenge a Discover/CWT claim.

First, he can’t even read (or use a calculator). His last post states “200 tons of turkey offal should have an energy content of approximately 3,500,000,000 BTUs or slightly less than the BTU content of 600 barrels of oil.”

However: prior calculations (also see below) have indicated that 200 wet tons ‘offal’ could potentially yield 2.047 B Btu at 100% ‘efficiency’. At 85% ‘efficiency’ (aka, less “gas” aka Eproc) this yields 1.74 B Btu, which equates to 266.42 bbl #2 h.o. (@ 6,530,862 btu/bbl)

Second: “Doc” conveniently ignores “MoJoJo’s” post where he claims oil has a mass of 5.5 lb/gal and that a barrel contains 55 gallons and therefore the weights (mass) stated by CWT somehow works out!

FYI: 1 barrel crude = 136.4 kg = 300.76 lb and contains 42 US gallons (energy content below).
Density of L.S. Crude is therefore 7.16 lb/US gal. (Irrelevant to energy calculations).
FYI 1 barrel #2 (medium) heating oil = 151.5 kg and contains 42 US gallons (energy content below).
Density of #2 h.o. is therefore 7.954 lb/US gal. (Irrelevant to energy calculations).

Third: Doc conveniently ignores “Gee’s” post. When most of us are attempting to find where the alleged ‘extra’ energy is coming from in the TDP/Discover numbers, Gee is out looking for a mysterious ‘missing’ energy.

When a post to this Blog makes an assertion that conveniently meshes with “Doc’s” pro-CWT prejudice, he categorically ignores the obvious errors therein. When a post questions, challenges or refutes a claim made by CWT, “Doc” merely resorts to insulting the messenger (whether correct or incorrect). It is also curious that he asks others for their references but never provides any himself. I suggest to “Doc” that he either do his own research/calculations (with sourcing info) or continue to ‘believe’ whatever he wishes, but to cease insulting those who make a good-faith effort to analysis the potential impact of TDP/CWT on the US energy economy.

’Good-faith’ calculations of TDP (with reference sources):
Energy content of poultry ‘offal’ = 5,080 kcal/DW kg = 20,145.6 btu/DW kg (source: International Network of Feed Information Center (INFIC))
Conversions: 1 kcal = 3.96567 Btu = 0.708144E-06 equiv. bbl crude (source: http://www.processassociates.com/process/convert/cf_ene.htm)
And 5080 kcal = 0.00359742634 bbl crude equiv.
When 200 Wet ton ‘waste’=> 112 DW ton input = 224,000 lb = 101,587.3 kg
At 100% recovery = 101,587.3 kg X 0.00359742634 = 365.453 bbl crude equiv. (or 3.262 bbl/DW ton or 1.827 bbl/wet ton)
And 365.5 bbl crude equiv. = 313.7 bbl #2 equiv. http://www.processassociates.com/process/basics/oil_vw.htm

Crude oil (light sweet) =136.4 kg/bbl and 0.56E+07 btu/bbl = 41,100 btu/kg
# 2 (medium) heating oil equiv. = 43,108 btu/kg x 151.5 kg/bbl = 6,530,863 btu/bbl
( source: http://www.processassociates.com/process/basics/oil_vw.htm)

From above: 3.262 bbl crude equiv./DW ton = 2.8 bbl #2 h.o. equiv./DW ton (at 100% recovery)
At 85% recovery => 2.77 bbl crude equiv./wet ton or 2.38 bbl#2 equiv/wet ton

Organic Input (GE) @ 5,080 kcal/kg = 20,145.6 btu/kg = 18.273 million btu/ DW ton ‘offal’
100% of 18.73 M btu/DW ton X 112 DW ton = 2.047 B Btu
Doc: Please notice that 2,046,537,143 does NOT equal 3,500,000,000
Assuming recovery ‘efficiency’ of 0.85: net Energy recovered = 2.047 B Btu X 0.85 = 1.74 B Btu/112 DW ton (200 Wet ton)
Note: 1.74 does NOT equal 3.50
CWT states that they produce 600 bbl #2 oil equiv.+ Eproc (of 15%) from an unspecified mass of turkey ‘waste’ > 200 ton including H2O
Calc: 600 bbl #2 h.o. equiv. x 43,108 btu/kg x 151.5 kg/bbl = (600X 6.531 M btu/bbl)= 3.81852 B btu = 681.5 equiv. bbl crude
DW mass of input = 3.81852 B btu / 20,145.6 btu/kg = 189,546 DW kg = 209 DW short ton
Assuming moisture content of ‘offal’ is 43.8% (calculated from Discover/CWT statement of 21,000 US gal/200 wet ton)
Then 56.2% of the total wet mass is the DW mass of GE input

Therefore: (based on “standard units and measure”) mass of wet ‘offal’ input required for claimed 85% output = 372+ wet ton ‘offal’ Therefore: (0.85 Eoil out + o.15 Eproc) = (372 wet ton + 65.65 wet ton) = 437.65 wet ton ‘offal’ input for 600 bbl#2 equiv +15% Eproc

TDP of All Poultry ‘waste’, in theory:
100% annual US poultry production: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/poultry/pbh-bbp/plva0403.txt
Poultry production statistics (US, 2002)
Chickens: 44.1 Billion lbs; assuming 65% dressed weight => 7,717,500 tons ‘waste’/yr (= 7.0 B kg)
Turkey: 7.41 Billion lbs; assuming 65% dressed weight =>1,296,750 tons ‘waste’/yr (= 1.177 B kg)
Total ‘waste’ = 8,176,190,476 kg/yr Doc: if you don’t like USDA’s numbers and/or multiplication, then make up your own

Total ‘waste’ @ 5080 kcal/kg (average) = 4.1535E+13 kcal = 1.647143E+14 Btu
Recovery of 85% => 1.4E+14 Btu = 24,974,340 bbl crude equiv. (= 21,437,775 bbl #2 h.o. equiv.)
100% recovery => 3.26 bbl crude equiv./ wet ton or 2.8 bbl #2 h.o. equiv/wet ton
85% recovery => 2.77 bbl crude equiv./wet ton or 2.38 bbl#2 h.o. equiv/wet ton

US DOE reports US oil consumption in 2002 was 19.7 M bbl/day (7.2 B bbl/year) and represents 40% US energy usage
24.974 M bbl crude equiv. from all poultry ‘waste’ /19.7 = 126.8% of ONE DAYS oil consumption in US
= 0.347% annual oil use.
= 0.139% US Energy consumption/year (a ‘positive’ direction)

Some Further Perspective on Energy
”Good energy crops have a very high yield of dry material per unit of land (dry tonnes/hectare). A high yield reduces land requirements and lowers the cost of producing energy from biomass. Similarly, the amount of energy which can be produced from a biomass crop must be less than the amount of energy required to grow the crop. In some circumstances like the heavily mechanized corn farms in the U.S. midwest, the amount of ethanol which can be recovered from the corn is barely larger than the fuel required for tractors, fertilizers, and processing.” [ Not-to-mention, the energy required to extract/transport ore and refine metals etc.; to manufacture, ship, operate and maintain machinery or the energy represented by the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides applied to the crops. Others (World Watch Institute) have estimated that US agricultural practices use at least one barrel of oil ($25-30) and perhaps more to produce each bushel of grain ($6-8) and deliver it to our store shelves.]

“Using recycled material as the feed-stock for manufacturing consumes far less energy than manufacturing items from virgin (raw) materials.”

“Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required for manufacturing them from raw materials.” (TDP’d plastics costs US energy)

“Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save a lot of trees.” (TDP’d paper costs US energy)

“Retreading automobile and truck tires uses only about 30% of the energy required to produce a new tire and can provide 80% of the mileage.” .” (TDP’d tires costs US energy)

“The most effective method of reducing the amount of energy consumed by the manufacturing sector of our economy is to reduce the amount of unnecessary products produced, and to reuse items in their original form wherever possible.”

“The simplest, cheapest [most efficacious] and most common method of obtaining energy from biomass is direct combustion.” (14% of global energy use in 2002 was from combusted biomass fuels (DOE/IEA))

“Pyrolysis, used to produce charcoal since the dawn of civilization, is still the most common thermochemical conversion of biomass to commercial fuel.” (TDP is basically ‘fancy’ pyrolysis.)

“Anaerobic digestion of biomass has been practiced for almost a century, and is very popular in many developing countries such as China and India.” [and throughout Africa] (Turkey guts, etc. is great ‘digest’ input material.)

“An ever-increasing number of people on this planet are faced with hunger and starvation. It has been argued that the use of land to grow fuel crops [includes grain for livestock] will increase this problem. Hunger in developing countries, however, is far more complex than just a lack of agricultural land. Many countries in the world today, such as the U.S., have food surpluses. Much fertile agricultural land is also used to grow tobacco, flowers, food for domestic pets and other "luxury" items, rather than staple foods. Similarly, a significant proportion of agricultural land is used to grow feed for animals to support the highly wasteful, meat-centered diet of the industrialized world. By feeding grain to livestock we end up with only about 10% of the caloric content of the grain.”
Above quotes from http://www.iclei.org/EFACTS/BIOMASS.HTM

From World Watch Institute 1997
“It takes 7 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef: the conversion is 4 to 1 for pork and 2 to 1 for chicken.” “36 percent of the world's grain goes to feed livestock and poultry, inefficient converters of grain. …industrial nations, where nearly 70 percent of grain is fed to livestock.” Oh! I checked other sources for FCR data, which confirm WWI’s reported values (rounded average)

“Food grains [including animal feeds] now contain between 4 and 10 calories of fossil fuel for every 1 calorie of solar energy”
AKA: 1 cal radiation + 4 cal ‘oil’ => 5 cal grain TO 1 cal rad. + 10 cal oil => 11 cal grain
(source: http://www.sharelynx.net/Papers/TheComingOilCrashAndYou.htm

"Food grains produced with modern, high-yield methods (including packaging and delivery) now contain between four and ten calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of solar energy. It has been estimated that about four percent of the nation's energy budget is used to grow food, while about 10 to 13 percent is needed to put it on our plates. In other words, a staggering total of 17 percent of America's energy budget is consumed by agriculture! " p. 172, BEYOND OIL, Gever et al.; Univ. Pr. Colorado 1991.

(2 kcal solar radiation via photosynthesis + 8 to 20 kcal ‘oil’ energy) => 10 to 22 kcal grain (feed) => 5-11 kcal live poultry => don’t ‘believe’ this either, well – do your research

Feed conversion ratios (FCR) for feed-lot cattle ranges 6:1 to 9:1, industrial swine about 4:1 to 5:1, factory poultry 2:1 to 2.5:1

FYI: Freshwater finfish FCR from 0.85:1 to 1.2:1 “Save OIL, Eat FISH !” yeah! Aquaculture!
(Examples: Carp 0.85:1 to 1:1, Tilapia and Catfish 0.9:1 to 1.1:1, Salmonids 1.1:1 to 1.2 :1)

“Each kilo of meat represents several [many] kilos of grain, either corn [soybean] and/or wheat, that could be consumed directly by humans. If the 670 million tons of the world's grain used for feed were reduced by just 10 percent, this would free up 67 million tons of grain, enough to sustain 225 million people or keep up with world population growth for the next three years. If each American reduced his or her meat consumption by only 5 percent, roughly equivalent to eating one less dish of meat each weak, 7.5 million tons of grain [and more ‘oil’] would be saved; enough to feed 25 million people - roughly the number estimated to go hungry in the United States each day.” (World Watch Institute, 1977)

Either reducing US poultry production by approx. 3% or increasing the fraction actually consumed by approx. 3% (or 1.5% each) would ‘save’ as much fossil fuel energy as TDP can theoretically produce from the total current poultry 'waste' resource. Alternatively, a tiny fractional reduction in beef consumption or a minor increase in fish consumption per capita would ‘save’ as much oil as TDP could envision ‘producing’ (not that it is ‘bad’ for CWT to do this). However, making an inherently inefficient, sustainable production system a few percentage points less ‘inefficient’ (which is a ‘good’ thing) is NOT going to “Change the World”. That will require a much greater collective, consistent effort. IMO.

The average automobile engine is 20% efficient in converting gasoline heat energy into mechanical work. (or 24 mpg (DOE))
(Source http://www.sharelynx.net/Papers/TheComingOilCrashAndYou.htm)

69% of oil consumed in US is for transport (DOE).
An increase to 21% avg. efficient engines (to 25.2 mpg) would ‘save’ 343 M bbl/yr (or 14 times 100% TDP poultry ‘oil’ capacity)

"Future food" [is now] being consumed by using gasoline in [inefficient] vehicles:
“Gasoline consumed ‘now' will deprive future agriculture of energy required for producing food.
Here's how much future food a 30 m.p.g vehicle is "eating" now
Bread, 1 kg loaf = 6 miles= one slice per 422 yards
Beef, 1 kg = consumed by driving 76.2 miles
Canned corn 1 kg= consumed by driving 5.4 miles” http://www.sharelynx.net/Papers/TheComingOilCrashAndYou.htm

Third World country’s have long known and used anaerobic digestion (and direct combustion) to extract energy from organic wastes and will continue to do so as it’s known and simpler technology, a much cheaper capital investment with lower processing costs and is much more readily decentralized than TDP could be envisioned particularly considering the proprietary nature of CWT’s technology and its US patent. If CAG really has been disposing of their poultry ‘waste’ by dumping it in a landfill then they are criminally stupid IMO (which I tend to doubt). TDP is not a long waited panacea for ‘our’ energy woes or the path to sustainability but rather a more economic means for CAG et al. to extract greater financial value from their products and reduce our exposure to their corporate waste stream (‘good’). They are not creating energy.

HOWEVER: 24.974 M bbl crude equiv. from ALL poultry ‘waste’ at $30/bbl = $749,230,000/year (income potential, all to CWT)

And TDP/CWT is going to “Change The World”?
Yep, they will produce a few more Billionaires by continuing to creatively manipulate a totally unsustainable process (and us).

”If biomass is to supply a greater proportion of the world's energy needs in the future, the challenge will be to produce biomass sustainably and [then] to convert and use it without harming the natural environment.” Taking a tiny fraction of 17% of US total energy demand (for agriculture, which is itself far less than 10-20% energy ‘efficient’) and increasing said ‘efficiency’ by a few percent is not going to begin addressing US energy security concerns or sustainability, IMO. TDP could potentially be developed as a small step in the ‘right’ direction’ on a very long road.

If you ‘really’ want to ‘save’ oil, Then:
- Eat less beef, pork, lamb and poultry (or less beef/pork and more poultry).
- Eat more fish (not from oceanic catch), fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
- Shop smart. Eat what’s on your plate. Give scraps to pets. Etc.
- Use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Use wisely.
- Turn down heat and AC (use sweaters and fans). Insulate.
- Install solar water heater, photovoltaics and/or wind generator.
- Ride a bike sometime. Park the SUV (e.g. car pool, even 1 day/wk)
- Reuse/Recycle your waste stream. Buy recycled products.
- Etc.
You’ll be richer (and healthier) for it - and the landfills not as full – and CAG won’t be quite so ‘fat’.

drmac what hypocrisy on your part.

"He eagerly ascribes a nefarious purpose/intent to those who challenge a Discover/CWT claim."

I challenge you to show me where I did that to anyone other than you. You claimed sloppy research twice as a defense. I can accept that but in presenting that defense the second time you lied. You still haven't responded to that. You just keep changing the subject. Care to show us why you claimed, "Doc - I saw my error as soon as I posted.", but then posted again to strengthen your point 30 minutes later? A hypocrite and a liar? Should anyone be surprised?

"First, he can’t even read (or use a calculator)." My, my...aren't we condescending. But then that describes many of your posts. No, I didn't use a calculator. The figure was just eyeballed from the dry weight. When there is a descrepancy of some 2000 times does 50% or 100% matter? Since we don't even know how much will be processed daily why are you so apoplectic? Wouldn't it be better to ask someone how they got from point A to point B? Like I did of John, rather than the name calling you engaged in?

I posted at 05:54 PM MSST
"doc" replied a 07:25 PM EDST (it is 05:56 PMhere now)
Thats 1 minute people!

I do not explain to anyone (esp. to Doc) how I use my time or what I may or may not have doing during his "obsessed" 30 min. gap between two of my former posts. Too funny!

He is apparently sitting here ready to pounce on anyone who does not think as he seems to that CWT is the new "Savior" and the cure to what ails us! Ha ha ha. Hope he is being paid well.

Oh drmac, drmac, drmac. You are simply amazing!

"I posted at 05:54 PM MSST
"doc" replied a 07:25 PM EDST (it is 05:56 PMhere now)
Thats 1 minute people!"

You only see what you want to see. Seems you don't know anything about time. It is 5:56 there now but look at your post time.....7:32! Get a grip man! You really are losing it. This should post about 7:55 and it is not even close to that time here. Do you understand yet?

Your in a different timezone idiot.

and I know a waste of my time (and yours) when I see it

Yes, I am in a different time zone. But do you see your posting time? Do you see how your post times are two hours after your actual time? Of course you do. Now explain to the people how you could have claimed to post at 5:54 your time when the posted time is..... Posted by: dr mac at May 19, 2003 05:54 PM . Now that is EDT. I am the idiot, so explain to us, in simple terms, how you can have one post where the time is local but all other posts seem to be EDT?

Is this your habitual sloppiness? Do they have therapy for that? Or did this idiot catch you lying again? :-)

drdiatribe (can I call you that?)

Waste of time? Not when one gets to expose a pompous ass such as yourself. With your social graces one can only hope you live alone.

Please explain the above discrepancy for everyone. Wouldn't one need to embrace the concept of reversible time flow to have accomplished what you did? But what does entropy (you do love beating us over the head with it) have to say about reversible time? ;-)

Unfortunately I have to leave for a few days. But drdiatribe this has really been fun. So when I get back I sure hope to see your explanation. People really deserve to know if you are sloppy or lying. I know taking responsibility is not your bag but, come on, bite the bullet. Who knows, you might even learn something from this.

It still comes out to between 90 and 100 tons. So whats your point.

One (1) pound of turkey contains 1190 calories or 4.7 Btus.
It takes one calorie to heat 1 gram 1 degree C.
The process requires the temp. to be 600 degrees F or 500 degrees F (260 degrees C)above an assumed ambient of 100 degrees F. there are 453.6 grams in a pound.
Thus it takes 553.6 grams X 260 degrees or 117,780 calories to get one pound of turkey up to the required 600 degrees F for depolymerization. This would require the heat of 99 burning turkeys to depolymerize one turkey.

Remember; the principals are out to nab government grants or depolymerize a few bucks from the unwary.

PS A general rule is that the best way to recover energy from waste is to burn it in a power plant with out going to the trouble of violating every known thermodynamic principal and then lying about it with clever jargon.

As Phil X has said,
1. It's absolutely plausible for CWT to get 600 bbls a day out of 200 tons of turkey offal at a typical plant. Reinharg's calculations, with some modest error factors, and with the realization that CWT will certainly choose the highest quality raw material, easily lead us to that number.
2. We should be careful with our calculations
3. We shouldn't be so quick to fling around accusations that CWT's claims are "deceptive". Let's strive for understanding and discussion of the TDP science, and avoid wild finger-pointing.

And DR Mac speaks,

Third: Doc conveniently ignores “Gee’s” post. When most of us are attempting to find where the alleged ‘extra’ energy is coming from in the TDP/Discover numbers, Gee is out looking for a mysterious ‘missing’ energy.

While Dr Mac, is on his fifth or six method of calculating how the material in can’t reach the material out and , basing his figures, at first, on dried poultry waste as used in live stock feed and now every other close material as per his engineering library, none of the figures are worth anything.

They ignore what is the stated as the difference in this process, the water and all the wet material is used for its fill chemical potential in the process and then the water is removed at no cost in terms of energy loss.

Traditional thinking is this:

PS: A general rule is that the best way to recover energy from waste is to burn it in a power plant with out going to the trouble of violating every known thermodynamic principal and then lying about it with clever jargon.Posted by: John Gasell

But that can only be done once the water is removed, or it will not burn, will it? So in extracting the water, by what, heat is the only way, be it forced or plain evaporation, how much other chemical energy is being removed, as well, and what happens to the overall efficiency?

However this is how it is done, so this is how it must be done, according to some. The same type who said, get a horse and man can't fly.

If you boil off the water, to get any wet material to a burnable dry condition, have you not also boiled off anything that is LESS VOLATILE THEN WATER? That is a lot of chemical mass and lot of chemical energy lost to conventional thinking and negativity, isn’t it, Dr Mac?

But you know there is a solution, sharpen your pencil, assume the 600 barrel estimate is the correct projected output, and work back from that and then we can see if the chemicals, all those liquids and gasses that are less volatile then water (given that I am trying to shake up conventional thinking, I love saying that, less volatile then water) and let’s see what is missing. Lets’s see if the energy out is reasonable. Dry weight vs, wet wiegh might find a place in this, but it is not traditional engineering is it?

How much more potential chemical engery is in blood compared to blood meal? Got the figures on that, Dr Mac.

Lapare and phil X have already addressed this:

Back to that after school gig at the turkey factory…one of my regular duties was cleaning the “Blood Tunnel”. Imagine a serpentine (following the path of the over head conveyor from which the unfortunate poultry was suspended) mound of jellied turkey blood three feet high meandering in twenty foot loops through a dank smelly concrete block room. Wearing hip boots and wielding industrial-size squeegees, we would push the gruesome jello into a drain that lead to the plant’s septic system. And on a busy day our plant only killed 10,000 birds. Kind of gives me a personal appreciation for the potential benefits of TDP.

You made me think about this: In a CAG turkey plant, I would think they are cooking turkey meat, and de-fatting turkey meat, since the majority of turkey sold during the year is cooked or fat-free.
If that's the case, we could assume that might be:
- drippings from cooked turkey
- fat stripped out of turkey meat
- cooking oil and other wastes (as you pointed out)
All these drippings and fats are probably thrown into the "mix" going to the TDP process. And those drippings and fats are almost pure oil. They would boost the oil output a lot.

Again, if you were a smart engineer designing your first demo TDP plant, wouldn't you "go for" the highest-quality fattyest raw materials you could get your hands on? Heck yes.

While there is no point in questioning your contention that the facts of thermodynamics are unquestionable, Dr Mac, there is also the undeniable fact that your math will work equally well in both directions, if it is correct in the first place.

You would be wise cover your position on this subject, as the pilot plant is the ultimate proof. If this process were my intellectual property, and I was confident in it, I would be wishing for and waiting for someone like you, wouldn’t I? Feed him too little information, let him go on and on, and then prove him wrong, with facts on the ground. It is great PR for this company.

Likewise there is little question that the article is not a scientific publication, but again the proof is in the pilot plant isn’t it?

I have some questions about the overall process myself. I have just looked and can’t find who said it, but someone who supports your position, Dr Mac, said that there seemed to be to too little gas, overall.

I wondered about that and think that the gas accounted for is the waste gas only, and methane, which there could be a lot of, (it could even be maximized just by managing the handling of the raw material for it production) is not even accounted for at all, relative to your methods.

Even though I know Dr Mac does not accept the alternative energy method of calculations of energy efficiency, being the purist he is, it is logical that the methane producted is not a factor in that method.

It is accounted for in that method, only as a cost saving, really, one that contributes to the overall cost effiecency of the useful products produced. This being, as it is consumed as energy to fuel the process, that it is the heat, the calories, that boil the water and does not need to be listed in the output of products produced, as it is not available to be used at the end of the process, and therefore is not a net economic gain or a diosposial waste cost.

On the surface this might appear to support Dr Mac’s contention as it is more energy that HE does not account for, but just because it is so much fun to say, I have to explain that is because it is less volatile then water, and his method assume it is losted energy, worse that is was never even available, as it was too wet to burn when he wants to do his measuring, beig tied up in a wet slimey mass.

As to : Some Further Perspective on Energy… “Food grains [including animal feeds] now contain between 4 and 10 calories of fossil fuel for every 1 calorie of solar energy” AKA: 1 cal radiation + 4 cal ‘oil’ => 5 cal grain TO 1 cal rad. + 10 cal oil => 11 cal grain …. Either reducing US poultry production by approx. 3% or increasing the fraction actually consumed by approx. 3% (or 1.5% each) would ‘save’ as much fossil fuel energy as TDP can theoretically produce from the total current poultry 'waste' resource…. And on and on….

Thinking no one will, all be it that, no one should have to, point out the simple fact that does not change the fact there are tons and tons of slippery slimey turkey guts sitting there anyway, no matter what would be more energy efficient, or how many Btu's of which kind of energy it took to get them there.

The egocentricity to try to sweep 200 tons of turkey guts under the rug, because you are losing a silly argument, is outrageous.

So to not use it would be to what, bury it? This whole tirade is sad. People have generally just mentioned the issues of commercial valued added by saving the cost of disposal of this waste, in passing, as you are focused on the mass and energy flow,it is disingenuous to throw that back in their faces, now.

The argument will be settled when the plant is in operation. Some of our motivation for being optimistic about this may well be political and liberal, but what is wrong with using US energy before importing it?

Moreover except for your egocentricity and negative attitude, which you are very good at, by the way, what are your motivations for hoping it doesn’t work?

As to your used of "Either reducing US poultry production by approx. 3% or increasing the fraction actually consumed by approx. 3% (or 1.5% each) would ‘save’ as much fossil fuel energy as TDP" as an argument just has me dieing to know how you would come down on the argument, “yeah, we, anyone interest in American energy issues, knows that already, and what is more; a concerted effort to conserve energy could could end our need for imported oil tomorrow. All it would take is the life style changes like you have advocated above. Especially driving smaller cars.”

The reason that this is so interesting, is that you sound so much like the nay-sayers in that discussion, and hearing that from a nay-sayer is really novel, in enrgy discussions.

GEE! You completely ignored the first two paragraphs containing the "meat" of my calculations. These are published numbers easily verified on line.
I would ask you to get additional details from Changing World Technologies or Ex CIA James Woolsey as I have. You will get NOTHING in reply.
Why? Because it's all voodo science and a ploy to sell stock to the unwary.
Now to the PS. Assume the guts are dried. The energy content of the dried guts is the same (1109 calories per pound. Mix them with sand...still the same, eat them, still the same. You can not create energy PERIOD. That is why ALL processes have an energy balance; except the fraudlent ones.

"dr mac" never said TDP was a 'bad' idea, either in theory or practice - quite the contrary. Repeatedly! It could well be ‘advantageous’ (economic and otherwise) in specific applications.

Prior calculations (math) are not 'his math' (as Gee suggests) or anyone else’s math. Math is math. Multiplication, division, etc. (Excel, calculators, equation) 'work'. Starting with the givens (e.g. known (proven) energy content of organic molecules and of outputs) one cannot extract 600 bbl #2 equiv. energy from 200 wet ton of poultry 'offal'. Wishing it could be otherwise won't make it happen no matter how cleverly one markets a hoped for scenario. The energy value of all organic molecules is well known to chemists and cannot be changed by convenience. Energy cannot be created or destroy. The mass (“Gee”, that means weight) of the material in question is irrelevant to energy conservation in chemistry. This is not some sort of fission or fusion process.

Sure TDP works. It is well known chemistry. The values provided in Discover article for input(s) and output(s) just do not equate. Either 'direction'. Nevertheless, even assuming 600 bbl out would require at least 350 wet tons input, CWT/CAG would create tremendous 'wealth' nevertheless. Fine! Business as usual.

An obvious implication in the 'constructed' Discover article was that "Eproc" = 15% = "energy content of "gas"(10 tons) produced". The 15% “dr mac” keeps subtracting from output and adding to input to balance (conserve) the energy ('he' also assumes zero entropy loss); therefore, Eproc is the "gas" which "Gee" alleges "dr mac" forgot.

The vast majority of this Eproc "gas" is Methane. Anaerobic bacteria 'produce' methane as 'waste' product of their metabolism of organic 'wastes'. The world has known this for at least hundred years. This has been widely used (exploited) around the world - for many decades. Bacteria 'do there thing' on a 24/7 basis and with a small fraction of TDP capital investment, without a patent, with almost 0% Eproc, without 'fancy' pyrolysis and without BS marketing/PR hype. Bacteria do not have a Union or principals, stockholders, or consultants (ex-CIA or otherwise). Bacteria are extremely 'efficient'. Bacteria do not get wealthier.

Ignorance is the mother of devotion. (Robert Burton)

Disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases. (Stephen Hawking)


Slightly in keeping with topic( the reason to process animal waste) CANADA has been hit with the latest case of mad cow's, and the "mad" people to go with them. A roving CWT TDP would be busy right about now.

Would any of the fine reader's know of a blog for this one. The possibility of 3 million cows and the feed to host them, being suddenly avalaible, must be being discussed somewhere.

My apologize's Mr. Boosman for the off topic request.

reinharg- good point

Just for fun:

3,000,000 cattle
X 1,260 lb ea (USDA)
= 3,780,000,000 lb cattle
= 1.71612E+12 g cattle
avg cal/g LW @1350 cal/g (1.35 kcal)
= 2.31676E+15* cal (cattle)
FCR=7:1 (X 7)
= 1.62173E+16* cal (feed)
cal oil/cal grain 6:1 (X 6)
= 9.7304E+16* cal ('oil' for feed)
9.96208E+16* total cal (cattle + 'oil' for feed)

crude =5,606,040 btu/bbl
X 252.16 cal/btu
= 1,413,643,717 cal/bbl
= 70,470,915* bbl crude equiv. ?????

* Not to be considered as "fact"

Cattle slaughtered in US approx 3 million/month (USDA)

So your saying that ConAgra/CWT are in collusion to build a 20 million dollar TDP plant so they can sell stock then show the process is a fraud and then do what? Short it so when it crashes a few people in the know can make some money? Come on. Plus you completely ignore the fact that the steam generated at the end of the process is sent back to the beginning to preheat the incoming stream. Your calcs assume all incoming material is at "room temp".

Oh ya, I forgot to add CWT is a privately held company you can't by stock in it anyway.

DrM. Not quite a redirect but...

Thing's that make you go ummm in the night.

I think that the 3mil is Alberta only. Will check.

Cann't correlate so fast but my calc's for biomass energy conversions suggest equally out of wack #'s.

"chilly dog"

IF 350 ton offal
= > 600 bbl#2
then 200 ton offal/day
= 343 bbl#2/day

@ $45 bbl #2
= > $15,429 $/day
x 5 $77,143 $/wk
x 50 $3,857,143 $/yr

IF 200 ton offal/day
= > 600 bbl#2/day

@ $45 bbl #2
= $27,000 $/day
x 5 $135,000 $/wk
x 50 $6,750,000 $/yr

Not all $20 M capital costs are out of pocket (e.g. grants)
All capital costs will be depreciated
Operating costs assumed less than current disposal cost

That's completely irrelevent. However the thing is financed doesn't matter. When it's finished the plant will have a "value" of 20 million dollars according to the article. All of which according to Gessell is to perpetrate a fraud. That's just stupid.

chilly dog: It works like this. A firm like CWT spins a "Break Through" process description and "demonstration" that appears to the uneducated to be a new scientific process. In reality it is a very well known process not in common use because other processes are more efficient. Usually the figures cited are bogus and that is where the secrecy comes in. Name dropping is always used. It is probally true Woolsey said "this might lessen dependence on foreign oil". The X CIA man has no technical expertise and little other experience in the real world. Then there is the clossal returns of mega barrels of "light Golden Oil" made from turkey discarded turkey guts.
OK, CWT claims it is closed to investors, but the SEC will allow wealthy investors meeting minimum net worth (about $1MM) and income (about $200K/yr) to be unregistered stock holders. They even allow about two dozen poor folks to invest. Other than this means of infusing cash into a organization they must issue registered stock in which case they can not lie about the returns etc under penalty of fines and jail time.
I contacted EPA and they did give a $5MM grant to Con Agra in 2001. The contractor was not CWT.
The grant was given inorder to correct polution and not to make "600 barrels of oil". As a by product I imagine some yellow liquid was condensed out of the system but very little.
As noted before ,gentlemen, there is simply not much energy in turkey guts to reclain substantial energy. Turkey guts are mostly water.
During the early 1990s the big deal was making ester (for diesel fuel) out of used fry oil. All of the tricks noted above were used. The only problem it was cheaper to make the methyl-ester out of virgin soy bean oil. The product using either raw material sells for much more than diesel per gallon and contains less btus. Politicans joined the program and subsidised some of the production. I have asked USDA,DOE, and the Biodiesel associations for the name of a farmer,processor, or trucker using this fuel. There are none. It cost to much. If they were forced to buy it biodiesel production would become history.
There are very few recycling processes that are economically attractive. Be on guard!
John Gasell
PS: Why not E-mail Julie Gelfand at CWT


Ask lots of questions!

Welcome John.

This blog is in dire need of regular injectons of sanity/reality (rational/informed thought). IMO.

Don't give up the 'good' fight!

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Phillip K. Dick)

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." (Albert Einstein)

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." (E.F. Schumacher)

"Ignorance is the mother of devotion." (Robert Burton)



The calories you refer to in one pound of turkey are actually kilocalories, a convention we use when dealing with food. The calories to heat are actual calories. Not only does that mean only about one-tength of a turkey is needed to raise the turkey in your example to the necessary temp but when we account for the recycled hot water, even less is required.

Also I am amazed that we keep trying to push this calculation of 200 tons into 600 barrels. As I have written repeatedly, no one from CWT has specifically said that 200 tons of offal will be turned into 600 barrels of oil. So why the wild speculation which leads to accusations? The CEO did say the plant would produce 600 barrels. A news release said the plant would process 200 tons a day. And this is the key point, not just offal! One reporter said more than 200 tons a day. So let's compromise and agree it will produce 400 barrels a day. Can we move on? You can see why I asked where you got your figures. It was simply too big a discrepancy.

That said I do think TDP will find limited use, only because I don't have enough information. But I am guessing this is a volume sensitve process. Animal waste has a much higher caloric content than plant waste. That would imply much larger systems (with then higher capital costs) processing plant waste to produce the same amount of oil from animal waste. That is why I asked about kudzu some time ago. I thought I read once where the plant had a high oil content. If plants could be engineered to have high oil or fat content then maybe the niche for TDP would expand. Currently I can only see waste that has a high caloric density or high disposal cost being processed this way.

BTW, we are the major exporter of turkey offal to China. This suggests that until all nations ban the use of recycled animals in feed there will be other ways of disposing it....for profit.

I think the "decrease dependance on foriegn oil" comment includes the "alleged" fact that the process can be used on tar sands and shales, plastics, coal, baby diapers, plant fiber and other types of carbon containing wastes. It's not just about turkey guts. Maybe the guts are just about more efficient and less costly disposal but there has been little or no analysis of these other potential raw materials.

Yes, chilly you are right. But what gets me more excited about TDP is the relatively neutral effect it has on adding CO2 to the atmosphere. That is unless we discover that more CO2 is needed to prevent the next ice age.

And of course this process may have a future that will take off with other developments. The trouble is that until the economics of TDP is known and its efficacy, there will be less of a drive to invest in developments that could use it. For instance developing fat laden plants. Then growing our way to energy indepence would be the best of both possible worlds. So I am hopeful. If this can work I hope these guys become billionaires which will only happen if it revolutionizes they way we do things. They made the effort, they deserve it. They will make chump change if this is all hype.


Trying to remember more about calories versus food Calories. The convention tries to prevent confusion by refering to food Calories always capitalized. Hope this helps.

For Doc:

From Exploring Food Magazine Vol. 14 #4 1990

In my undergraduate biophysics physics course at MIT, Professor George Benedek burned a peanut. That may not sound impressive, but it was. Professor Benedek stood in the front of a small 50 seat lecture hall. He was a middle age man who had the build of a swimmer under a tweed suit, and he always wore white socks. He held the peanut in a loop of wire made from a bent paper clip and held the bent paper clip in a pair of pliers. He positioned the peanut under a test tube which contained ten grams of water.

Beneath the peanut was a large pan filled with water. A very large fire extinguisher stood on the floor nearby. I thought the fire extinguisher was excessive for a single peanut. For that matter, so was the pan of water.

Then professor Benedek set the peanut on fire. The peanut burned, and burned, and burned, and then burned some more. Drops of flaming oil oozed from the nut and dripped into the pan of water. The water in the test tube started to boil. When the peanut finally burned out, there were only eight grams of water left. Not only had the peanut heated the water from room temperature to 100 degrees Celsius, it had also boiled away two grams of water.

Heat flowed from that burning peanut as combustion converted the hidden chemical energy stored in the nut into the easily measured energy of heat flow. When you eat a peanut, your body does the same sort of thing: it converts the energy stored in the peanut into the energy it needs to keep running. As professor Benedek's demonstration showed, a little bit of food stores a great deal of energy in its chemical bonds.

Heat from "warm water or return steam". When making an energy balance it simply equating energy in Vs. energy out. If you like your turkey guts hot OK: but heat the "golden oil" also! JG

Help me John,

What is the point you were trying to make with that story? The only point I was making is that by recycling the heated water less energy is needed in the heating process. Less, but that is not the main point. In your calculation you used calories when referring to the energy content of the turkey. Do you agree those are 1190 kilocalories not 1190 calories? Do you agree then it would take far less than the 99 turkeys to heat one turkey that you claimed? If not please show me where I may have it wrong.

For Doc: MY BAD!
You were right about the food calories nomeclature. I will have to recalculate the ennergy balance but it still seems like there is a huge excess of energy recovered Vs. energy contained in the raw material.
I took a lot of effort to find this!

Although the metric unit of energy is the joule, heat is commonly also measured in units called calories (there are about 4.19 joules in a calorie), or in larger units called Calories (note the capital C). A Calorie is 1000 calories, and should always be called a kilocalorie, but it is common practice in food labeling and nutritional references to simply call it a Calorie. The food Calorie is the kilocalorie

“Doc” states, “As I have written repeatedly, no one from CWT has specifically said that 200 tons of offal will be turned into 600 barrels of oil. So why the wild speculation which leads to accusations?”
He assumes that CWT had zero input to or editing opportunity in the Discover article and also did not review/proof the pre-press copy.

Discover (CWT) Statement A:
Subtitle, “Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year.”
Oh Really?
NOTE: 600 M ton/yr = 1,643,836 ton/day (or 8,220 times “200”)
NOTE: 4 B bbl/yr/600 M wet ton = 6.67 bbl crude/wet ton (or 1,333 bbl per 200 wet ton)
FACT: 4 B bbl crude equiv. = 22,424,160,000,000,000 btu
(@ 600 M wet ton input would require mean E content of Input(s) to be 37,373,600+ btu/wet ton = (or) 43,473 kJ/kg)
Note: Crude oil = 43,316 kJ/kg

NOTE: Statement A was “could” not “would” – So what? The obvious implication was ‘600 M ton => 4 B bbl’ (which is total BS, IMO)

NOTE: Total ‘waste’ from 100% US poultry production (USDA) = ~8,176,190,476 kg/yr = 9.01425 M wet ton ‘waste’/yr.
And “600 M ton” is 66.6 times the entire (100%) US poultry waste generated/yr (yes, they said “…and other wastes…” So what?

Comment: I could believe 600 B tons => 4 M bbl. Or even: 6 B tons => 4 M bbl
Or even: 6 B tons => 400 M bbl
But not: 600 M tons => 4 B bbl

Discover (CWT) Statement B:
“Each day 200 tons of turkey offal will be carted to the first industrial-scale thermal depolymerization plant, recently completed in an adjacent lot, and be transformed into various useful products, including 600 barrels of light oil.”

! ”Each day 200 tons of turkey offal will be …”; what part of “200”, or “tons”, or “each day” does “anyone” not comprehend?

Discover (CWT) Statement C:
“The $20 million facility, scheduled to go online any day, is expected to digest more than 200 tons of turkey-processing waste every 24 hours.”

! “more than 200 tons”? Yes!
Assuming: Eproc =15%, Eentropy = 0, and Eother = 0 (each dubious, at best, IMO)
Assuming: ‘waste’ is (approx.) 56.2% DW (from: “21,000 US gal water” per 200 wet ton input)
and is 5,080 kcal/kg (‘known’ (proven) value for poultry viscera w/ heads and feet)
Then: approx 438 wet ton ‘offal’ input minimum is required to yield (600 bbl#2 equiv +15% Eproc)
Yes, 438 is indeed “more than 200”!

Note: 100% DW feathers, hydrolyzed = 5620 kcal/kg and 100% DW bloodmeal = 5,660kcal/kg)
If one further assumes that DW feathers (hydrolyzed) plus DW bloodmeal would raise the mean Einput content to, say 5,300 kcal/kg, then required input mass (with above ‘assumptions’) would come to approx. 420 wet tons for 600 bbl #2 equiv.

Comment: If CWT’s version of TDP is such a ‘miraculous’ (breakthrough) technology, then why would they find a ‘need’ to “invent” (perpetrate) ridiculous, unsupportable and contradictory claims (or allow a “reporter” to print them) ?

Rational correlation of statements A, B, and C (above) in any coherent manner is highly problematic. Intentionally so, IMO.

A term I previously quoted (from another blogger) wrt CWT’s claimed ‘data’ was “specious”.
Would anyone perhaps prefer: invention, fictional, falsehood, erroneous, lie, bullshit, crapola, April fool’s, fantasy, delusional, etc.

Who is obfuscating what? You decide.

PS: If I am 'so full of TDP' and a congenital "liar" (as "doc" insists) then why do I have other 'energy' companies and researchers e-mailing me (past two days) for additional 'analysis' and opinion? Could their inquiries be an elaborate rouse? I think not. They have 'better' things to do with their time than to perpetrate a rouse or 'lay traps'. IMO.

PPS: Anyone choosing to not 'accept'(believe)"MY" math, would be well advised to consider doing their own calculations.

My thanks to Doc for correcting me in the proper use of Calories VS. plain old heat calories. My revised calculations using Btus are now:
1,888,800,000 Btus of turkey parts in
2,419,200,000 Btus of "golden oil" out
Of course, there are many losses but I'm not considering them.
I frankly don't see how the stock brokers at CWT get more energy out than what's put in. Must be in their training.

Next, I suggest this site be checked. http://www.darlingii.com/about.htm
Darling has been reclaiming animal waste since 1880 and has sells the majority their oils and grease for high value added products like lip stick, lotions etc. In other words the reclaimed products are more vauable than converting them into fuel. For those investors that were chased away from CWT, investing in DAR would be a much better choice.
Thanks for reading my stuff! John G

drdiatribe (aka drmac for any newcomers) you come across as one angry little man. You admitted to two episodes of sloppy research and are unwilling to respond to the third distortion you posted in another of your false attempts to make me out as a CWT shill. You truly are an ass and a very tiring one at that. But I get the feeling that the only validation you get in life is when you get to argue with people. Excuse me if I don't respond to your asinine comments anymore.

Thank you "doc"

Can I TDP your comment!

I have always used your peer review as requested to validate my calculations. However, if you continue with personal attacks on the best efforts of the contributors, you will TDP yourself into feedstock.

"Excuse me if I don't respond to your asinine comments anymore."

Maybe now the contributors of real #'s, vetted by the community at large, can get on with determining if the TDP process, promoted by CWT, is valid.

Then we will not need needless responses to asinine comments.

Okay John,

Calculations are fine by me. But to claim that the "stockbrokers at CWT get more energy out than they put in" you must then somewhere have a statement from any official at CWT that states they can turn 200 tons of offal into 600 barrels of oil. Can you direct me to that statement anywhere? I am not interesting in anything implied or inferred. Just show me one statement from any official of CWT and I will be your biggest supporter that this is a fraud.

reinharg, you want real numbers? Vet this!

Assume all 200 tons input is the highest caloric density animal waste...all fat.
each gram fat has 9 kcal (apprx to keep numbers simple). 454 gms to a pound, so each pound has 4086 kcal~4000 kcal/lb. 200 tons is 400,000 lbs. So the entire input has a content of 4000 kcal/lb x 400,000 lbs = 1,600,000,000 kcal. Since 1 kcal = 1 BTU approximately. Good enough for this calculation. Then the energy content of our idealized input has 1,600,000,000 BTUs.

Now assume no losses whatsoever. No heated water, no gases. We are going to convert the entire idealized input to oil. There have been several calculations above Showing that 600 barrels of oil based on what you assume to have a total energy value of 2.5-4,000,000,000 BTUs.

So it is not possible to turn 200 tons of offal into 600 barrels of oil. Now go reread my post of 10 May. Where I said it was obvious ad nauseum that this couldn't be done.

So what understanding do you gain by engaging in two weeks of ASSUMPTION making constantly trying to prove what we already know? 200 tons of offal cannot be turned into 600 barrels of oil.

Such incredibly narrow focus here (which I truly believe now has been shown to be agenda driven). Conagra invested $20 million in a plant to make 600 barrels of oil from 200 tons of offal? Of course not. CWT is claiming 200 tons of offal can be converted into 600 barrels of oil? Of course not!

If anyone on this board has any interest (other than a search for black helicopters) in trying to move forward in understanding the process...its economics and potential applications, then vet this next calculation for them rheinharg.

What is the amount of idealized input, assuming no loses that one needs to produce 600 barrels of oil? I will be conservative and assume 600 barrels has an energy value of 4,000,000,000 BTUs. That will be (4/1.6)x 200 or 500 tons of our idealized input approximately.

So what is my point? We can for another two weeks make assumptions about input and output. We can get actual figures of input and output (good luck). Or we can make a reasonable assumption about input and output, take it as our standard for the process and move on. While you are in the vetting mode: Inputs and therefore outputs will vary greatly with this process. Why not use the example of the 175 pound man for input and output as a guess for agricultural waste? It is the only example we have for numbers that give a specific input and output.

Reply to doc: My AP article states "200 tons per day of chicken parts is enough to produce 600 barrels of oil daily,(CWT) officials say."
I had e-mailed Julie Jelfand at CWT for confirmation and she replied in so many words that CWT was privately funded and did not operate with government funds. Why don't you try:
EPA advised me their funding was to a different company for:
Demonstration of Thermo-Depolymerization (TDP) and Chemical Reformation of Agricultural and Food Processing Wastes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

I make this gurantee. You will NEVER get any factual information from any principal associated with CWT. Ask your self why? JG


"We can for another two weeks make assumptions about input and output. We can get actual figures of input and output (good luck). Or we can make a reasonable assumption about input and output, take it as our standard for the process and move on."

I thought that is what this blog was doing!!

Sorry to be in a pissy mood but people here are up to their a...... in BSE beef and if TPD and CWT could be proven (implementable and verified)
I'll be the first to crow the SH.. out of it.

"What is the amount of idealized input, assuming no loses that one needs to produce 600 barrels of oil?"

600 barrels??? idealised!

For Mr. Reinharg:

I gave you the energy content in and the energy content out. The quantities of material in and out have been published. With this data you can do the math for any situation you wish including diesel truck miles per turkey if desired.
The purpose of this debate is to determine if the process energy yields are valid. The laws of thermodynamics say not and common sense say not.
If the ex stock broker managers say otherwise and you believe them I am sure they would be VERY happy to meet you. If you had several hundred thousand dollars to invest and can cluck like a turkey you would likley make VP overnight. But,I'm afraid we will never hear you crow as the published process data is flawed. JG

John, now we may be getting somewhere. Please give me a link to this AP article that quotes CWT officials. Just want to read it for myself. If true, the burden now falls on the company to explain a possible misrepresentation. I say possible... actual once I have read it. Thanks


Sorry you missed my point. Was trying my best to be polite.



Sorry about the BSE problems up there. Incredibly scary stuff. Just heard on the news that it could have come from contaminated feed. It may have been feed not intended for use with cows. The presenter was pointing out how human error may be to blame.

Looking to the future it could lead to a total ban on recycling of animal waste. That would provide an important niche for TDP. If John's reporting is accurate I doubt the process will see any major contrubution to energy supplies in the near future which would leave me disappointed.

for doc:
The AP article appeared in many NY Times newspapers, the Lakeland Ledger locally. The AP article was written by a Bill Bergstrom, AP writer. I tried to contact him via the AP web site but he never responded.
I hate to tell people this but a cheaper replacment of petroleum fuel is not likely nor will we ever be nondependent on foreign oil.
For example one half of the US surface area would have to be covered with proto-voltiac cells to furnish our present electrical needs. I have not bothered calculating what is required for the balance. Wind power won't help much either. Fossil energy is by far the cheapest and CLEANEST fuel available. I say cleanest because soy diesel and ethanol require petroleum fuel for fertilizer, tractor fuel,punping, making poison (herbicide & pestcide), process fuel, and transportation fuel. In effect we are just transforming petroleum fuel into the stuff we call alternative fuel or in effect doubling the polution by first consuming petroleum fuel and then burning it again. All this energy diverted to grow fuel crops makes no sense. The alternative fuel cost more than petroleum because of the losses associated in the transformation. It a burden on the tax payer by having to subsidize needless farming,and loss in tax revenues. For those thinking ahead about using "abundant" hydrogen, forget it. Presently the production cost is about 10 times what gasoline cost. Ain't mother nature a bitch? JG

Well, here is the exact quote.

"A $20 million facility at ConAgra's Butterball turkey plant in Carthage, Mo., is undergoing testing and expected to start using the technique by the end of May, said Terry Adams, chief technology officer for Changing World Technologies.

The plant ultimately will grind up, heat, pressurize and process 200 tons a day of leftover turkey innards, bones, feathers, fats and grease -enough to produce 600 barrels of oil daily, officials say."

This is the closest I have seen. Curious why he didn't say Terry Adams claim instead of officials say. If this is intentional on CWT's part it is a true misrepresentation. Since my main goal in looking at this was to become an investor (in something that I really thought could benefit society in a revolutionary way)I am now in the camp that believes this has been over-hyped, if not deliberately misleading. It is still possible that "officials" were misquoted (I know, the press never does that) but CWT has an obligation to correct what has been repeatedly presented. Not the type of people I would want to invest with. For those who may be wondering, no public stock is offered but you can invest via a qualified investor.

I also still believe this will find its niche in processing animal waste and other high disposal cost organic waste like sludge and medical.

So I am out of here. Best of luck to all.

John G,

You know, I just happened have done turkeys to miles. I'm going to fill my slip tank with 100gal Can diesel, drive the 2400 miles to Texas shooting USDA average turkeys as I go. I figure I should have 65 turkey's stuffed in the van by the time I get there. Sure going to smell bad!
I have have no money left cause I stopped in Vegas.

What are the odds that TDP and my 65 turkey's will get me home?

"Doc" Mengele die Semantik der Berechnung
Thanks for your invaluable psychotic contribution.


"In effect we are just transforming petroleum fuel into the stuff we call alternative fuel or in effect doubling the polution by first consuming petroleum fuel and then burning it again. All this energy diverted to grow fuel crops makes no sense. The alternative fuel cost more than petroleum because of the losses associated in the transformation."

That was truly worth repeating. So succinct!

US grain production is totally, irretrievably dependent on massive quantities of 'cheap' oil. Any hoped-for 'efficient' conversion process would need 'yield' 4-10 times the energy out than is in the grain to merely break even. Which CANNOT happen, and leads (me) to livestock FCR and associated energy cost issues... blah blah

Save OIL - Eat FISH!
- best FCR to protein on the planet!-
- (recycle fish guts as animal feeds)

BTW Reinharg
BSE is also carried by mule deer and elk (perhaps antelope and bison). How prevalent it is in these populations I do not know. Around here, cattle and deer etc. share the same 'open'range.

One more comment:
It has been assumed that turkey waste and other animal parts, together with used cooking oils were hauled to the landfills. Far from it. Dead animals and road kill have been sent to "rendering plants " for over a 100 years. The products of these plants provided millions of candle power while,at the same time, saved many a whale's ass.
As mentioned before the products also find there way into the cosmetic industry. While kissing your sweetie, try not think of where that lip stick came from.
The market price of used cooking oils and "light goldens" from rendering plants has always been a little higher than Brent crude.
The idea the stock brokers are trying to exploit is they have a secrete process for converting pig ears into silk purses.
I'm putting this turkey to bed! So long. JG

But the process isn't secret. The patents are published for god's sake. It's not a "secret" it's an "improved" TDP process.

This string has pretty much degenerated into a bunch of people without enough facts trying to keep a conversation going.
IMO, CWT doesn't really give a damn about a bunch of no-name blog readers trying to disparage their "baby".
Neither does ConAgra.
To paraphrase someone way up there at the top: Their concern is E$out and they probably had a bunch of number-crunchers doing calories and all that boring stuff for weeks on end not to mention analyzing how much money their money could make in some other endevour instead of this plant.
ConAgra will have to answer to their stockholders as to the profitibility of the process.
They don't care exactly what was told to a pop-science reporter or exactly how it was reported by that pop-science reporter or what headlines the reporter's pop-science editor put on the article in order to make the article more exciting.
Discover magazine is not, to the best of my knowledge, an acknowledged journal of science whose reporters worship the scientific method.
ConAgra only cares about how their investment in an experimental technology will affect their bottom line.
IMO anyone who spends all the time that has been spent crunching speculative numbers without knowing all the facts either really really needs a hobby or has an ulterior motive for all their effort.
That's my two-cents for the day.

Maybe "crunching speculative numbers without knowing all the facts" is their hobby? rofl.

FOR CHILLY DOGG: Read my Blog! I clearly stated the secret was the stock brokers. As a former engineer, crunching numbers was part of my job. Rejecting voodo science was also a part of it. I thought every one knew the process was ancient. Presenting old technology as "new break through" is the standard prelude to fraud. Check the web for dozens of companies touting waste cooking oil to diesel (tranesterification oil to methyl-ester)
the process is 30 years old yet it is troted out as new. I know of three companies that have sold up to $30MM in stock with out making one drop of anything. Some of the stock is on the market for LESS than one half cent. They call themselves "holding companies", which is exactly what they do, hold & KEEP.

FOR WASTED DAZE: CWT is very much interested in getting the story out to the vast number of potential suckers other wise they would not have "named dropped" Con Agra and X CIA James Woosley. You are the very type person CWT wants to reach and I'm truly sorry about that. JG

PCL -- Playstation to Cray with Linux

The # crunchers have allies with hobbies in high places.

Scientists at the US National Center for Supercomputing Applications, (NCSA)
have linked together 70 PlayStation 2s to find out how good they are at crunching numbers.


"number crunchers" may (or may not) have a neurosis.

"chilly dog" and his 'peers' instead have psychosis.

As I said almost a month ago:

"Clowns have grins.
Fools rush in.
Neurotics have problems.
Fools rush in.
Psychotics have solutions.
Fools rush in."

"Ah! Humans!! Arrogance and stupidity all in one package. How efficient!"
(Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari, Star Trek, Babylon 5)

That was not clearly stated at all. Who has or is the secret? The TDP process is secret? The fraud is secret? The stock is secret? Is the turkey offal secret? What about the little green men are they secret? I have no idea if the thing works or not. Neither do you. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. When the hell is the thing suppossed to go online?

Anything to get off getting oil from the arabs has got to be good!

Following are some potentially pro tdp ramblings, just because it gets tiring be pessimistic.

I had brought up earlier the issue of dealing with animal byproducts being used as feed.
With Canadas 1 case of BSE a whole industry has been effectively closed to the world market.
The US has forced a recall of all pet foods produced by Champion Pet Foods,
(the Alberta company that likely rendered the infected carcass).

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which include BSE,CJD and others, are thought to
be prion (`proteinaceous infectious particle') based.

see : http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/intro.htm

It appears to me that the "rendering for feed" process does not break down the prion protien.
Hence the pet food ban.

Certainly this will bring the Rendering industry under the microscope for the short term. This is a large
and established industry as previously noted. They will not bow lightly. I have looked at the Rendering
industries product stream, which is heavily feed and supplement based.

What if animal byproducts are no longer allowed to be rendered for feed?
Have a look at what the UK is doing. I wouldn't want to live downwind from these incinerators.


I've tried getting a handle on current landfill disposal rates for animal waste. You would assume they
are some % of the MSW (municipal solid waste) #'s. I was suprised to learn that MSW #'s (~4lb/capita/day)
do not include Municipal Sludge, Industrial nonhazardous [offals], Construction/Demolition, Agricultural waste,
Oil+gas waste, mining waste.

Pages 17 + 18 of 182: found @ http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/msw97.htm

There was a study in Oregon that shows most is rendered.
see: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/solwaste/animalmortality.HTML

If you extrapolate the 220lb/capita/year meat consumption is equal to waste @ 50% dressed weight, the MSW
management of this waste would be an issue. Just read the comments section of the Oregon study.

Putting aside some obvious discrepancies in the Discover article, and seeing that the chemistry appears
to be old news with a new spin, could this be the right time for TDP. Is the writing on the wall?

I guess we'll have to wait till 2005 to see.

From the original Discover article:

""We've got a lot of confidence in this," Buffett says. "I represent ConAgra's investment.
We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't anticipate success." Buffett isn't alone. Appel has
lined up federal grant money to help build demonstration plants to process chicken offal and
manure in Alabama and crop residuals and grease in Nevada. Also in the works are plants to process
turkey waste and manure in Colorado and pork and cheese waste in Italy. He says the first generation
of depolymerization centers will be up and running in 2005. By then it should be clear whether the
technology is as miraculous as its backers claim."

"Experiments at the pilot facility revealed that the process is scalable—plants can sprawl over acres
and handle 4,000 tons of waste a day or be "small enough to go on the back of a flatbed truck" and
handle just one ton daily, says Appel."

Julie Gross Gelfand
CWT Press Office
(516) 536-7258

Dear Julie:
I know you want interested persons to respond to you news articles as you have given us your phone number and E-mail address.

From the recent AP article I note that 200 tons of turkey parts entering your thermo deploymerization process will yield 600 barrels of "light golden oil."
When doing the math (and not allowing for process heat losses or outside energy inputs) I have determined for each pound of turkey parts, containing 4,722 Btu/lb, we get a yield of 0.441 pound of "light golden oil" containing 6,615 Btus. My question is how can we get more energy out than we put in?

There is some confusion relating to the start up at various sites. One article states that a ConAgra plant is presently being started up. Another states it will be five years before a plant is finished. Can you state if CWT has an a plant that will be operating within the next two months?

According to published information investors already have $40MM invested in CWT unregistered stock. Of course, the SEC rules allow only wealthy persons to invest in unregulated companies. When do you expect to certify plant performance in writing and perhaps have an IPO?

There are many interested persons at this site that would welcome your brief answers.

Sincerely, John Gasell

I sent an e-mail to CWT earlier this week pointing out that this page comes up first on a Google search for "thermal depolymerization," and offering them the opportunity to post a guest blog entry containing whatever information they liked. No response yet.

Good for you Frank! I don't expect you will hear from them. Anything you read will be via "third" parties for legal reasons. As far as can be determined a review of hype associated with the "deploymerization" process of turkey waste would indicate the same pattern used in promoting "transesterification" of used cooking oil. I've had first hand experience in that one. About 2,800 investors lost over $21,000,000 before it was shut down by the SEC. The promotor was also an X stock broker and is presently wanted by the FBI after skipping town.
Rienhard quoted Appel saying the process can be scaled down to a one ton per day flat bed sized unit. Even this pitch is identical to its biodiesel (methyl-ester) promoters managing companies now listed at fractional cents per share.
Been there before! John Gasell

Dear Frank,

Your web site is an interesting tool to review in part public opinion regarding our process. It provides some hope since the majority of the comments were positive and correct, but like all open forums you realize there is another very small group whose anger blinds their ability to see things clearly and who impede breakthroughs. Basically they fail to see the positive impact companies like ours will have on our environment. We were not looking for any public exposure but it certainly has found us. This exposure was not meant to be disruptive to anyones business or to be a surprise.

We have received thousands of inquires with the majority of those looking to make an investment. We are flattered by the interest. We have no current plans to hype a market or to go public, although we are asked daily to do so.

Some of the comments we received are very amusing, in particular the ones where the armchair engineers and scientists are guessing the mass and energy balances for a process that they know nothing about. It underscores why we have environmental problems because these are the same people we are counting on to find solutions to a growing concern. I think some still think the world is flat.

In any event we offer some comments to your audience. Right now we can only offer you "hope" that a more peaceful world is within our reach. Once we shortly begin operations and confirm our process we can deploy many facilities that will impact our waste markets in a more dramatic fashion.

CWT's process is for real. The plant in Missouri is complete and we are in the start-up phase. The energy efficiency is correctly stated. How we do this is our business but it is standard within many industrial applications. This is not transesterficatin, incineration, gasification or the biodiesel. Our first out plant is competitive with a small E&P company. Our diverse talented team has developed a business model that can be quickly replicated. I suggest you visit MIT's science publication web site at www.technologyreview.com and to pull up the article "Garbage into Oil". They have cleverly provided an animation of a turkey going through the process. This will help provide a visual as to what happens in our multi-step system.

You can expect additional articles in the near future regarding what we do. The SEC already opened and shut an investigation regarding our company. They also thought we were hyping something here. The goods news for all of us is that they appear pro-active in protecting the public. I applaud their efforts. To some we know that is disappointing but to the majority of you it is one more step to validate that a paradigm shift is blowing in the wind.

We are committed and focused on cleaning up waste, validating renewable energy, and helping to minimize global warming. Our partners and our staff are committed to making the world a better place.

We can not respond to all of the letters and e-mail. Most we can only say thank you for your kind words. To the negative ones this is our only comment. No statues erected for critics. Stand aside and get out of the way of real progress. The world needs solutions not town criers.

Frank, we do thank you and most of the writers for you support and comment. We know hope is resting on our shoulders. We will not let you down, as we are committed to our business, our environment and to all the worlds' well being.

Best Regards,
Brian Appel
Chairman & CEO

One more thought, some of the questions we received was from teachers looking for teaching aid information to educate our children. I taught my 11-year-olds science class the other day. They are studying the environment and effects from pollution people have created. They we all glowing with excitement. They were interested in what we could all do to make the world a better place. They didn't take the position of what we are not and what we could not do. It was refreshing to hear out of the "mouth of babes" this perspective. It gives me hope!

To forestall the obvious questions, I have placed a call to Brian's office to confirm the authenticity of his comment. Once so done, I'll repost it on the main page. Presuming that the comment is indeed from Brian -- as it certainly appears to be -- I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank him for contributing here.

At Last a note with facts:From: Terry N. Adams [SMTP:tnadams@harbornet.com]
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 11:37 AM
To: Julie Gelfand
Subject: Re: Questions

Most of the fat from the turkeys is trimmed off before the turkey meat is
packaged for sale. As well, we also get a substantial amount of fryer
grease. Fat and grease have much higher heating values than protein and
carbohydrate. This makes the effective heating value of our turkey offal
feedstock north of 7,000 Btu/lb instead of 4,722.

OK, the AP article did not state turkey fat and used cooking oil were added. Most of the poultry (and other meat)I purchase has the fat attached. Used cooking oil has a high energy content. Dr. Adams is on the staff of CWT.

Regarding CWT and the SEC. The SEC does not check for the accuracy of any statement or suitability in private placements. It only assures that the investors have sufficient reserves to weather a bad investment. When a company goes public it must offer a prospectus giving the true facts. In summary, Mr.Appel only stated the process and numbers are "real" and that a plant start up is near.

I just had an extremely pleasant conversation with Brian Appel. I'll post a new entry shortly.

For Frank:
May I congratulate you for providing a medium for discussion of the issue?
Mr Appel's input shows that this blog is NOT a no-name blog even though most of your readers are (myself included of course).

For JG:
Though this post may seem moot coming after Mr Appel's input, I don't think an IPO would be the way to properly work with this product.
Even if there was an IPO, I am not one to sink hard-earned money into experimental technologies, so if Mr. Appel were in the business of fleecing greedy people who want to be "in" on the next "Microsoft" (and I, for one, do NOT believe that is the case), I would not be the sort of person he wanted.
If it was my "baby", I would be selling turn-key operational plants to existing public and private waste management companies like BFI and Waste Management as well as every municipal government in the entire world. That alone would keep as big a staff as I could attract extremely busy 24/7 for about 1000 years.

Also for JG:
I re-read my last post and am properly embarrassed.
It makes no sense.
What I meant was, I would not want a bunch of investors on my back who are more interested in quick, massive stock price increases.
If this product is a valid one, and I believe it is, there will be no want of customers.
One would be able to make outrageous demands from these customers in the way of loan guarantees (but maybe not-it's not my field) so the need for public funding (and a certain loss of control over the company) may not be a primary concern.

Wasted Daze: Dr. Adams, a CWT Engineering Ph.D. sent me a recent posting (copy on request) explaining a few facts about their process. He stated the efficiency of their process and conventional rendering plants were about the same,products sold to the same markets; meaning these products have more value than if used in makiing gasoline and diesel. Dr. Adams added, since their process operates at 250 C any prions in the turkey waste would be destroyed. He also stated minerals and charcoal were recovered.
Dr. Adams described the technology as ordinary, the economics as extraordinary.
As an prospective and prudent investor you would want to check out the competion. Had you invested the same amout of money in the following entities one year a go, your returns would be:
S&P 500 -10%
CAG ConAgra (CWT's Limited Liab. Ptnr.) 0%
CWT ?%
DAR(Darling International)a rendering Co.)200%
Good Luck on your investments! JG

>>John G wrote: "I have determined for each pound of turkey parts, containing 4,722 Btu/lb..."

Is JG's calculation based upon how many BTUs would be produced from burning a pound of turkey meat? And if so, isn't that completely besides the point? TDP is all about converting various carbon compounds into more "efficient" forms.

Burning a pound of turkey is not anywhere near 100% efficient. Similarly, crude oil, if burned right out of the ground, does not produce as much energy as it does when refined into gasoline, etc. Yet I doubt the refining process requires an energy input greater than that of the final product [less the original energy of the crude]. If it did, it wouldn't be worth refining the oil.

Perhaps someone with a stronger background in science can back up (or refute) this idea...


I have to say I find this thread draining- all I wanted was some real information and intellectual discussion on it. Christ! It would have been less draining to go to an unattended kindergarten class!

The bottom line for me- a computer geek that loves science- is that if it works- great!

We dont have the transportation to move garbage somone claimed?? What are you freaking nuts??! Where does all the garbage go from NYC?? All you would have to do is see the railroad line right along the Hudson to see it moving- Roads, rail lines and the such exists- instead of moving it to a dump to be capped off it goes to a plant- big deal!

So what if we dont know all the numbers- we dont have to know and they dont have to tell us. The last I knew we lived in a free society with the ability to create a business to produce MONEY. In case anyone forgotten the secrecy with code and Microsoft- duh!

The world changes, markets change- if you cant deal move out of the way. I pray every day for the day this country can tell the Middle East to kiss off.

God Almighty! More bickering goes on here than at the feedlots for Congra!

Have a great day

This is getting cumbersome, but...
This is fantastic!!!
An efficient loop can be established. Yes, there is decay and nothing can be 100% efficient but 85% is as good as weve ever seen.

Sunlight + water + minerals + dna = Animal/Veg.
Animal/Veg = Food + oil, gas, water, minerals.
Oil/gas gets recycled as plastics or fuel.
Water/minerals are put back into the system as fertilizers or products themselves.

The only thing we need (that we cant produce) is what has been provided for us, namely dna and sunlight.
We have the genetic code, we have the sun.

Lets just not let governments and unions block this becuase workers at the incinerators and waste disposal plants will be out of work. Afraid of being left behind you say? Let the "Oil producing nations" put their populace to work at the TDP plants and well ship the offal there. Just get it done.

This is an interesting development.

I work in the waste industry and there seems to be some scepticism about this process.

However, I haven't read anything yet which convinces me that in principle the claimed benefits are not realisable.

Let's wait and see...but in the meantime what's wrong with a bit of optimism. At least these people are on the right track.

David Field

TDP seems to be a very promising. The process seems to be an unseen manuplation of chemical reaction paths under controlled conditions thus involving quantum chemical kinetics. The question is whether these quantum chemical reactions will behave steadily everytime for long runs or some complications will arise every now and then in terms of end products?

I want one under my motor home

If the people of this board enjoy reading the belchings dr. mac, I can tell you another board he is equally held in contempt. It's a small internet afterall.

For JG:
Rendering plants don't excite me. First is their implication in mad cow disease. The very idea of using animal waste to feed animals (vegetarian animals) turns my stomach. I don't like to think that the chicken I just ate was nourished with its mother's flesh. In the human species it is refered to as cannibalism.

Also, with the CWT process, I don't think we would have the following problem (and the cost of the regulatory agencies involved):

From http://www.saveourwatersupply.com/newsroom/stories/gorzeman.html

"Attorney General Patricia Madrid today announced the entry of felony guilty pleas by two of five defendants, and disposition of charges against another, in the prosecution of the illegal disposal of rendering plant wastes by a Texas rendering plant operator in New Mexico. The crimes are in violation of the New Mexico Water Quality Act."

I could get an even better return on my investment by using it for smuggling but I frown on that particular business and the social ramifications as well. Call me a "compassionate conservative" but that's the way it is.

Actually, that would be 'compassionate Capitalist" - wouldn't it?

For Wasted Dave: To bad you get squeamish about eating dead animal parts. Do you ever eat jello? Do you take any medications? Did you know that the majority of heart valve replacments come from pigs and cows. Those things you ware on your feet are they made of leather?. What are thoe little things floating in your chicken noodle soup? Does your wife of GF use lotions, lipstick etc?
As to the investments; check out DAR whose price has increased 200% in one year. This company is run by folks that know the "innards" of the business. Compare them with the work experience of stock marketers. Don't be fooled!

You misread the post.
I am not vegetarian.There's nothing I enjoy more than good meat.
What I object to is society deciding that it's okay to turn vegetarian animals into meat-eaters.
That is contrary to nature (a crime against nature).
Worse yet is turning them into "cannibals" by feeding them the rendered flesh of their own kind-something they wouldn't normally seek in nature.
That is the cause of madcow disease or at least the cause of the transmission of it throughout a herd and then to humans.
Rendering plants are an instrument of the process.
That is why I say they are implicated in the disease.
Do I make myself clear now?
Your other questions:
No. I don't care for jello. It has no substance.
I have been known to take aspirin and, on occasion, at the insistence of a doctor, anti-biotics.
I don't believe we should be replacing hearts or other body parts.
One per customer.
Nothing will guarantee immortality - none of us are getting out of here alive.
Society's acceptance of the inevitability of death would go a long way towards making basic health care affordable to all without government (taxpayer) subsidies.
Most people have/will disagree with me strongly in this regard. They think we should spend every dollar available to extend the life of anyone so that they can die later.
But that's off-topic.
As I said, I am not vegetarian.

Wasted Dave: I think the jury is still out on the cause of mad cow disease (BSE) but in any event the whole life cycle is based on all living matter feeding on other living matter. Who is to say a stalk of corn has no feelings when you yank it's sex organs off and plunge them into boiling water and then ( it gets nasty now) smeared with curds churned from milk squeezed fron a cow's tit.
The food "vegetarians" consume thrive on the remains of other dead plants (and animals). Think about that the next time you munch on a cannabilistic carrot.
Lastly, the top of the food chain is not mankind as generally accepted...it's the lowly maggot.
If you ever get into a situation where you need some extra parts (pig valves etc) I'm betting you will have a "change of heart". What if your wife or child needed one of your kidneys?

Europe is convinced that madcow disease and rendered feed are related.
The timeline related to the one documented US case also fits into the animal feed theory.
I don't doubt that the politicians will "err" in favor of protecting the food supply and ban the use of animal parts in cattle feed.
The logical economic result will be to make rendering plants less attractive and thermal depolymerization more attractive.
What I like is that TDP is "clean". The need for government regulatory snoops will be minimum.
Did you read the URL regarding the New Mexico case? Judging from the number of contributing agencies, the cost of investigation was probably much more than the resulting fines.
I don't think we have scratched the surface of the benefits that TDP will bring to society in the long run.
As for the "cannibalistic" carrots...
It is in their nature to break down organic compounds into whatever their nutritive needs are.
Once having starved a pig to see if I could get it to eat pork (to my undying shame), I know that animals will not eat their own kind under normal circumstances.
As for pig heart valves, I have no doubt that society will eventually grow genetically-engineered clones for the specific purpose of harvesting body parts for replacements.
Is it "right"?
When it is possible, society will be convinced that it is "right".
Pig heart valves are a non-issue in that light.

Wasted Dave: If pig or cow heart valves are not made of tissue what are they made of? You never answered regarding your stand on the donation of human body parts to save another's life. Many of Internet's surfers will be saddened by your view.
I understand that elevating the temperature of offal to 150 degrees F will kill off all known germs.
I have no arguments against the CWT version of TDP only the marketing statements that it is "new,will reduce the dependence on foreign oil etc". Their own consultant,Dr.Adams, states their process is no more efficient than rendering plants and they also share common products and markets. Since the market for products fron either process have been established and command a better price than crude oil foreign oil depenfence should remain the same.
The key elements of the CWT process are not new. Their may be some some minor "know how" involved but nothing that would be considered a break through. This is most likely why the rush to get people (potential investors) interested before the plant gets into full operation.
During start up,which can last for many months, no one is in a position to evaluate the process against another process.
I don't think one not seeing either process can discuss degrees of cleanliness. TDP has been done with microwaves.
About that pig you starved to death. Had you done that in Florida you would be spending about 5 years in the pen. There have been several non fictional accounts of humans dining on others. Would we be more moral iving like pigs? J

I see that John Gasell is still reading/posting here. Previously, he wrote (and I commented upon):

"I have determined for each pound of turkey parts, containing 4,722 Btu/lb..."

I asked whether this calculation is based upon how many BTUs would be produced from burning a pound of turkey meat and put forth the suggestion that this is a meaningless number, since the point of TDP is to break long, complex carbon chains into shorter, more energy efficient ones (ie. burning a pound of turkey meat is going to produce a lot less energy than burning a pound of methane; however, I'm not suggesting that one can be converted into the other at 100% efficiency).

How about replying to this, John?

Eric: I did not reply initially because you are talking about many different things in one sentence.
1. Turkey meat or any other fuel has a given amount of energy in it measured in Btus, calories, ergs, joules etc. You can never get any more energy out than the material has no matter how you process it. If you process it inefficiently the some of the heat value is left some where.
2, Dr, Terry Adams Ph.D, a consultant for CWT stated the process was 85 % efficient meaning 15% was used in heating, pumping etc. This energy was not destroyed or lost it was disappaited into the atmosphere in accordance with the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.
3. Dr.Adams also stated TDP is no more efficient than conventional processes.
4. Dr.Adams stated the products made with TDP can be sold in existing markets which are more profitable than motor fuels.
Hope this will help you. In other words 10,000 Btus from turkey has the same heat value from 10,000 Btus of propane. The type of carbon chains make no difference


You wrote:
"Many of Internet's surfers will be saddened by your view"

If I cared about other people's feelings regarding what I said or thought:
1) I would be just another PC wimp.
2) I would be allowing others to control my freedom of speech. (another way of saying "PC wimp")
To even write such drivel indicates to me that your method of changing another's opinion would be to bring peer pressure to bear rather than the logic and accuracy of your argument.
This assumption of your debating technique is reinforced by:

You wrote:
"About that pig you starved to death. Had you done that in Florida you would be spending about 5 years in the pen"

Go back and read. The "to death" is either a figment of your fertile imagination or a deliberate attempt to paint me as _evil_ and invalidate any points I may make in the course of discussion.
Either instance is reproachable.
Please refrain from such sophomoric behavior.

As for the pig, I fattened it up and traded it for a case of beer.
All evidence was completely gone in less than 24-hours and both parties involved throughly enjoyed the taste of the transaction.
So, if you are going to try to use this report of a past indiscretion as "meat" for an investigation by various governmental agencies, don't waste your time.

Now, let's test:
Though this is totally irrelevant to TDP and the discussion...
It is included just to satisfy one person.
I wrote:
"Nothing will guarantee immortality - none of us are getting out of here alive.
Society's acceptance of the inevitability of death would go a long way towards making basic health care affordable to all without government (taxpayer) subsidies."

To be perfectly clear, I am of the opinion that _delaying_ death by making transplants part of the normal routine of health care will, in time, become expensive enough to destroy the health care system.
They should be, at best, procedures that are paid, in full, by the recipient or his family so that the cost involved is not distributed to society in the form of higher medical costs (via insurance premiums).
This would make the procedures a venue for only the very rich, but so what?
One more time:
Nothing will guarantee immortality-none of us are getting out of here alive.

Back to the issue:

"I understand that elevating the temperature of offal to 150 degrees F will kill off all known germs."

Is it done by rendering plants? Is it required by law? Are the minimal heats "built into" the equipment so that there is no chance of operators taking shortcuts?
I would venture to guess that this is an open system, open to manipulation.

TDP doesn't have this problem.
1) Output is fuel, minerals and water. If the water is less than 150 F, the process is not going to produce anything. The article mentioned 256 F to make it "work".
2) The water will be pure enough to discharge directly into the water supply unlike in the New Mexico case which shows that there are rendering plant operators who will take shortcuts that can endanger society.

What you don't seem to understand is that plant managers will take short cuts to cut expenses. Reducing heat would cut expenses considerably.

Was it a Jack in the Box restaurant some years back that was undercooking their meat (to save energy costs) and caused an outbreak of e coli infections?

Is it too hard to imagine a rendering plant manager cutting corners with the same results?
I don't think that it would be incorrect to state:
Less rendering and more TDP would be beneficial to society.

You continually harp on how TDP is nothing new.That was stated by Appel in the original article.Discussion of that point is useless.
_How_ the (knowledge of TDP) is being used by CWT is new (and patented). They have made the process profitable enough to invest in plants.
Your view seems to be that they are merely spending tens of millions of dollars of their money, other people's money and the taxpayers' money in an effort to "salt" an IPO sometime in the undefined future.
You continue to infer that this is the case even though Appel has dropped by and:
1) denied that he tried to engineer the effect that his story has had.
2) mentioned that the SEC had already opened and closed an investigation of his company.
That should be a matter of public record if you choose to assume he is a big fat liar.

So, what is your real problem with a new technology trying to "make it" in the free market?
Please don't tell me you are a lone voice in the wilderness with a life mission of trying to save gullible investors from a "bad" investment.
That can be better done in letters to the editor to the Wall Street Journal and to the SEC.

Wasted Daze: My applogy to the starved pig for assuming his untimely death and for mixing thermometer scales, noting the temperature for killing germs to be 150F instead of 150C.
Also I hope you make a killing when, and if, you make a substantial investment in TDP as a result of reading hyped up articles in newspapers. You can make more money easier and faster by not taking the time to study the competition, talkng to engineers and scientist to get a better grasp in the principals involved before leaping into a situation. GO FOR IT!

If life was only about making money, I would be a drug dealer or a politician.
There is more to it than that. The satisfaction one gets from what he accomplishes would be a much more important factor to me than income in excess of what I need for a comfortable life.

Wasted Dave:My point exactly! One must be careful where they invest inorder to maintain a comfortable life. Would you not achieve a higher degree of santification if you gave you excess money to charity instead or polutry plants or engage in swaping thin swine for ale?

Hey guys
Well, i must say i've made my best efforts to wade through this morass, and boy, what a pile it's been at times!

Anyway, respect to reinharg, Philx, Lampare & doc for their contributions to the discussion, though i might suggest that this is not perhaps the place for detailed equations. We just need some proof-of-concept figures, thats all. Dr mac, i appreciate where you're coming from, but seriously, you need to go outside, put your feet in some grass and feel the sun. An while you're there maybe you can learn how to spell...?

Ok, now my contribution. I think we all agree that this is a good idea if it's economic and scaleable. There's no smoking cancer-man here, the chemistry works, and if it can be proven large-scale it'll take off. I'd like to emphasise again that i think maybe you guys got a little distracted with all these poultry calculations, and tons of wet this and gristle the other. It'd be nice to reprocess all our waste, but i'd say that's the least application of this tech.
Western society, for better or worse is addicted to oil, we can't live without it, and the addiction's only going to get worse over time. Between the infernal combustion engine and our existing technology and production/distribution networks i think our society's going to be running on an oil-like substance for rather a long time to come. Our only hope is to leap-frog from finite resources to infinite resources (ie-we cycle the substance used, and the only input is energy, which we get from the sun). So while no doubt eventually we'll have monstrous great TDP plants consuming our embarassing carboniferous wastes, i think that the real focus will be on the thousands of square kilometres of crops which will get processed into oil/biodiesel, which then gets fed directly into existing refineries, through existing distribution networks, and into existing IC engines, to power exsting needs. We're addicted to oil, we've invested heavily in it with technology, money, time, and infrastructure, and we're not about to give up on just because it's gonna run out. So i suggest we just leapfrog to a different source until a long-term solution comes along. (who knows? maybe our descendants on alpha-c will still be driving Ford V8's?)

As for the "renewable energy" scene...
Ultimately, economics (read: capitalism) rules. I'm a communist at heart, but ultimately you have to be a realist, and fuel-cells, electric cars, and wacky little inventions aren't going to save us from the energy crunch that's coming. Nor will soft-and-fuzzy technologies like wind/tide or any of these other 'green' techs, they're just too particular. They require special conditions and even then they're still more expensive, they're a good effort, and will always have niche value, but they won't save us. Solar is ultimately the way, but not by covering our roofs with Silicon, rather by having thousands of square kilometres of cells in orbit beaming microwave power to receivers on earth, and that won't happen for a long time yet. Fusion is nice, but it's just too finicky too rely on.
I prefer to back proven technology, use what works i say. And oil has worked very well for us so far, but we need to not mine our carbon-sinks to get it and instead focus on creating it ourselves. So let's leave all this calculating of turkey-guts behind and look to the bright future: one in which energy costs follow other commodity prices with the increase of technology and efficiency and steadily drop, and other values with them

And while we're saving the world, how about people start using their brains to look at things from other angles, and think of the BIG picture, as well as that leetle bit that directly affects them.
And Pleeeease!!!!! stop using blogs for personal vendetta's !!!!!!! these things are here to feed our minds, not procrastinate our time.


Only time will tell if TDP works. THe company says it does. If so there is a tremendous potential. CWT is now dickering with Philadelphia to treat their sewage sludge and they are planning a chicken plant and a onion waste plant. If these work they will go on if they do not then too bad for us. I estimate our town could produce a few hundred barrels of oil daily and send them to the N Salt Lake City refineries. RP

I have been following this technology with a great deal of interest since I ran into it’s predecessor (single step gasification of waste). If it works as advertised it may revolutionize the US economy. With our vast agricultural capability and already large waste production, I believe that a cost efficient process would not only replace our dependence on Mid East oil, but it may replace some of the current domestic production of oil. I think that it is unlikely that this process will have a major effect on the use of crude oil in most of Europe as they have much more limited agriculture and a smaller per capita waste production. They are also unlikely to be able to drastically increase agricultural production. For Europe this process will be a very good method for disposing of waste generated rather than a primary fuel source. For the Third World, this process may provide inexpensive clean water, safe waste disposal, and a local fuel supply. It will however be very painful to countries which depend on oil production for their livelihood. I expect that First World countries will heavily subsidize production of oil by this method. It is in the national interest to minimize foreign oil dependence for all of the major oil users. Crude oil prices can be expected to drop to a level which matches the minimal price acceptable to producers of oil using this process.

The economic impact of this development will be fascinating to watch. I hope that the production plant proves out the concept and that rapid deployment of this technology occurs. It would be fantastic if boom times were here to stay.
I did not intend to imply in my last posting that only the US would benefit from this technology. My comments on Europe and many other regions having a lesser benefit was based on the fact that North America as well as some of South America and Africa have large tracts of land not currently being used for agriculture or as population centers which could be harvested for organic material. The process discussed may provide enough clean drinking water for a sparsely populated arid agricultural area but not much for use in irrigation. The fuel & excess heat produced in the process could be used for desalination but this would only effect regions near salt or brackish water sources. These areas my also benefit from farming offshore. Algae, plankton and salt tolerant plants could be used as feedstock to this process.

My understanding from discussions with several European engineers I work with is that agriculture in Europe is very inefficient and expensive. With a relatively high population density and limits on large corporate farming (not to mention labor, environmental & widespread phobia about any engineered crops) I think many of the regions of the world with the highest population density will have difficulty competing in the production of organic material as feed stock for this process.

My opinion on using this technology to switch over to a hydrogen economy is largely negative. I believe that outside a few isolated instances where geothermal or other renewable power sources are realizably available or for mass transit in areas plagued with smog any cost benefit analysis would show that there are far better ways to improve peoples quality of life. Converting fuel to hydrogen and then burning it will generally be less efficient than using the fuel directly. I fully support continued research into fuel cells and hydrogen powered vehicles but think most of the talk by auto companies about building these vehicles is an attempt to get the environmentalist lobbies off their backs. Conversion to a hydrogen based economy will only occur with major improvements to the technology which may or may not occur or with government regulation forcing people to make the change (kicking and screaming all the way).

This process may work well in conjunction with another technology being developed at University of Wisconsin. This technology converts a glucose rich mixture to H2 and CO2 using an inexpensive catalyst under pressure at 437° F. This condition is close to the conditions present in the first stage of the CMP process. Adding H2 as an additional product of the process my help make the process more viable economically. While I believe that hydrogen will have very limited use in automotive applications, it will have many uses and providing an inexpensive source would make these more viable. This technology is described in an article available at the following URL:

My hope, (yes I am a bit of an idealist) is that if agricultural surpluses can be profitably disposed of by this process, subsidies can be reduced over time to zero. I feel that droughts, floods, and other predictable disasters to the livelihood of farmers should be insured by insurance paid by the farmers instead of by government subsidies or assistance programs. I believe that government interference in agriculture and other industry warps the decision making process of many and has probably caused more harm than good.

My hope is that this technology will provide a distinct economic advantage to agriculturally rich countries such as the US. The environmental benefits everywhere provided by a safe clean method for disposing of organic waste and converting it to clean energy, water, and other saleable products is immense. In the very long term this process may benefit the populations of even oil producing countries. A switch from reliance on only one export directly involving only a very small percentage of the population to trade involving a much larger percentage of the population would be very beneficial. The ramp up of this technology should be slow enough for forward thinking countries who export oil to convert to other exports.

Have people forgotten E=mc^2 so soon. Imagine the theoretical energy contained in all the world's waste. Even a child can realize that the world cannot continue use its resources with such a paltry return (energy wise) at such a rate without eventual mass extinction. THIS IS NOTHING BUT A LONG OVERDUE START of saving the world from mass extinction.

Note sent to ConAgra:

Changing World Technoligies claimed to be a partner of ConAgra in a joint venture using "thermo-depolymerization" to process plant waste Dec. 2000. The plant was reported to start up in April, 2003.
Is the plant now in operation and are the operating efficiencies better than the customary process? Thank you for any comment you can make. John Gasell

As of late July, ConAgra and CWT have not opened the Carthage plant due to inadequate welds on the pressure containers, according to second hand info. Apparently inspections found that the welds may not survive the pressures inherent in the procedure. TIFIW
Also, even going with the higher fat content 'sweet' offal, if you look at the total production of veal, pork, beef and poultry as being used (which is highly unlikely, I would imagine), the total output of oil would be just over 1% of oil used in the US, approximately. I used tonnage of ag products listed in the USDA pages, a 35% wastage/offal, and came up with an annual production of 23,500,000 tons of red meat/beef/pork/veal which yields about 16,000,000 tons of meat and nearly 8,000,000 tons of offal. Poultry production (annually) is about 2,200,000 tons, of which 1,620,000 tons are ready to eat and approximately 570,000 tons are offal. If we are getting 8.5 m tons of offal per year, we are looking at 25 m barrels of oil per year, which is about 2.5 days worth of imports. Worth doing, but not earth shaking. We may see this amount stretched slightly by adding sewage or agricultural waste to the mix, but this doesn't look like it will enhance the numbers too much. Again, secondhand information.
BUT, I have another USDA link that claims poultry production has risen to the point that it is rivalling that of beef production, if that is true we would get oil production equivalent to almost 4 days worth of imports! Just over 1% of imports could be produced domestically. Not bad.

US Oil consumption http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/energy/stats_ctry/Stat1.html

Poultry http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/
Cattle/pork http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/
But there is another USDA link that says broiler production is 40,000,000,000 pounds or 20,000,000 tons per year.

Although I have spent a lot of time discussing this technology, I have spent just a few minutes putting the post together, so don't savage me too much if I slipped a decimal.

If nothing else this has generated more discussion than most topics around here.

The bottomline of the CWT thermaldepolyization process is that it costs ~$10/barrel to produce oil, factoring in the value of the reclaimed materials, and "natural" oil of the same quality costs ~$3/barrel to pull out of the ground. The cost will drop somewhat with mass production but it's simply not competitive with natural oil and never will be.

That being said, we ARE running out of natural fossil fuels that we can economically pump out of the ground. At any given time over the past 60 years we've had about 20 years of proven reserves; we've kept going because we keep finding new oil reserves. One of these days we'll run out of places to look for the stuff and REALLY start running out of oil. So the TDP process, or one like it, will one day replace the oil& gas industry.

The real benefit of the process is in landfill conservation. Many people don't realize it but used tires are the hardest things in the world to recycle. They tried making highway material out of them but the metal bits left in the fill spark and there's one highway that periodically catches fire just from being driven on. Landfill are stacked to sky with old tires and TDP promises to deal with this problem once and for all. Likewise for toxic wastes - anything with a carbon chain molecule can be reduced to a useable petroleum product. Through TDP we can recycle hazardous wastes instead of dumping them in the ground to contaminate the water supply.

ConAgra didn't build a TDP plant because they want to join OPEC, they have (literally!) mountains of turkey parts to get rid of each year. The fact that they can run their delivery trucks on one of the byproducts is just an extra benefit.

Oh, one comment on the "carbon cycle". You don't HAVE to burn the oil the TDP reactor puts out, you know. You can make any petrochemical product you like out of it, or even modify the output product to make petrochemical conversion easier. If you use the output to make, say, plastic lawn chairs and then throw those back into the hopper when their useful life is done in effect you've REMOVED carbon from the environment. Turn plant waste into recyclable plastic, and then recycle the plastic, you've lowered CO2 production. It's nothing but a win-win-win situation.

I think this is a great idea. I may be too young to know it yet but i beleive that your company will make millions if not billions on the process alone. All i have to say is that with every new invention is a new critic. this stems all the way back to newton at least. don't be discouraged. you have an exellent invention in the palm of your hands and as answer to one of your critics as to why it's not a widely acknowledged process, because it's a new invention and no one can predict the wide use of such an invention. Take the computer for instance not to mention the worldwide web. the world wide web was partially developed by Fermi labs as a way to comunnicate lab results to other physicists around the world. the thought of being able to acess the worlds information from a desktop never occured to them. the only question i have is are you selling any stock?

Please contact me at my E-mail address about stock options KPolecastro@aol.com thank you

Been following this innovation with great interest.

I'm from the Kansas City area so Carthage MO is an hours drive from here. If I can locate the plant I'll take some exterior pics when I'm down there next weekend. Give everybody a better idea on the completion status.

I do have a couple of questions if anyone has answers. The discover article stated that this process could potentially be used on all agricultural waste. Now the vast majority of Ag. waste is cellulose based stuff. Can this process handle cellulose. I'm doubtful but there are processes that break cellulose into sugars & alcohol so it it may not be such a stretch.

As has been repeated several times, the amount of poultry, cattle, etc waste is probably not sufficient to produce the volumes actually needed. but if this process handles cellulose at even a 15%-20% yield the usuable product volumes will be just staggering.


TDP can be used on anything with a carbon-chain molecule which includes cellulose waste. Remember that naturally occurring "fossil fuels" came from the decay of animal *and* plant matter: The CWT process simply accelerates this process so that it only takes a few hours instead of thousands of years to convert the material to oil.

If you chop up an old tire and throw it into the hopper you get oil, methane, carbon black, and a couple of handfuls of metal dust (from the steel belt) out the other end. You get the same, in different proportions, if you throw in Granny's rocker. I'm not sure it can handle contaminated soil unless you first leech the toxins out and process those separately. It can't handle nuclear wastes and organic acids are probably too rough on the pipes to process successfully. Aside from that they really do mean, "Anything into oil".

Thanx orion,

Any pointers on what the yield of cellulose processing might be?

You are right about the toxic minerals stuff. Esp mercury or arsenic which can dissolve in water and even in trace amounts are bad.

Percapita oil consumption in the US is roughly 25 Barrels/year (20 Mil. Brl. x 365 days / 300 mil people all approx.) This is about 3 1/2 Tons oil req./ annum.

Per capita garbage waste in my county (Johnson,KS) is about 7-1/2 lbs/day = 1 tonne approx/year. Post processing usable fuel volume depends on yield so I not gonna speculate on that.

I does seem this process will have to depend on multiple streams of raw material to ever be successful in volume.

God knows there is potential there but cost is the bottomline determinant.


Difficult to say w/o precise figures to work with but from the example in the Discovery story you get about a 5-to-1 yield; 5 kilos of organic material yields 1 kilo of light oil (plus gas and other material). Cellulose is fairly dense so it might be more like 4-to-1 but don't quote me on that. Your per capital figures would indicate like 400# of light oil per annum and that works out to ~1.5 barrels of light oil. So each person in Johnson KS would produce around 1.5 barrels of oil per year and the county would produce 750K - 800K barrels worth of waste material (pop. 451,086 in 2000) if you could recycle it all.

(This is a very rough estimate.)

This conversation is great! I want to add - yet again - that TDP should be seen as part of a total energy picture - we need to reduce our energy needs, and also diversify our energy sourcing, for political and snvironmental reasons...if there were local TDP plants in every county processing local waste of all kinds, including blackwater sewage, weed cuttings (think kudzu), we would stop landfill creation and its toxic leaching into our waters, and we would add to our clean water ratio ( this will REALLY look important in just a few years)
There is an important note here - though - the use of household garbage should really be added back to the soil- as our ag soil is radically losing vitality - hopefully TDP will not encourage people to overuse plastics or to stop composting, etc....needs to be carefully implemented as a useful part of a total community sustainablity package.

Most of the organic waste that goes into landfills never gets used to fertilize the soil; some years back there was a study of landfills where they found 25-year old newspapers still readable and plastic diapers with the contents still largely intact. Many materials, like old tires and plastics, will still be around when the cockroaches take over.

We make a lot more waste than can ever be used to fertilize soils. NYC takes its garbage out 20 miles and dumps it into the ocean. Occassionally it washes back up on shore after a big storm. The point about TDP is that it converts otherwise useless/toxic wastes into valuable commodities and conserves landfill space. The drawback until now was the cost of the process; it's REALLY expensive to process wastes through 1000oF ovens to cook off the carbon chains. The CWT process promises to do this at ~400oF which would make TDP quite economical.

Er...for some reason this board drops numerals down half a space: That should be One Thousand (1000)oF and Four Hundred (400)oF respectively.

Well my first attempt at pictures of the plant was a bust!! I did get to Carthage but it was late and we had to get back to KC by midnight so I did a perfunctory search for 411 main st where the plant is but got lost. After ten minutes we turned around and went home.

All is not lost however as I am going down next week as well so keep your fingers crossed.

While mulling over the many comments on this page I became curious about the chemical processes that make this possible. On the off chance that there is Chemist who can elucidate I gonna give it a shot.

First from my reading of super critical water it seems the water itself acts as a reactant. Is this correct. I always thought of water as the universal solvent but this is a new one on me.

Second the process apparently works on protein chains as well. This is curious as protein chains have nitrogen, phosphorus and just about every other element included within them. Not just the plan C, H & O chains. What happens to these. And how does the chain survive when the amino acids are broken up. I'm of course assuming the amino acids themselves cannot be converted but put me straight if I'm wrong.


For All:

CWT was kind enough to reply to my question to them 8/25/03 regarding start up:

"Thank you for your interest in our process. The Carthage, MO plant is scheduled to start up any day now. We had some normal construction delays"

Found this over on a biodiesel fansite (yes, there are such things on the Internet!)


The first commercial Renewable Environmental Solutions plant will be operational in Carthage in about two weeks, Don Sanders, operating manager of the plant, told Carthage Rotary Club Thursday night (August 7) at Broadview Country Club. Sanders said the plant, which will convert waste from the Butterball Turkey Plant into renewable energy, is in the final construction stages and once operational, ground will be broken at five other locations in the United States and Italy. Changing World Technologies, which is in partnership with ConAgra in the local plant, will build, license and operate future plants. Plans are to build five plants a year.

The five plants scheduled this year are partially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to the plant in Italy, others will be at Enterprise, Ala., Longmont, Colo., and Reno and Tahoe, Nev. The Carthage plant received $5 million EPA funding. The plant uses the same process as the earth did in converting dinosaur remains into fossil energy. He explained how waste products from the turkey plant that are not food products are processed through a depolymerization technique using pressure and heat. A pulp-like mixture resembling pumpkin pie filling is first converted to fertilizer, followed by a liquid fertizer, fatty acids that can be converted to plastics and a breakdown into carbons that eventually convert to diesel fuel and oil that can be sold to a refinery. The final product from the carbon is coal. The only waste, Sanders said, is water, which because of the process, is clean.

The plant, with a capacity of 200 tons of material a day, will not be overtaxed by Butterball because of its seasonal operation which has periods of low production. But Sanders noted that underground tanks of grease at many area restaurants would provide enough waste material for the plant to operate without Butterball's waste.

The speaker was introduced by Joe Adrian, program chairman.

Anybody reading this thread should know that DrMac is a fraud. He is not an academic; made perfectly clear by his repeated use of "per review" instead of "peer review." The first time I saw that I just assumed a typo, but then after he repeated it multiple times it became clear that he really thought it was "per review" and therefore is obviously not an academic. I would suggest he is likely to be a 3rd or 4th -year undergraduate.

Furthermore, people should realize that merely posting lots and lots of data, does not make a good argument; however, it does obfuscate mistakes in basic assumptions. Examples of basisc assumptions are the estimates for the energy content in turkey offal and barrels of produced oil. There is more than enough room for error when using average figures to make such calculations unuseable in a specific case except as rough order-of-magnitude estimates.

For ConAgra to be interested in this process it merely has to make economic sense to them. Mad Cow and other diseases such CWD, scrapie, etc. have drastically reduced the value of offal (to the point where it has negative value -- you have to pay to dispose of it). Therefore, TDP in this case does not have to compete with the cost of fossil fuel, it simply has to save the company money in disposal costs.

As is the case with most popular-press articles, there are undoubtedly errors and mis-statements in the Discovery article. If you've ever been involved with trying to get scientific studies published in the popular press, you will know it is nearly impossible to get it accomplished in a way that stands up to scientific scrutiny like a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal.
Where the article goes wrong (in my opinion) is interpreting this as a world-changing technology; typical of popular-press articles on new technologies.

Finally, I see this as an interesting technology that may have great potential in waste-stream reduction/diversion, but not as a revolution in energy production.

According to Orion:
The "Rotary Club Notes" description of TDP by plant manager Don Sanders 8/8/03 includes a pulp like punking pie filing fertilizer and a liquid fertilizer as being products of the process which are entirely different from those described originally. CWT stated after the water was flashed off the solids would yield valuable minerals in addition to light oil. After distillation the residue would be mostly carbon.
Using the above material as fertilizers is not much differnent than using the material as animal food as it still enters the the food chain. The offal is only ground and cooked but not depolymerized.
It is still to early to make definitive analysis as the plant has not started up and the process has not been reviewed by qualified Chemical Engineers regarding the economies when compared to the present rendering plants.

for the 'observer'

Do you really think that an english critic can determine academic standing? Before crying fraud you should do a more detailed "peer review" of the "lot's and lot's of data". You may then wish to retract your "rough order of magnitude" statements. Why, this plant might just put out 60 or 6000 barrels of oil 'per' day!

The rest of what you say is pretty spot on.

"Do you really think that an english critic can determine academic standing?"

Yes, I believe that anybody using the term "per review" instead of "peer review" is obviously not an academic. There's no two ways about it; you can not be an academic and confuse the two... it's impossible.

I also stand by the rough order of magnitude statements. The average values are means that don't reflect the range of values. There was a response here stating that their offal had approx. double the energy content as the NRC average. It's equally plausible that the produced oil has less than half the energy content as an average barrel of crude oil. Of course, "60 or 6000" is not a "rough order of magnitude" anyway.

Well I have read some of the impossibles' published papers. We are all not perfect.

I am just as confused about your generalizations.
You state average are means, when in fact these are two seperate and distinct statistical expressions. You use double and half to defend "rough orders of magnitude", when order of magnitude is an exponential change of plus-or-minus 1, usually to base 10.

You are right that with so many unknowns and variability in the given data, results that are order of magnitudes in error are possible. Those errors are also pretty obvious because of the magnitude.

Back in May this thread put a lot into mitigating errors based on the avaliable data. I think we are still waiting for some new data when this system gets funtional.

If John is right about the Rotary comments, it would be too bad if this plant ends up being a fancy fertilizer factory.

p.s. On the assumption that Baskis' process works;

It strikes me the ideal feed stock is probably algae. I'd intentionally culture it in huge shallow retention ponds in sub-tropical areas like Florida. Literally an algae farm. Algae has a doubling time of 2-6 hours, meaning it grows REAL fast.

This eliminates the initial steps of transportation of feedstock and grinding. Alage is already 'ground up' and slurried. Use an intake pipe and remove sufficient water from the intake to create the optimum slurry mix. Rich in phosphorus and nitrogen byproducts, too.

Another great location for a large number of TDP plants would be the shores of Lake Okeechobee. When they're not cleaning up Okeechobee they can recycle the agricultural waste.

Up in colder climates I'd check into culturing yeast for a feedstock since we want to eliminate distribution transportation as much as possible. This is a nontrivial cost of petroleum products.

Baskis' original patent discussed soybeans as a great feedstock since they're already loaded with water. Whatever else it does, Baskis' TDP machine would serve as an agricultural price stabilizer by providing an alternate market for crops.


U.S. Patent Number 5,269,947.
Inventor; Paul T. Baskis
December 14, 1993.

1. The 7 page patent with drawing is infinitely more informative than the Discovery article. Baskis' process doesn't just make coal 'more friable'. It turns it into coke, oil, gasoline, kerosene, toluenes, etc.

The Discovery article said that this process was fractionating the feedstock into short chain polymers which were in a 'gaseous state' after the 'second stage reactor'.

At that moment I wondered why they didn't just go on and recapture gasoline, diesel fuel, etc. in a distillation column. Especially since they were producing natural gas, which rises to the very top of the fractionation column and is often flared off. If they had the top of the column product and were using it to power the process then why not recover the rest of them?

What were told was they were getting 'light sweet crude oil' and then 'natural gas'. What happened to the rest of hyrdocarbons in between?

Baskis' original patent asserts a claim to do precisely this.

Baskis' original patent also discusses scalability. I quote "The processor may be built in various sizes such as a small unit for a single family home to a large unit for use by a municipality or large hospital."

Two possibilities here. The first is this is total b.s.

The second is that the 'system' has suppressed large parts of something that in fact would revolutionize economics everywhere. When we see an agro-giant, directors of the CIA, Buffett's kid, et al then I'm inclined to the second answer.

Many home experimenters will answer the question soon enough. The patent is sufficiently informative to actually build a small machine.

There are some one way check valves that need to be inserted into the pipeage design but the average engineer, experienced garage inventor or decent plumber will quickly see where they should go.

I'm curious to find out how the plant at Carthage is doing. Everything I've seen implies that it should be operational by now. Does anyone have any information?

John Monroe

"You state average are means, when in fact these are two seperate and distinct statistical expressions. You use double and half to defend "rough orders of magnitude", when order of magnitude is an exponential change of plus-or-minus 1, usually to base 10."

I was speaking in generalities. Look at this way: Suppose that using NRC values for energy content, I calculated that this system could only produce 100 barrels of oil. A rough order of magnitude around this estimate would be 30 barrels to 300 barrels of oil produced. If I was relying on the NRC values, that order of magnitude estimate is as specific as I would be comfortable with.


Hey thanks, I think we have both made a position.

I now follow this blog because of the impact of BSE in Canada. The cattle industry is in turmiol. One of the big issues is disposal. Currently discussed numbers are 50% live weight as being rendered. A large percentage of the rendering process is animal feed. Someone earlier in this post suggested that rendering disables the prion(BSE) protien. The UK determined this not the fact, and set the incineration temp. at some 900F(C? who cares). The result is the rendering industry has as much to lose as the human feed chain 50-50.

So my interest is now not whether TPD can make oil, or how much, but could this be a viable alternative to rendering.

thought for the day GR

Taking a look at tar sands operations (bitumen to oil), I think that 85% efficiency is totally bogus. Even 0% efficiency seems like a stretch. Tar sand operations are big business in Alberta, Canada producing about a million barrels per day of oil.

The tarry sand consists of about 80% sand, 15% bitumen (oily substance), and 5% water.

The process of turning bitumen to oil involves first digging it out of the ground (strip mined, which doesn't take that much energy, perhaps 10% of the bitumen's energy). Then it is refined using hot steam (thermal polymerization) and upgraded using natural gas to fix the hydrogen deficiency. Massive amounts of energy are needed for hot water to seperate the bitumen from the rock, and then to crack the bitumen into oil.

The overall efficiency is around 0%-40% depending on the facility in question and who you ask, but these operations are nonetheless profitable as less valuable coke residue, coking gases, and stranded (not marketable) natural gas are used to run the plant and valuable (per Joule) oil is sold and the industry receives substantial subsidies.

Getting back to turkeys, manure, and farm waste, thermal depolymerization is just that for plastics and oil (which can far more efficiently be processed by plastic recycling and skimming), but for the much more common cellulose, it's essentially coking. C6H12O6 (glucose, fructose, and galactose, which make up cellulose and starch) will decompose to C6 and 6(H2O) when heated in an oxygen-free atmosphere. Sure, it'll work, but energy is lost from the glucose and C6 (coke) isn't a very desirable product. Since the temperatures are more modest, complete coking won't happen, but there's still a hydrogen deficit, and that means energy intensive upgrading. This and thermal depolymerization via hot steam are the two main energy costs in tar-sands operations. One glucose molecule needs 6+ H2 molecules or 6+ CH4 (methane) molecules to upgrade it into oil (C8H18, or octane, is my reference hydrocarbon). Bitumen, while hydrogen poor, at least has some hydrogen, and doesn't need as much upgrading to become oil.

Now, when huge and highly modern tar-sand operations, working on relatively (compared to farm waste) high-quality and very uniform bitumen can get the phenomenal overall efficiency of 0%-40%, what might the efficiency of coking cellulose waste into low-energy coke and then upgrading it with high-energy methane or hydrogen into oil be?

Answer: On it's own merit, it's an energy loser, but it could be useful for very specialized kinds of waste like diseased animals (mad cow disease). For everything else, there's the incinerator, which can get a good 33% efficiency-to-electricity and 80% or so efficiency-to-steam. If the pollutants are a worry, compost the waste. At least you won't be losing energy and you'll be returning nutrients to the soil.

85% efficiency is total and utter nonsense. I'll believe it when it's been properly peer reviewed. Until then, I'll place my bets of cold fusion. It's a safer bet.

Hmm, I just read the patent and it has no mention of a reformer or upgrader. I don't think he'll be getting much more than coke and modest coking gases from that glorified coking oven (a beaker of oil out of tons of turkey scraps definitely counts as 'not much').

I did some round numbers based on weight of material going to landfill. I figure about 10% of US oil demand could be satisfied assuming 10000 btu/lb average heat content of landfill.

Crude and other hydrocarbons contain about 18,000 btu / lb. Plant matter contains between 5000 and 7500 btu / lb depending primarily on water content.

Oil is refined by heating followed by fractional distillation. It takes 5 to 10% of energy content of the oil to do this. Sometimes the heavier fractions are further cracked into shorter, more valuable chains. I do not know how much energy this cracking requires.

I think TDP can be viewed as "cracking" any organic material. The use of steam provides the uniform heating required to fully process the material without destroying useful chemical structures.

If oil takes 5% to refine and has twice the heat content / lb maybe TDP could function on 15% of the original feedstock. Even 25% would probably be economically viable

If you want to produce 100% of US oil from TDP, 90% of feedstock would nee to be grown for purpose. Round numbers - 100,000 sq miles would need to produce about 1 lb of plant material per ft sq / year. US has about 3 million sq miles land area.

You would do a little research and find "best" crops for the purpose. I would estimate about 1 TDP plant for every 100 sq miles - 10 mile feedstock transportation - 1000 plants. build 100 plants/ year.

By the time 50 plants are built, OPEC would figure they have some competition. At that point they might try to drop price of crude to sink TDP.

I estimate that if TDP uses 20% of feedstock energy to prower to process, we could have unlimited supply of oil at a price of around $1 /gal in 2003 dollars.

I think the reason that the CWT web site has not been updated is the power there does not want anyone to know what is going on.

note sent to ConAgra 11/9/03 ( almost 3 years after the the initial publicity)

Dear ConAgra: On 12/5/2000 it was announced that the company was to be a partner with Changing World Technology (CWT) for constructing a plant in Carthage MO processing 200T per day of turkey offal into 600 barrels of "golden oil", minerals, and clean water to be recycled using the CWT thermo-depolymerization method.
In April of 2003 CWT announced plant start up would be in in a few days. On August the 25, 2003 CWT advised me usual start up problems were encountered and start up would be in about two weeks.
Subsequent inquires have not been answered. My question is; has the process proved more economical, clean, and efficient than conventional rendering?
Thanks for your consideration.
John Gasell

In responce to my inquiry an official at the Carthage MO plant advised me of the current status. My understanding is they have 26 employees and parts of the plant are run long enough to accumulate feed for the next stage. They are "tweaking" these stages and redesigining/modifying others. Not enough data has been collected to site yields and efficiencies but it was stated they believed the TDP process would deliver more.
For what its worth; my personal experience with similiar projects is that it will be many more months until a final evaluation can be made by qualified independent technical persons. JG

In responce to a recent inquiry CWT wrote 11/19:
"Thank you for your interest. The plant is in the process of completing startup".

In responce to a previous inquiry CWT wrote 8/25:
"Thank you for your interest in our process. The Carthage, MO plant is scheduled to start up any day now. We had some normal construction delays"

Note: I will be checking again in 3 months. JG

The immediate problem of thrash in Asia is much worse than the depleting oil. I recently wrote to CWT, expressing interest in using their technology here to help alleviate the problem. On the 20th Nov, I got this email reply from CWT:

"Thank you for your interest in our process. We are currently focused on
building our next 10 plants in the U.S. We will not be ready for offshore
operations for some time, but we will keep your e-mail on file and get back
to you at the appropriate time."

Was wondering where the other 9 plants are.

A very interesting report dated 12/1 with pictures of the plant is posted at: >http://home.everestkc.net/tasir/CWT/Depolymerization.htm


Frank Boosman was actually going to file a weblog
on this Item.

I posted the link to the Kansas City page
KCgeek for local residents.

I had promised Frank exclusive access to this info
for his site in exchange for his hosting the pictures. I hope he is not too mad.



Your observations during the short plant visit were very enlightening and answers a lot of questions posed by many.
Hopefully an acredited chemical engineer or scientist will be extended an official invitation to visit soon and will be permitted to write an accurate report.
Glowing technical reports by ex CIA directors, Wall St. types, and local politicians should wave a red flag for those with lose change to invest.

You are absolutely right.

I'm an architect by profession so my site report is biased in that direction. No doubt chemical engineers would look at it differently.

Reading the NY times article Appel was noting that the process is highly sensitive and it is just a short step from oil to useless and downright dangerous stuff like hydrogen and chlorine gas.

I would imagine this is going to be a serious challenge. Each waste stream no doubt will require its own tweaks and adjustments. An extended roll out will kill this quicker than anything else. Imagine investing $50 million and being told come back in 2-3 years.

And what about keeping those waste streams seperate. Household garbage cannot be used in this process. It will have to be seperated out into the various components the particular facility can handle. This can get out of hand very quickly. Imagine a package consisting of the cellulosics, plastics, rubber, fibres, vegetable matter, animal matter, waste oils (different type). How is this going to be done, is it do-able.


I think that this process is probably more flexible than recent postings gives it credit for. Assuming that it is working properly with the waste stream from turkey & grease waste the plant was built to handle, it is already handling a fairly un-homogeneous intake. It must handle proteins, fats, bone, and cellulose simultaneously. If my understanding of the process is correct, they are probably spending considerable effort in developing a control system to adjust the process in response to the composition of the input stock and the relative value of the possible outputs. While light oil is the output which has grabbed the greatest attention, the articles mention that this process can produce outputs such as fatty acids or other organic compounds which are more valuable. Even if household waste, baring extensive sorting, is prohibitively complex, much of the waste produced is both homogeneous and produced in such quantities that a purpose built plant is not out of the question. Alternatively, if the waste streams can use the same plant with an adjustment to the process, it would be possible to run a local plant in batches to handle different types of waste. Perhaps a local plant in a rural area would spend one day per month disposing of waste tires and another on medical waste. This plant could spend the vast majority of its time processing agricultural waste or if it becomes cost effective, purpose grown crops which would allow for much higher fuel production. I look forward to more solid information becoming available. Most of what has been posted thus far has been speculation, some well thought out, some not. I look forward to learning the facts.

For Mr.Essex:
There would be much joy and dancing in the streets if this process were only 5% more economical to build and operate than a conventional rendering plant.
The notion that this or any other process is going to alter the world's energy dependence from tradional sources is sheer folly.
We have already been brainwashed with energy from corn and soy beans as being renewable. Try growing, harvesting, processing, and transporting these products with out petroleum or fossil fuel. Have you ever wondered why ethanol & biodiesel cost 200-250% more than petroleum?
We have yet to hear from accredited professionals despite the vast amount of newspaper reporting nor do we read of other firms on parallel developments. Cause to wonder? JG

There is good bit of activity in area of Bio Mass Energy. Good place to start.


This article does not even mention TDP, but it gives you an idea of what technically competent engineers think of the prospects for bio mass.

The whole industrial process for extracting and using fossile fuels is only 100 years old. This process has been as much about defining the uses as finding and producing supplies.

Just because the world decided to exploit easiest sources first does not mean processes such as TDP will not work.

TDP seems to me to be a much more direct process than ethanol or bio diesel with a larger range of potential feedstock.

If they are building 10 more plants and being somewhat secretative, I read that as a sign that TDP is working and has a future.

Would I invest my own money - probably not yet. But if someone approached me as an investor and wanted to show me details, I would listen.

If you invested the same amount of money two years ago in Exxon, Chevron, British Petroleum and Arthur Daniels Midland (king of ethanol) you would have made about the same amount of monwy in either because they all depend on petroleum.
If you had invested the same amount of money in CWT your returns would be zero at this point in time and probably well in to the future.
Had you invested the same amount of money in Darling International (DAR) you would have a return of 300%. Darling is in rendering business and markets the same type of basic oil products as CWT.
Investing in companies with secret processes at unreported locations is not exactly prudent.

You should note that CWT is not trying to get people to invest in their process. Since they claim to have sufficient financial backing to continue to build plants, I would suspect they have provided enough proof to their existing investors to convince them that theirs is a good investment. It is normal for a new company or process to take time to become profitable. From the descriptions given of what is going on at their first production facility, I expect they are using it to develop the production process. They are converting from a small prototype facility to a large scale production facility. Most industrial processes need significant changes when they are converted from small to full scale. The first plant must be built in such a way that it can be adjusted as necessary to handle these differences. Once the optimal process is known, subsequent construction can be built to these specifications and is usually much less expensive. If the first plant costs $20 million, the second will probably cost between $10 and $15 million if it works out like other industrial plants. Plant costs would continue to drop as the number built goes up.

I agree that the whole ethanol subsidy is pure political pork. TDP claims to be able to produce oil at less than $12 / barrel. 2003 crude oil prices averaged over $31/ barrel. In theory OPEC could drop this price below $12, but if the threat of TDP would cause this kind of price cut, I would have no problem subsidizing them to the point of allowing them a few dollars per barrel profit until the price was such that they could make a profit. I do not think that OPEC member states could afford to keep prices prohibitively low for very long, they have even more of an appetite for dollars than we Americans have for oil.

If you are familiar with the process of producing ethanol, you know that this is a very inefficient method of converting the energy found in corn into a more useful product. To make the process worse, only the corn kernels of the corn which are themselves a valuable commodity are used in the production of ethanol. TDP claims that they will use agricultural waste which has a very low to negative value in their process.

Any business person will tell you that if your competition has to pay for his feed stock while you get paid to dispose of your input, you have the makings of a very profitable business. I think it is unlikely that the production cost of TDP will be less that the $4 to $7 dollars per barrel cost to produce oil in the Middle
East. The countries who produce oil at these prices can not survive selling at anything close to these prices. Their economies are almost completely dependent on oil revenue for survival.

Back to the land of speculation and guesswork. Here are some assumptions and how the numbers work out:

1. If a plant which will produce 500 barrels / day produces 180,000 barrels per year
2. If oil can be produced at a cost of $10 / barrel
3. If the cost of capital is 10% and the plant needs to pay for itself in 5 years

The plant will make its pay off and become profitable with oil prices at $24.66 / barrel
Dropping the interest to 8% drops the cost to $23.91 / barrel
Allowing a 10 year payoff and 10% drops it to $19.04
Allowing for 10 years and 8% drops it to $18.28

With these numbers, the government may decide to give them subsidized loans if only in an attempt to drop world crude prices. If they have a 10 year payoff and a 5% loan they could sell oil for $17.19 per barrel. Keeping oil prices below $20 / barrel would have a huge positive impact on our economy. Converting sewage and other organic waste products into oil is also very nice. The fact that they have not spent a lot of effort hyping their technology and begging for subsidies may indicate that they expect to be able to make a profit on their own. Compare this to wind and hydrogen hype. TDP has allowed a few interviews and provides some information on their web site http://www.changingworldtech.com/pressofficefr.htm but has not advertised or made any real claims to being the complete answer to the future in energy.

Their claim to have made Thermal Depolymerization cost effective appears reasonable on its face. The fact that a number of profitable companies have invested in them leads me to think that their process holds significant promise. Their investors also had access to real numbers, not the minimal information released to the public. Since they are not open to investment, my interest lies more in what effect they can have on the cost of oil (the US economy) and an enjoyment of all the speculation.
Have fun with this, we have nothing invested and too little information to do more than speculate. If it works out, great, if not, it will be lots of fun reading about how ConAgra and a bunch of other very influential companies and individuals got fooled. The government has been throwing billions at energy projects with a lot smaller chance of success.

Hello to everyone who has posted a comment about this renewable energy. How hard would it be to design a machine that would take trash (used to fill landfills and that sometimes unlawfully dumped into the ocean (horrible!!)); take trash , separate, compress, heat it to high enough temperatures and turn it into coal? You could separate the trash by putting it into something like a water catchment. All the metals that wouldn't burn would fall to the bottom and all the burnable stuff like paper would float to the top and be scraped off by a system of scrapers. Then after drying and sorting of the waste, it would then be compressed into blocks. Then, it would go into a specially made furnace that could heat it for a day. Now, certain things like plastic would put off fluorocarbons
that could be harmful, so you would need something to catch them. This could be long cylindar tubes filled with charcoal. The charcoal would catch the stuff and then to disapate the chemicals the tubes would then be crushed. Then you would have nice little blocks of coal that you could sell at a very reasonable inexpensive price. (Let's not get greedy folks like the oil and gas companies did. There's no reason for it!! That's the cause for High and Low classes of society. Once we can see that each individual on this planet has their part it will and can end all struggles for power. This is for the good of the planet.) Most of my inspiration has came from the Celestine Prophecy, a book about 9 essential insights that humans need to grasp before we can evolve consiously. Thankyou very much.

Joseph is absolutely right that the Middle Eastern countries can no longer afford to sell their oil @ $10 a barrel for extended periods. Saudi Arabia for instance on just breaks even @ $22 per barrel and getting worse every year.

The concern though is that CWT's approach is far too slow to show any real quantitative effect in the next 10 years which is when the first effects of world growth on oil consumption will start to become visible.

To give you some perspective the current growth boom is in Canadian oil sands which is conservatively expected to produce between 2-3 Mill.Bar/day by 2010. Per this link (http://www.oilsandsdiscovery.com/oil_sands_story/pdfs/projects.pdf)CNRL alone expects to produce 300,000 bar./day by then @ an investment of $8 billion. That is an investment of Approx $30,000 per barrel per day capacity.

Lets do the same math for CWT. Even if we allow that CWT can get the per plant cost down to approx $15 million (I don't think $10 million is feasible based on what I saw) for 500 bar/day the net cost is approx $30,000 per day capacity.

Now oil sands facilities are considered the seriously high cost end of oil production so CWT should realize that it is in direct competition not with the Middle East but with Alberta. There is an estimated 3 Trillion Barrels with 10% or 300 billion barrels surf mining recoverable and the rest recoverable by a rapidly improving steam heated 'huff & puff' method. This is more oil than exists in all of the middle east and just proven surface recoverable is more than there is in all of Saudi Arabia.

To get the 300,000 bar./day of just NCRL alone CWT needs 600 facilities by 2010 that means roughly one Carthage sized facility coming online every 3-4 days for the next 6 years. And this is just to get to NCRL's capacity which is just 1-1/2% of US demand at the moment. You see where I'm going with this. CWT is just not set up to handle that sort of scale. All this secrecy is so meaning less since CWT is patenting everything any way. They are going to have to franchise this to have any sort of real effect. The you get a franchise is by selling the concept to average Joe's you and I who will set up and run this stuff not by selling it to nameless Suits on wall street.


My understanding is that the $20 million is the entire starting capital for the plant. In other statements, they have claimed that the plant itself costs $15 million. It is from this that I guesstimate that future facilities should cost around $10 million for a comparable plant. I also expect that many plants will be built for much larger volumes, these plants would have a much lower cost per barrel output. Smaller plants will be built primarily to dispose of waste with the benefit of producing a salable product. The $20 million would include not only the cost of a prototype plant but all of the costs associated with startup and testing and, if they are smart, a contingency fund to handle the unexpected. If they are going to do several months of startup where they tune the process for various inputs and outputs and make all of the inevitable design changes as they find out the differences between a real small plant and one set up to handle production, a good portion of this $5 million expenses would not be needed for the next production plant. We also have no indication that this process is limited to only $500 barrels per day plants, they may build ones which will handle much larger volumes.

According to their literature, they are using a franchise basis for their plants. ConAgra owns the franchise for this first production plant which will dispose of the waste produced at one of their facilities. This plant handles 200 tons per day of waste. This is a lot from one plant but if a facility was built near Chicago for example, where there are several large slaughterhouses nearby, one plant could be built which would handle a much larger volumes. Alternatively if waste can be stored or only accepted in lots, a plant could process one type of waste and switch over to another in a batch process.

From your calculations, using a $15 million plant, the capital cost per barrel per day production was the same as for tar sands. Tar sands need to be mined and processed, so the cost of the input material and the disposal of the slightly oily waste sand will be a significant cost. I wish I had the numbers to fairly and accurately compare the costs associated with the two processes, but at least from the capital standpoint, they appear comparable.

I agree with you that it will be very difficult to build enough plants to produce a significant portion of the oil used in the US. The effect of having viable alternative supplies will however put us in a much better position. If there is economic production of oil which could in theory be expanded drastically, there is in effect a cap on how much oil prices could rise. If it is economical to build a dozen or more plants per year with a crude price of $30 per barrel, how many would be built with a price of $35? With the franchise system they are operating under, I expect after they have about a dozen production plants assuming profitability, there will be a lot of new capital available for new plants. Plant numbers may grow exponentially for a number of years until much of the most available organic waste is being converted into oil. I will be shocked if they manage to produce anything close to the 4 billion barrels per year possible from current agricultural waste. It may be possible however for purpose grown crops such as grass or trees to be used as feedstock. At the same time much more capital will also become available for other alternative sources of oil as the oil price goes up.


Thanks very much for your on site report. Tells us all this is real project etc

Do you live near Carthage? Why did you not go talk to management. I bet they would spill the beans.

If TDP economics come in anywhere in the range they are talking, TDP will catch on then grow very fast. There will be no problem raising plenty of money and building plenty of capacity. The world does not need or even want to just instantly switch from pumped oil to TDP. Just phase oil out and phase TDP in. If we start phasing oil out, there is enough prooven reserves to last 50 or 100 years - Not counting tar sands.

1980 I worked for FERC they were looking at building a gas pipeline from Prudoe Bay to Chicago. As far as I know they are still reinjecting that gas. There are still lots of energy deposits around the world.

I wonder what exxon thinks about this. And all the OPEC members.

This is just WAG. I predict 30% US energy from TDP by 2014. 10% from landfill and other waste streams 20% purpose grown. This should take the edge off world politics. No more need to "protect our oil supply"

I realize that is revolutionary.

TDP will be prooven in US then applied elsewhere.

Anybody else want to make predictions

Many contributors have expressed interest in CWT as investors or stock holders. Since there is no registered stock available you will have to qualify as an accredited investor as defined by the SEC:
a natural person who has individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse, that exceeds $1 million at the time of the purchase;

a natural person with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year.

CWT has several experts on staff that handle folks interested in exciting technical processes promoted by newspaper/magazine articles. I am sure they would be happy to have you help fund their next projects.

My predictions regarding this process replacing a percentage of other energy sources by 2014 equals zero unless they use US PORK $$ as in ethanol. TDP might be around If the process proves to be more efficient and less costly than conventional rendering plants. Those silly thermodynamic laws keep it from doing much else. JG

You keep stating that the TDP process goes against the laws of thermodynamics. This would be true if they claimed to have an 80% efficient heat engine or that they were running power plants using organic fuel and running at 80% efficiency. They have a process which converts an organic input into an organic output. A better comparison would be an oil refinery or chemical cracking plant. They are converting long chain organic chemicals into shorter chain chemicals which are more suitable for use as a fuel. From the standpoint of using organic waste as fuel, it would likely be more efficient to burn dry waste than to convert it to oil and then burn it. Many organic waste streams have a very high water content which makes it very difficult to burn them efficiently.

They have convinced a number of people and companies that their process can be profitable. It is very possible that they will only be profitable in special cases where large amounts waste needs to be disposed of. An example of this is if most of the current uses of slaughter house waste are outlawed or subject to so many regulations or risk of lawsuits that they are unprofitable. Disposal in a landfill of that type of waste would be expensive as the volumes can be huge, especially if they were required to dispose of it with any type of special precautions. Once again, if you are being paid to dispose of the input to your process, it is much simpler to make the output profitable. If, as they claim, they can use some types of hazardous waste as an input, this would be even more profitable. Disposal of hazardous waste is very expensive. Hazardous waste incinerators are subject to lots of regulations and the risk of lawsuits. Hazardous waste landfills also are subject to lots of expensive problems.

With the need to dispose of organic waste, there is likely to be some profitable applications of the TDP process. I hope that the process will be profitable in lots of applications as any large scale production of oil in a process where production can not be easily throttled down would have the effect of stabilizing oil prices at a lower level. Oil prices are kept at their current levels by producers limiting production. If oil producers used all of their capacity, oil prices would be much lower. Many US oil fields have capped wells as they are not very profitable compared to wells outside the US. If they have an expensive plant, they are unlikely to shut it down whenever oil prices drop as an idle plant still has large fixed costs unlike an oil field where the fixed costs are much lower.

As to the secrecy mentioned, what incentive do they have to answer our questions? If they intended to get large scale federal funding (pork) they would likely be hyping their process in an attempt to persuade congress to send them money. They claim to have investors willing to fund a number of new plants. If they get a number of plants running profitably, it will be very easy to get more investment. If the process is less efficient or the plants prove too expensive, the numbers will seriously limit investment. There will probably continue to be some applications where TDP will replace incinerators or other disposal methods but this would have a very limited effect on oil prices.

I do not expect any one invention or technology to replace the oil industry any time soon. Most alternative energy sources tend to be over hyped with huge claims. This process has huge potential if it can compete profitably. Wind, wave, and solar power can make the same claim. Thus far, none of these are less expensive than oil, gas, and coal. As technologies improve or the price of oil, gas, and coal increase, the cost comparison could change. Government funding tends to distort these cost comparisons. There are incentives and other pork government funding of all kinds of energy production. Threats to national security, pet economic or environmental ideas, and the desire to fund jobs projects in various districts have a large impact on decisions relating to energy policy.

Thus far we do not have any information showing if this process is or can be made profitable or the reverse. We have only opinions. It would be interesting to hear from experts in similar chemical processes and industrial plants. From what they have disclosed of their process, it seems likely that larger plants will be more flexible in the input material. The process inputs are subjected to remains the same, the parameters which change are things like temperatures and hold times. If materials can be separated prior to a stage requiring different conditions, the process will be more efficient in producing the desired outputs and in its use of energy. Industry has developed many methods for performing this type of separation, which would be effective (if any) is of course unknown given that we do not have details of their process. I am also neither a chemist or an expert in this type of process.

I like Jet’s prediction, it would be great if it occurs. Without a lot more information I wouldn’t bet either way. If the plants are hugely profitable, they will be very common and will seriously impact the price of oil. If not, I hope some other technology comes around which proves out. I am uncomfortable having our economy dependent on a product (oil) which is largely produced in unstable parts of the world. While these countries can not afford to hold another embargo, it is still too easy to cause some sort of disruption which would cause oil prices to spike. Having alternatives is a good thing.

I don't understand why this company isn't moving faster to put it's product in the public eye, I mean with all the media available today they could be selling this to the state government of Tibet by november. So why do they hold back so much and why are they going so slow?

Why aren't they showing their predictions on what the large scale impact of these plants could be?

Also it's my understanding that the machines require different configurations for different imputs. So you can't pour in just anything in any concentration. That's probably why they built their plant next to a turkey company and not next to a landfil.

How much does it cost to sort out the input that goes in?

And how much input do you need to make a usable amount of energy? (how many chickens or pounds of poop will produce a barrel of oil that's sell for 30 bucks?)

Finaly as a person from a small island country that is flooded with trash every year I think that this technology could really change things for our people. It would mean that peoples trash would actualy have value, or would atleast be usable in some productive way that would justify the government cleaning it out of the streets and rivers where people dump their trash.

I still can't understand why they haven't gone faster and why my dad can't by the stock for this company yet.

Are they waiting for someone else to steal their idea and make millions off the IPO...?

Mr. Essex:
Many people forget the fact that huge amounts of energy are required for making fertilizers and doing other tasks in growing corn for the production of ethanol. It also requires it to be subsidized by the taxpayers. This is merely converting a higher Btu/per unit fuel in to a lower Btu/ per unit . Simply put, the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that you will always lose energy after any transformation. The economies of the transformation can be altered by governments simply by taxation . Fuel made from earwax could be cheaper if other forms of fuel were taxed at higher levels. E-mail the DOE, USDA, senators and congressmen requesting their views in passing legislation requiring fuel derived from grain be used in the farming and production instead of petroleum . You will not get a response.
Regarding the TDP process: Of course I can be wrong, but my thinking is the easy energy obtained from the offal is the “golden oil” and is in the same amount that can be obtained from conventional rendering requiring less heat and pressure. I doubt if TDP is more efficient in producing energy products than rendering. This oil, by the way, usually has a higher commercial value that petroleum as it is used in cosmetics etc. In any event, producing this oil will not alter the petroleum markets because it only displaces the oil now being made by conventional methods. The other minerals and chemicals obtained may require refining. Calcium from bones, for example, could not compete with 99.99% pure calcium carbonate dug out of the ground.
Judging from the qualifications of the CWT officers and association with former and current government personnel, I would expect them to lobby for an Arthur Daniel’s Midland type arrangement.
Regarding the TDP process for converting any thing into oil, not very likely. The collection and recycling of most material is not cost effective due to transportation, sorting, and quality control. Again, this could all be made economical by law, but the tax payer/user gets to pay for it.
TDP has been around for 30 years or more. CWT has been involved since 1990. I see no breakthrough other than the initial interest generated by journalist. I doubt if a technical research report stating factual data and economics will ever be published. If no facts are disclosed the initial investment period can be extended indefinitely. Oh come all yea faithful!

Archer Daniels Midland is the name, if anybody is interested
It's been almost nine months since this thread started.
Have anybody heard about CWT since the initial story in Discover?

There have been a few articles since the Discover one. None have gone into the same level of detail. There was an article in MIT's Technology Review and a short one in the New York Times technology section. I would expect that when they have completed their startup process at their first production facility, they will hold a commissioning ceremony and press conference. They will probably also put out more information when they announce ground breaking on the next few facilities.

I did not intend to imply that the output oil would have a higher energy content or even the same energy content as the input material. I actually stated that for dry waste, it would probably be more efficient to burn it such as in a cogeneration plant. Oil in the form of diesel or gasoline is a much more convenient fuel than most organic waste. Most equipment which burns fuel is capable of burning only one standard fuel, conversions to another fuel tend to be expensive and inconvenient. If the waste has a high water content (sewage sludge or seaweed for example) or tends to burn with a lot of smoke (rubber or tar) it is difficult to burn the waste effectively for the production of power. The oils produced by a rendering plant are of value in many chemical processes but are not normally used for their energy content. If offal from slaughterhouses can no longer be used in animal feed, most will need to be disposed of in some fashion. There is a limited market for the oil output from rendering plants. I would also assume that rendering plants only remove the existing oils in the offal, not convert any of the proteins or cellulose into oil products. In this case, the resulting waste would still need to be disposed of. (I have not studied the rendering plant process)

I have also expressed my disapproval of the subsidies given and the distortions they make in what should be business decisions. Producing energy from corn kernels, whether by burning or by converting them into ethanol is a poor method for producing energy. You may be correct in that there is more energy used in the production of ethanol that is produced in its burning. It is certainly true that gasoline in America is more expensive and our taxes are higher due to ethanol requirements imposed by congress. My hope is that this process will succeed economically without subsidies. The case where I would support subsidies was the one where oil produces dropped the price of oil below say $15 per barrel in order to drive companies using this process out of business. I do not believe that they could sustain these prices for long and even if they did, subsidizing a competitor while maintaining substantially lower crude prices might be in our best interest. For example, if we import ~4 billion barrels of oil per year at ~$30 per barrel. If OPEC, in order to kill this process, drops oil costs to $15 and existing CWT plants producing at that time 100 million barrels per year require $20 per barrel to make a profit, a $500 million subsidy would be much less than the savings due to the drop in the price of oil. I would not however support a subsidy which would allow CWT a profit if they require $35 per barrel and the world price is $30 per barrel, these are two very different scenarios.

It is very possible that you are right in your assessment of their likelihood to ask for handouts from government. I am actually encouraged by the lack of hype thus far. They have provided limited information and have not made much in the way of extreme claims. I would expect them to build plants which handle the most convenient waste sources first, then less convenient sources if profitable. These convent sources would include sewage sludge from large metro areas (many tons of wet waste which must be disposed of at some cost), offal from slaughterhouses (possibly from rendering plants), and waste tires (expensive to dispose of and tend to catch on fire when stored in quantity due to lack of proper disposal methods) These waste sources would have a very limited effect on the price of oil. They would allow the process to be tried and perfected, hopefully to the extent that other, less convenient waste streams and or purpose grown crops could be economically converted into oil.

Mr. Essex:
Check this out>

This is an SEC required filing for Southern States Power Co (SSPC) currently selling for a fraction of a cent per share having taken over $18,000,000 from investors. SSPC is/was in the methyl-ester (biodiesel)business. Very interesting reading if you are prone to make investments made on BS.

NOPEC is another used cooking oil to diesel plant that took investors for $21,000,000 ; closing for good two months ago. I happened to be the principal electrical/instrumentation engineer on this project. One learns a lot more than science in these type ventures.

Anyway, be dilligent in exploring how sows ears can be spun into silk purses.

Perhaps it is good that CWT is not asking for any investors, though I will dare to predict that there would be many interested parties.

For the benefit of our future generation, I'm all for any development toward the demise of using fossil fuels.


You seem both skeptical and facinated at the same time. Sorry your biodiesel deal didn't work out.

Biomass generally contains 5000 to 10000 btu/lb and do not necessarily require any fossil fuel input - eg natural Forests and even tree farms. The TDP claim is their process is able to convert carbohydrates (8000 btu/lb)to hydrocarbons (18,000 btu/lb) using only some part of the feed stock energy content to drive the process.

Rendering is a very different process than TDP. Rendering is sort of like cooking bacon in its own fat. There is no chemical conversion going on - just melting the fat and evaporating off water. TDP using steam and pressure are driving a chemical reaction which I think drives the O2 out of the carbohydrates resulting in hydrocarbons.

This on the face of it does not violate the 2nd law. You are absolutely correct that most if not all "alternative energy" schemes have been just that. TDP may not work. If on the outside chance it does work, it would "change the world"

Barry: The fact you have read many articles on TDP and that CWT has "press kits" availabe at their site indicates CWT is VERY interested in attracting investors. Not having registered stock and meeting other requirements means they are restricted to funds from "accredited investors" as defined earlier.Thus CWT can and did state they had been examined by the SEC and found to be in compliance. They are operating in a legal manner but that does not mean any thing else. Many of the extrodinary claims stem from non technical writers that have the wrong interpetation what managment has stated. There is no obligation for CWT to make clarifications.

Jet: Both biodiesel projects cited began with EXACTLY the same type of hype, magnitude of investment, type of investors, and many other characteristics. Even the picture of a principal in a hard hat holding a flask of "oil from grease" appeared in our local paper.
Having access to the poorly designed flow diagrams
and a fair share of common sense I was the sole engineering person not investing.

I am not saying TDP will not work. I compare it with the modification of a square wheel to a triangular one...it eliminates one bump but fails to give a good ride.

A good way to invest in energy technology is to look at a similiar companies stock price and history. Often you will only find a shell or at best shares worth a fraction of a cent.

The one application for TD I can think of top of my mind is oil shale. I know that the reason why oil shale was unprofitable was the same reason TD did not work earlier.

People were trying to heat up the shale to release the oil/kerogen as gas which was then precipitated. This was just too energy intensive.

There is an estimated 1.5-2 Trillion Barrel equivalents of oil in 10 Gal per ton deposits in the US.

Sorry to be a naysayer, but off hand I would expect oil shale to work poorly in this process. You would need to mine the shale and crush it. Both of these are costly. At 10 gallons of oil per ton, you would have a hard time producing much more oil than you use in the mining and crushing. It is more likely that a steam process similar to that being developed for separating oil from tar sands underground and for recovering oil in older fields would have a higher chance of success.

I am sorry that you were burned on the bio diesel plant. Working in the plant, even with your foresight in not investing, you invested a bit of yourself into the project. In your particular case, it sounds like there was intentional fraud, in other alternative energy projects, people follow their dreams into bankruptcy. Businesses really need to start out with a plan to be able to make a profit, not save the world if they wish to have any chance of succeeding. You are right that investors must beware. I believe that their initial investors are companies whose primary concern is the disposal of large quantities of organic waste. Even if this process is not a cost effective way to produce large quantities of oil, it may be cost effective as a method of disposing of tons of organic waste. Unlike the bio diesel case, many of the inputs have negative worth (they cost money to dispose of) and they claim to be able to convert non oil & fat waste into oil. This increases the potential for this process to succeed where others have failed. I personally would not consider investing with only the information provided to the public. This is assuming that I had the kind of money required to invest prior to an IPO. The world is full of get rich quick schemes and people willing to be fooled. On the other hand, not being an investor or a potential investor in the foreseeable future, I am having fun playing out what if scenarios and trying to figure out the potential of this process. Being a true skeptic you should not only have doubt but should have an open mind about the positive possibilities.

Indeed all business concerns are only there first and foremost, for the money, not for our future generations. For better or for worse, the business enterprises have shaped the world as we know it; our lives are much more comfortable then our forebears, but it has come at a perilous price for our descendants. TDP is indeed interesting from 2 potential angles: 1) Less fossil fuels and 2) How to deal with the garbage problem.

Wrt biodiesel, the only way I see it becoming viable is in the input - what is the most cost-effective 'feed-stock' that can be produced agriculturally, or which oil do we use. Without getting into any form of debate, it appears that palm-oil seems to be the one.

Theo A,;It has been said that oil shale is the fuel of the future.....and always will be.

Joseph E. ; Significant amounts of "oil from any thing" might become economical after the shale is depleted

Barry ; Transesterification of palm oil in to diesel has been considered. The problem is and always will be these raw materials have low energy content and are dispersed. Try estimating your family's energy needs including the energy required for your food, clothing etc and you might come up with a figure of 500 to a 1000 barrels of oil per year. Now, estimate the number of palm plants you need and the time your spouse might devote to caring for them. Some calculations indicate most of the earth would have to be covered with solar cells, corn, soy beans, rape weed, etc to replace the petroleum and coal now used. Estimates indicate we have several HUNDRED years of these two energy sources left. Of course, if the politicians continue to play the game of transforming these prime energy assets in to "renewable" energy the lights may go out sooner.

Well actually the mining and crushing is not necessarily a deal breaker. Gold mines for instance mine and crush ore profitably @ 2-3 grams per ton.

Check out this site.
The real problem was extracting the oil with adequate yields and processing. TDP will be able to hydrogenate the kerogen and heat it up and extract with relatively low water requirements and all in one step. Also the process by driving water into the crushed material will be able to extract virtually every drop instead of just the melt flow that the other processes depended on when typically yeilds were 1-2 barrels/ton for commercial extraction.

TDP 'promises' much much better extraction rates. Even a 50% (TDP promises more) rate would easily quadruple earlier extraction rates.


I can tell you a little about gold having bought a few Canadian "Maple Leafs" back in the 70s for $470 each. Boy was I stupid. The better deal was to buy gold mines where the attraction is the huge deposits promised to be in the dirt yet mined. Its a lot like other hyped investments in that they are attractive until proven unworkable.
Also back in the 70s Mobil, Occidental, and others set off three underground atomic explosion to losen up the oil shale. I think they also dug out a huge hole to act as insitu retort to capture the liquid. Overall about a billion dollars was spent before they all gave up. TDP would have a good start there, much better than messing with innards.

Nina, our Chinese mentor also wrote:

"At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
"At thirty, I stood firm. "At forty, I had no doubts. "At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. "At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth."At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right"

Why they aren't selling stock:

*chuckle* If the process really works and I were an oil Sheik the first thing I would do if it went public would be to buy enough shares to control the company and close it down. Then sit on the patent and not allow anyone else to develop it. This thing could be HUGE - and a death blow to OPEC.

I've been skimming through the articles and might have missed something...has anyone commented on the large shifts in the balances of power this technology is likely to cause? I believe that currently, China does not have enough domestic petroleum resources to fuel it's military in a full-scale war. I shudder to think if that should change. Does that mean I would like this technology halted? Heck no! Any chance of keeping it confined to the United States? I don't have the article in front of me right now..did it mention if there's any international govt/corporate involvement?


I had mane some observations and predictions regarding the economic and world effects of this technology working and becoming common. I think your thoughts regarding China are off track. While in theory it may be possible for a country to produce enough fuel from this type of process to replace their use of oil from the ground, it is likely to take many years before enough plants are built for production using this method to make more than a dent in the use of petroleum. I would expect that oil is the least of China’s worries when it comes to war. China has a very limited navy and not very well trained or equipped Army. The most likely war scenario I see would be them invading Taiwan. I, as an armchair general, would expect that their plans in this regard involve overwhelming numbers of troops on the ground and large numbers of infiltrated and purchased collaborators and saboteurs. The minimal distances involved and the huge difference in military and population size could allow them to quickly accomplish their objective of controlling the island. The fact that absorbing a large number of people who have been exposed to freedom would likely lead to country wide unrest is likely one of the greatest deterrents. This has been a bit off topic, but I wanted to comment. Since a few weeks ago, this thread has been very inactive. I hope that CWT makes an announcement soon regarding the success of their first production facility and where the next scheduled plants are to be built.


I know it is kind of an off-track subject. But once the technology has the bugs worked out, and is either stolen or purchased, a communist-controlled country like China can put such development into effect much faster than the United States ever could (overwhelmingly due to over-regulation). Besides, you're thinking of the NOW, not 20-30 years from now, which is how they look at things. They have a long-term vision for their country that doesn't involve conflict with the U.S. until the 2020-2030 decades. With the free trade policies of this country rapidly transfering technology and manufacturing capacity (especially dual-use type) China is closing it's military's technological and skill cap 2 years for every calendar year that passes. So by 2020-2030 not only will they maintain 3-1 or larger numerical superiority in everything except blue-water naval forces, but their military will have achieved technological and skill parity with the United States. To back it up, they literally could have enough TD-refineries to run their military and the industrial infrastructure to maintain long term conflict. We will have none left, having shifted it away to other countries to satisfy Big Business. Then we'll get our ass kicked.

Did anyone else see the science channel story on TDP - Wed Jan21


Trash Into Treasure

Robots that can genuinely learn, and a way to change waste into oil, gasoline, and natural gas, and technology that can make America's Cup team sail it's way to victory.

They talked about the Carthage Plant as running smoothly. Walked thru the plant and listed the locations of other plants "being built"


I can't picture what China could possibly hope to gain from war with the US. I see TDP as an economic and political stablizer which will distribute energy supplies to anyone anywhere they are needed at relatively low cost. This should be one less thing to fight over unless maybe the water needed to grow feedstock becomes the issue.


Missed the show. Did they specifically mention thermal depolymerization? Hopefully it'll be on soon again.

China, despite all the talk about the "global economy" etc..., is still a very nationalistic nation and sees itself as becoming, if not deserving to be, the world's dominant military and economic power. Once it reaches that point they will want to make that permanent. The only obstacle to that is us. It won't likely come in the form of a surprise attack on the U.S. or anything like that, more like extreme belligerency. Examples would be attacking Taiwan, claiming sections of the ocean they have no rights to, or putting threatening pressure on Japan/S. Korea/Phillipines to gain political advantage. Essentially forcing America to engage, or cower.

Generals and other arm chair analyst:
The US oil consumption is over 20,000,000 barrels per day of which about 60% is imported. China is now the second largest consumer at about 5,500,000 barrels per day recently taking this position from the Japanese. The last report from Carthage MO is that they have ramped up production to 50 barrels a day on the way to the targeted 600 barrels per day.
Assuming the process is economical, a mere 5,500,000/ 600 or 9,000 plants would have to be operated in China to meet their demands. At a plant cost of a modest $20,000,000 each an investors would have the opportunity of buying $180,000,000,000 worth of stock. 200 tons per day of offal would be required for each plant. A 35-pound turkey dressed would produce about 6 pounds of offal more or less. To produce 200 tons per day we would require (200 T x 2000 LB/T)/ 6 or 66,666 turkeys per day. To meet energy requirements of China, a total 9000 plants X 66,666 X 365 days/year or 218,997,810,000 turkeys must be raised per year. Now for the bad news. It takes 3 pounds of feed to make a pound of turkey. The amount of grain required per year to feed the turkeys would be 35pound-turkey X 3-LB feed/LB X 218,997,810,000 or 2.299 lbs. followed by 13 zeros or 11,497,385,025 tons of feed per year. Of course, Chinese eat other things too but they also have a bad trait of requiring feed. Some one else can do the math for figuring the land area required for the turkeys and grain production.
In making war, few oil fueled ships are required. Nuclear tipped missals powered by variants of gunpowder can do the job…..and who invented gun powder?


You are making the assumption that turkey remains are going to be the only source of material for the TD refineries. The turkey processing facility was chosen because they viewed it as the fastest and cheapest way to develop the TD process. Once perfected they'll expand development into processing agricultural waste, human waste, indusrial waste etc...You could literally see a TD refinery at every dump/land-fill/sewage treatment plant. The cost you're also associating with construction in America. In China they could build a comparable plant for 5 million or less. As for nuclear missiles, they are not so stupid as to use them for any other reason other than a last-ditch threat to prevent a military defeat of their nation. Especially against a nation with enough N-warheads to spare that every population center could be targeted down to mud hut villages.

My point was to illustrate that it takes a huge number of plants, billions in capital, huge land areas and more economical processes to replace fossil fuels with "renewables" or re constituted fuel from trash. It still remains to be seen if TDP is indeed economical to replicate with out the government's present $5MM per plant subsidy and funny laws mandating the use of turkey fuel.
DOE has spent billions of dollars on costly studies with out coming up with any worthwhile solution. In the process they have wasted a lot of petroleum fuel in trying to make renewables like ethanol.
Meanwhile, I think it might be longer than anticipated to get the Cartgage MO plant on stream where an energy blance and cost analysis can be made with some degree of accuracy.


I've been reading your posts and agree with your take on the prospects for TDP. I'm an engineer and have been fiddling with hydrothermal processing technology since 1991, mostly for waste processing applications.

You're dead right to question the technologies economic viability on it's own without gov't subsidy.

i've recently been doing some process modelling on a somewhat different process for waste-to-oil conversion and believe the potential exists for high efficiency. However, with all waste treatment systems, there undoubtedly are questions of waste preprocessing, waste pump/feed system design, fouling/plugging/coking and corrosion. It's good to see they've got a decent size pilot plant where such issues can be dealt with on realistic engineering scale....which is often easier than on smaller scale.

On another blog I saw that Prof Jeff Tester at MIT has commented favorably on the technology. I can vouche for Jeff as an expert in hydrothermal processing technology. He's seen a lot of systems that work and a lot that don't.

Like you, I'm very wary of the hype, and am not convinced they have a totally revolutionary process that cannot be improved upon. Thermal depolymerization has been around for a long time. In my opinion, the reason they're holding back on news reports is that bad news travels faster than good news. Better to have no news than ongoing reports of delays and problems, which I'll guarantee you they're dealing with.

By integrating the TDP plant into an exisiting oil refinery or power plant, a lot of cost savings can be realized in terms of steam generation equipment, cooling water systems, oil transportation, waste heat utilization, required operating personnel, etc. This would go a long way to reducing unit treatment cost and improving overall economics.

Tom McG:
I can tell from your note that you “have been there and done that” too. Many people come up with great ideas on paper, get initial financing, build a small pilot plant or model and set out to revolutionize the world. Most of the ones I have experienced had no technical education but great talents in BS.
The people who most likely invest in these schemes are likewise technically handicapped. Few of them realize the cost in dollars to raise the temperature of the raw material to 400 degrees, for example, or to design a pressure vessel to withstand pressures of 5000 psi. None of them have had no recent experience in handling turkey guts nor would they even get near 200 tons of the stuff that had been laying around weeks while a pump was repaired. Then after all the trials and tribulations one is likely to find the old fashioned rendering systems do a more efficient job at low cost as they have for the past 200 years.
What keeps the investors contributing? Well, one plant I worked on had investors sending about $20,000 a day for stock purchases while the principal made kept making changes for about a year to the flow sheet netting an extra $4MM before start up. This plant was, and still is touted as the largest and “state of the art” plant of its kind. It was close two months ago. Problem was the product cost $2.38/gal and was originally promised to cost only 30 cents a gallon. The money coming in was soon replaced by lawyers and Gov. investigators. I guess it is no worse than the 175-pound man falling into one end of the TDP “machine” and coming out the other end as high-grade light golden oil.
I see no great harm in these ventures as long as the potential investors realize chances of success are slim. This is one 175 man that keep his money (and his oil) away from such ventures.

Actually John it is 600 PSI. This is not an excessive pressure about 40 Atmospheres. To compare the pressure in a scuba tank is 3000 PSI.

I think CWT has been very clear that their oil will not be dirt cheap. They have clearly stated that their price will merely set a baseline at $13-$15.

Not to be difficult but since this something you are familiar with - What does it cost to raise the temperature or pressure by that much? That would be fascinating information to play around with especially considering CWT has provided volume estimations.

Your question on the stock holding practices is extremely valid. As I noted in my report it sure looked like a very amateur set up. I have some experience on what it takes to keep a 24/7 load/handling operation going and they quite simply don't have it. Maybe their experience of part time operations in PA is letting them down here. The fact that they can't seem to get the thing running 24/7 is a clear red flag. Either they don't have the expertise for it or the equipment has not let them experience it first hand.

Their site selection just blew my mind away. They are backed up into a dead end with no practical way of organic expansion. It all speaks of a very amateur organization. They really need to get some professionals on board.

On a side note there seems to be some nut called the friends of the earth out their who seems to have totally bought into the terrorists are everywhere rhetoric. In other forums he has darkly hinted negatively on my site report. Anyone know if he is a CWT employee. Sure sounds like it.

Just found upbeat USA Today article dated Jan 22 04


says just using ag waste could replace all imported oil.

Theo do you live nearby the Carthage plant. Why don't you go to the office and ask for a tour. They already know who you are.

I read the story in USA Today and found it to be a rehash of the Discovery article and Oil from anything story.
For those believing TDP is the answer to all our problems a better solution was found long ago; around 1948. Read about it here>


I took Discover Magazine to task for not including TDP among the top 100 stories in
They were gracious enough to include my letter
in the March. 2004 issue.

How much energy it takes to heat it to reaction temperature is not so important as overall system thermal efficiency. Some of the waste is not converted to exportable product, but will be burned to provide heat to the process. I've run the numbers on such processes and believe it can be done for less than 10% of the total potential fuel energy plus significant chunk of the electric generator exhaust waste heat.

Theo is right that 600 psi is no problem. Even 3600 psi and higher is quite do-able. I've built such eqpt for up to 17,000 psi.

As far as site location goes, you often have to take what you can get....odor problems, noise, limited budget, etc. Their present location is not a big concern for me.

Frankly, I'm not familiar with the capabilities and limitations of standard rendering plants. Would be interesting to know if the byproduct of such plants can be distilled into diesel fuel, or simply used to cook french fries at McD's. ;)

It'll be interesting to see if they get it running 24/7 before the money runs out. If plugging and coking of the second stage is a problem I hope they will contact me. I may have something that will help them.

Best regards,


Tom & Theo:
Since we do not have a flow sheet and mention of producing gasoline or diesel was bought up, the high pressures I was referring to be for hydrocracking reactors used in oil refineries. Such vessels can have a wall thickness of 150mm (almost 6”). I doubt if the Carthgage plant would go that route but might make ester-methyl (aka bio-diesel) via transesterification of the oil product and methanol.
Several months ago (see previous blog on this site) I contacted Terry Adams Ph.D. who is a consultant to CWT regarding the efficiency of TDP versus conventional rendering. Mr. Adams stated they were about the same. I also asked how the process created more energy than was put into the system to which he replied some fat and used cooking oil was used in the raw feed. He added the minerals and other by products reclaimed were of value.
Since the plant was not in operation (and is still not in 24/7 mode) when the Discovery article was published it seems to me all of the figures published were theoretical. In subsequent publications they become fact.
It would be interesting to obtain a copy of their natural gas and electric bill for comparison to the number of barrels of oil produced. Theo, did you find any cooling towers on site or pipe bridges going off site?
Tom, how close are you or your associates in the construction of full scale plants? Is your organization funded by the government? JG

No cooling towers that I could see. And definitely no off site processing. It seems to be remarkably self contained.

I'm sure hope they are using flat plate heat exchangers some where. They need that sort of efficiency. The thing the that keeps striking me is the sheer size of the apparatus required to construct this thing. for just 600 barrels a day of oil.

If you did a total energy analysis I bet you'd find that the equipments costs as much to assemble and integrate as the amount of energy that is produced. This is exactly the thing that killed solar cells.

The energy pay off will require some time in the order of months.

To give people a frame of reference, a barrel of oil 'contains' about 1.5 MWh of power. The combustion engine for instance is 25%-40% efficient. So if we assume a 33% efficiency a generator will produce just 1/2 MWh from each barrel.

So a 600 barrel output means 300 MWh per day. In a 24 hr day this works out approx 10-12 MWh per hour. This after an investment of (optimistic) $10-$20 million. A 10 MW generator for instance goes for $500,000 or so.

Any time I see differences in magnitude in cost my scepticism meter flies of the scale. People just don't realize the sheer magnitudes involved.

Our oil consumption and electric power consumption is roughly 40% and 30% respectively of our total energy consumption. Our electric consumption is about 3 million megawatt hours.

TDP is not even a drop in the bucket.
Check out the links below.



I am in full agreement with most of your arguments. The 2nd web site you cited had some very good points made also.
I find the CWT managment's idea that since the venture is privately funded the public need not be concerned or informed about the results. The $5,000,000 (1/4 of the plant's estimated cost)grant MO Senator "Kit" Bond obtained from the EPA are OUR tax dollars. I think either the plant operational details should be made public or the grant money be returned. I hope Discover Magazine will be invited to revisit the site with technical help this time. What do you think? JG


We're still in the "number crunching" stage.

If it gets built, the initial unit will be built with the help of gov't funding. It's a small scale unit, which creates a whole different set of challenges.

As far as the tax dollars go, it's common for the private sector cost-sharing partner to retain rights to the IP. Presumably patents will be issued which is the most we're likely to see of it.

TDP joins the ranks of cold fusion and atomic batteries.

If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't.


The chemistry seems to be there. It remains to be seen if the engineering is there to make it practical.

I've seen technologies that look highly promising at bench scale founder for decades, for a variety of reasons.

In the absence of concrete facts about the current status of the technology, it's pointless to speculate on it's future.

RE: cold fusion...an old friend was a leading researcher at LANL on the subject. As a theoretical physicist, he's convinced a previously unknown nuclear reaction is occurring and was working on a theoretical basis for it. The whole subject has become a political hot potato in the US.


Tom McG:
The DOE has given BILLIONS of dollars to Government Labs., universities, private companies, and other groups over the past 30 years. Can you a single practical development resulting from these grants that is in use at the present?
The net energy from "cold fusion" was so small it could not be measured by most investigators and was thought to be a fluke in measuring technique or a change in ambient conditions. Your news that it is still being studied is, with out a doubt, being done via a grant from the DOE.

I have enjoyed reading all of your comments on the various aspects of TDP. I also was captivated by the Discover article and have since dug up and studies the patents and am in the proccess of designing a unique offshoot comsumer product that uses TDP technology.
I have discovered a legal loophole that would benefit the consumer and allow profitable plastic feedstock micro scale devices without violating TDP patents. Anyone want to join me in a roll of the dice? I have a business incubator site in Wisconsin and have several patents that I've turned into viable businesses.
No guts-no glory!

Wow Just like the guy who originally posted this
thread I read the same article and said WTF why is this spread all over the news like peanutbutter on G.W. Bushes balls after a night out hunting with the guys and a sixpack!

Well It is all there in the original post you morons who like to try and convince everyone that your smart just because YOU ask stupid questions and don'tb go do0 the research yourselves!

Brian Appel is my uncle by marriage and he explained it all to me last christmas.

I didn't even bother to read the rest of these posts as it was clear that most of you had porn on one side of the screen and this in a window on the other and we all know how tough it is to whack it and type at the same time, don't we?

Anyway shmucks take the half pepper out of your ass and listen.......

Y-o-u t-a-k-e 15% of whatever oil that is recycled and you feed it back into the depolymer thingy, NOT COAL, NOT NUCLEAR WASTE, AND CERTAINLY NOT YOUR YEARS SUPPLY OF PENT UP SEXUAL FRUSTRATION!!!!

THat first line should have read "why is this NOT spread all over the news"

Sorry I am only human and I don't claim to be mister smarty pants like most of you wannabes

Whoa! I think this fellows sexual frustration could supply as much energy as TDP! I wonder it could be harnessed by China,


Gas is $2.10 / gal here in California. Energy might be front page news by election time.

When you say micro - what do you have in mind? Some kind of gadget that you set on you kitchen counter and feed the milk jugs in and get gasoline out?

TDP relies on 500 psi steam and countflow heat exchange for the process and efficiency. Then you need fractional distilation for a useful output. Very tough to do on small scale.

I think if you / we want to get involved - just approach CWT and propose a joint venture. If any of this works there will be plenty of money to go around. Why fight with them?


take it easy this is just part time casual interest - nobody here really claiming much. What all did Appel tell you? Get him into this discussion and have him answer some of the questions

The device I'm designing is the size of a small microwave and uses a limited TDP process. I have contacted CWT and Appel repeatedly to no avail. They are only pursuing large scale facilities for now and see me as a distraction to their goal. Many attempts to use this kind of technology fail because they can't be scaled up economically. TDP has already been proven to work well on a micro level. I think I have found a clever way to make this a mainstream international consumer product. I can't give any more clues until I get a little farther on my prototype.

It's too bad they don't cooperate. It's expensive and time consuming to reinvent existing TDP technology. I could have a working prototype much faster with their assistance.


My dad drove a truck on the Burma Road in WWII. They had little or no fuel. The locals showed US troops how to run their trucks on local Coal. I'm not sure I have the exact details but they used the truck exhaust to cook the coal and run the trucks on the gases or whatever was driven off by the exhaust heat.

Does your table top device use steam? like TDP. What pressure, what feedstocks are you thinking?

We had big brush fires here in California last summer. The amount of energy released is significant. I always thought some process could be used to capture that energy.

It should be possible to build a lawn mower which produces gasoline - If TDP can be scaled down

The locals were using their wits. They used the exhaust to drive off the volatile short chain carbon gasses in the coal to make low tech "syngas". Then they could still burn what was left afterwards for other uses. You could easily make a lawnmower do the same if you had a local supply of coal and a way to use what's left- plus a lot of extra time on your hands and you don't mind pushing around a really clubby mower. You can bet they started buying gasoline for their cars as soon as they could.


I don't think you quite understood. I'm suggesting the lawn mower would use the clippings as feed stock for TDP reactor on the lawn mower.

On a maybe more practical matter. You did not answer my questions about your table top TDP reactor - steam? Pressure? Feedstock? - also projected cost / output rate

could whoever knows where to find an in depth overview of this revolutionary process please email me the link of website?
jimmc mcgauley UMR student

John Gasell,

Nobody that I'm aware of has attempted to make a cold fusion reactor sufficiently large or efficient to produce useful energy. All work was focused on observing and trying to understand the basic reaction.

I'm almost in agreement with you on the national labs. They've got some great facilties and excellent people, but there's no profit motive or accountability. Seemed their main organizational thrust was to team with paid-in multinationals in order to attract R&D funding from the DOE/DOD. If I'm not mistaken, they had some commercial success with cross-hole seismic tomography of oil reservoirs, which came out of their hot dry rock work. I can't recall any other successes, though there must be some. There is useful technology to be found ther, but the key is to find it and take it out of the lab as quickly as possible before it becomes a DOE/DOD program. They are not places to conduct serious engineering development. To their merit, they are dealing with some extremely difficult problems, such as dealing with the nations radioactive mixed waste and chemical warfare agent inventories. No private company will take those kinds of problems/risks on without heavy gov't funding and assurances.

However, the labs are involved in many less risky activities (eg. hot dry rock, fuel cells) that private industry can do well, albeit with gov't funding. In those areas, the nat'l labs are in direct competition with private industry who could do it a lot cheaper and deploy the technology a lot sooner. Were it up to me, I'd limit the labs scope to weapons, rad/chem demil waste, and military applications only. The DOE does do a lot of technology development funding directly with private industry without lab involvement....clean coal technologies, etc.

That private industry is in the lead on TDP is an encouraging sign.



There are two articles in La Times today by and about Paul Roberts and his book "The End of Oil"

Articles talk about Oil Peak, Plateau, Cliff. Oil going to $100 / bbl, war, collaspe etc.

TDP apparently has working full scale plant, several more "being built" Funding by DOE and Con Ag. But not a word anywhere about technical details which would allow an independant analysis to determine if TDP is going to save the world or not.

I think the Gov, energy, agricultural, waste, and banking powers that be are out there dividing up the pie.

Did you see the statement few days ago by Abraham "US won't beg OPEC" and "game changing technology"

I'm telling you something is going on. I think it is probably good news. TDP or something similar is going to make energy cheap plentiful renewable soon. At least thats what my tea leaves say.

I'm somewhat skeptical that TDP by itself is the end-all be-all way of producing energy. It seems to me that these guys aren't counting all the energy they put into operating such a plant.

I might believe that the percentages cited might, just might, represent the weight of the 'oil' substance they get out versus the weight of what they put in. However I'll guarantee that it isn't a net energy gain! In fact, after counting the energy required to build such a plant, ship feedstocks to it, operate the plant, then ship the product from the plant to market, TDP is likely to be shown as being an energy sink!

Still, if this process used the same feedstocks but used some _other_ energy source such as electricty provided from somewhere else, TDP might still be a technology worth pursuing. There is a value to producing liquid fuel or hydrocarbon chemicals even if the process consumes more energy than the resulting end product could provide.

Why you might ask? Even if we were to move to some sort of fantasy nuclear/hydrogen economy, there will still be a need for the occasional small engine or vehicle that just needs liquid fuel. Sometimes, there is just no reasonable substitute for simple containment, light weight and high energy density that can only be provided by a fuel that remains liquid at standard temp and pressure. Oh yeah, and plastics, fertilizers, and pesticides are nice to have too!

But this, of course means that we need a different source of energy to fuel the TDP process. My suggestion would be to either figure out Fusion or learn how to tap into some of the world's under utilized live volcanos!


All hydrocarbons (methane, gasoline, fuel oil, plastics etc) contain about 18,000 BTU's / lb
All Carbohydrates contain 5000 to 10,000 BTU's /lb(wood, paper, leafs, plant matter)
The output contains 85% of the BTU's of the input. 15% goes back into powering the process.

On a large scale most feedstock would end up grown for purpose plant material. Carbohydrates have a lower energy density than hydrocarbons. The $cost and energy cost of irrigating, harvesting, transporting TDP feedstock would be higher than exploring, drilling, pumping crude.

I think the overall about 25% of TDP output energy would be consumed by the process of growing, converting, refining.

Think probably less than 10% of oil output is feed back power the oil process.

The military actions needed to protect international oil trade cost money and energy. OPEC is a monopoly so we pay more than "market cost" TDP feedstock can be grown anywhere sun shines.

I think we will find that a TDP based economy does balance out and would not need to be energy subsidized from nuclear.

TDP is a form of solar energy which provides those nice easy to use, high energy density fuels which we are all used to having around.

I am pretty sure the world will not "run out of energy" there are lots of smart people and the sun provides something like 1000 times more energy to the surface of earth than we consume.

They are still working on fusion - have you seen the Z machine concept. They are very close to workable fusion reactor.

I also think solar energy could be made to produce hydrocarbon fuels directly - kind of like a solar cell that gasoline drips out of. Some kind of solar powered nano factory.

Part of our "energy problem" is the rich and powerful trying to figure out how to become even more so. Energy and banking are the two main pinch points for those guys.

We should really start thinking not in terms of energy PRODUCTION but energy STORAGE. That is, producing "energy" isn't all that hard; the trick is to bottle the stuff.

A Thermonuclear bomb releases enough energy to light up the world for months but it's a royal pain hooking it up to a dynamo. The Z-machine, mentioned above, fuses a deuterium capsule that barely covers Lincoln's nose on a penny but they still project decades before that energy can be harnessed - if ever.

TDP transforms "waste" energy into barrels of oil but it also converts solar energy into barrels of oil. Harvest a field of corn, cut down the stalks, send these through a TDP reactor and you get gasoline and diesel that you can store in a tank and use to plant another field of corn next season. The energy is "stored" and ready to use whenever we need it. Where ever we need it, in a convenient and fairly safe form (no worry about terrorists stealing our corn stalks and turning these into bombs).

If we TDP'd the entire agricultural waste generated in this country we would virtually eliminate our reliance on foreign oil. If we converted the ENTIRE bio waste produced in this country we would almost COMPLETELY remove our dependence on domestic oil, too. We produce almost twice as much energy as we need in this country; it's just that half of it goes into landfills or other "nonrecoverable" reservoirs. TDP promises to change the way we store that lost energy, to make it largely recoverable.

Just found this link on another forum:


It's a presentation about their TDP plant that CWT just gave at a Las Vegas Conference. They're claiming 500 barrels of oil per day out of Carthage and an 85% energy recovery rate (100 BTUs in, 85 BTUs out less the 15 BTUs to run the plant).

Good job Orion thanks for checking

I just finished reading - have not yet followed the links

I'm telling you CTW has this thing nailed

OPEC better figure something to do with their sand because their oil is not going to be worth much soon.

I don't know if they got their estimates right but if what they claim is right TDP will produce 2 or 3 time more oil than US now uses just processing solid Ag waste. Energy problem solved! We can start pumping oil back into the ground to get rid of CO2.

Gasoline will be less than a buck within 5 years. No more land fill, no more green house gases.

TDP problably makes food cheaper because waste stream is handled cheaper and free energy is more less a by product. Can you imagine gas pump kind of like drinking fountain in the park

Cheap energy = high living standard.

Bring the troops home - put them to work building TDP plants.

Lets get TDP off TDC - lets email everyone in congress, news media, and anyone who deals with Ag waste. Once the public knows this option is avaliable, the pressure will be unstoppable.

Have either candiates addressed this - they should

It will, of course, take longer than 5 years for this technology to take off. CWT plans on licensing 5 plants per year but that doesn't mean 5 plants will be *built* per year. Even if the Carthage plant were so standardized it could be cloned it takes ~2 years from ground breaking to bring such a facility online (the Carthage plant took 3 years). The facility they're building in Philadelphia probably won't be completed until fall of 2006 and then it will be another couple of months to work out the bugs.

Optimistically, I don't see these plants producing a measurable fraction of US energy until 2010 at the very earliest. It would take a "race to the Moon" style effort by the US government to complete the conversion before 2025. We'll still need to invest in other forms of energy production even after we fully utilize this technology because our energy requirements are still growing and will probably double over that period of time. But it's a good start.

John G if you are still around have you taken a look at the latest paper presented by CWT @ Vegas.

Heres the link below.

There is some detailed stuff in there. Certainly more than we have seen so far. I see the stamp of Terry Adams in this paper even if Brian Appel is mentioned as an author.


Did I read Orion's link that Ag waste would produce about 3 times more oil than we now consume?

Maybe an energy manhatan project is in order. Oil shortages and prices swings have caused inflation, recession, unemployment, and probably war.

What would it cost? The Carthage plant cost $20M and produces 500 bbl/ day worth say $30 / bbl (it is actually more now) = $15,000 / day * 365 = $5.5M / year. Not bad for the first try. Bigger plants would be more economical. You would start having an impact on prices once production hits about 1M bbl/ day. I figure 1Mbbl/day would cost $20M x 2000 / 2 = $20 Billion. US oil demand is now 20Mbbl/day. So that would only cost $400B. The US economy is $12 Trillion / yr. We could make the switch in 3 years. One year to decide, two years to do it.

It could be done privately if US government garanteed they would keep out oil priced below say $25 / bbl. OPEC would try to yo yo prices to kill TDP once they understand the threat.

Just let our oil companies get together with agribusiness and stand back.

I mean how long did it really take to see VCR's PC's, Cell Phones everywhere. Same thing.

Not only do we get cheap energy, we get rid of the waste. Envornmentalists and NASCAR teams will all push for this.

Make sure we have a long term energy supply then get on with space travel.

It would take 40.000 "Carthage-class" TDP plants to replace our current 20MBbl/day oil demand, even assuming we could magically redirect our waste stream into them. I just don't see that happening in 3 years or even 10 years. You can say, "scale them up" but the savings over a standardized 500B/day design isn't all that great. The "biggest" TDP plant they'll ever produce would probably yield ~2000 Bbl/day. It's a matter of transporting enough waste to the plant to keep it running at full capacity 24/7.

Yes, Theo Asir!

I am still around and I did read the CWT paper presented at Las Vegas. Dr. Adams was factual to a great extent but a few things troubled me.

1. The raw material input was noted as poultry offal AND GREASE. In an earlier e-mail from Dr. Adams he stated used cooking oil was also used. This could make a big difference in the energy calculations. Also used cooking oil has a commercial value of about 40 cents a gallon or about $17 a barrel.
2. In the same e-mail from Dr Adams, he stated the overall efficiency of TDP was about the same as conventional rendering plants.
3. The initial cost and operational cost of a TDP plant compared to conventional plants were not covered.
4. Some advantages of TDP were mentioned including odor elimination but your own nose has a different opinion.
I Conclude by stating the process would probably not be economically feasible with out considerable taxpayer subsidies and government mandates. Even with these incentives the total production of oils from animal waste would not alter by one ounce our dependence on foreign oil. To cut down on oil imports we need to cease foolish “energy crop” conversions to ethanol and methyl-ester along with the elimination of obscene 350 HP monsters called SUVs. Ethanol adds about 10% to our fuel cost for the same Btu. TDP might well add an equal amount to the cost of a Thanksgiving bird.

There are 144 operating refineries in US with an average capacity of 116,000 bpd. I believe most are located on the coasts for transportation.

TDP plants should be located where ag waste is generated. I'm sure plants larger than 2000 bpd would be used.

I don't know the most economical size but more small plants have the advantage of less transportation and ability to taylor the process to the feedstock. Once converted to oil or gasoline, the output can be piped in the existing pipeline infrasture.

The larger plants will cost less per unit of output. A 100,000 bpd TDP plant might only cost 25 or 50 times more than the 500 bpd plant.

The exact size and number of plants is not the issue. The fact is it would take a very small percent of just one year US GDP to build all the necessary plants and by so doing insulate the rest of the economy from energy shortages.

Its a no brainer if those CWT papers are close to accurate.

I Like my SUV's thank you very much. Performance engines start at 500 HP these days. With TDP based economy, the net effect of "burning gas" is the same as the sun's light just hitting the earth. It is just solar energy based system with plenty of energy for very high standard of living


Several things struck me about the paper above.

The charts on page 8 were a mine of information.

First with regard to the energy balance 3.6 tons of Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) is required per day. Sulphuric Acid has cost of energy to manufacture. I see no reference to that.

Very casually at the bottom of the list a line item is placed stating that 1 TPD of Ammonia is required. Ammonia is easily one of the most energy intensive material produced. That 1 TPD of Ammonia has an content of at least 40 MM Btu. So that is an additional 2 BTU/hour at least.

Ammonia at present is manufactured from Methane i.e Natural gas. With the price of Natural gas being what it is now that may not be good source for the future.

The sheer amount of water needed is also surprising. Though it does generate its own distilled water, there is a mismatch of about 30 TPD that will have to be made up. That works out to about 10,000 gallons per day or 20 Gallons per barrel.

So much for processing shale oil/kerogen.

A need for 8.2 TPD of minerals is stated. Is it the same as the 8.2 TPD of dry minerals that are indicated as one of the out puts? I suspect not for they have been selling us on all the wonderful minerals the process produces as a by product.

In terms of byproducts the one that caught my eye was 33.6 TPD of water contaminated with Glycerol and Ammonium Sulphate. While Glycerol is relatively benign it can not be 'dumped' as it is one of the chemicals that causes the foaming river syndrome.

Ammonium Sulphate is worse. Heres the MSDS on it.
It is one of those chemicals that causes algal blooms and salts to destroy the soil. You can not dump this.

Can you process it in conventional sewage treatment plants?
I don't know.

Now the process itself seems fairly straight word. They do seem to have spent the time to iron out the scaling kinks.

The big assumption the confuses me is the Approx 30 MM BTU per ton of offal. Most data I have seen have a value of around 10-15 MM BTU per ton. A ton of oil by contrast has around 35-40 MM BTU. Are they saying that a turkey with all its gristle and bones and feathers and what not has the same BTU / ton value as petroleum. Some thin confusing about that entire calculation.

Another thing. So far the number has always been 200 tons of offal produces 600 barrels of crude. For the first time we are seeing 92.9 tons of offal 500 Barrels of crude. Or are they saying that 60 % of their offal is water, which is not the value most labs use to estimate it, and will definitely reduce their BTU per ton value drastically.

Another thing that scares me is the rather liberal use of H2SO4. If you look at their flow chart it is introduced at multiple stages before final out put. There is almost no sulphur in their mineral out put. So all that sulphur has to go somewhere. True the ammonium sulphate will remove a lot of it (which creates its own problems) but then it is also introduced into the final stages. No doubt the oil and the gas will be of the 'Sweet' variety. Not exactly appetizing when the current move is away from High Sulphur Crudes.

These are just a few interesting points I noted. No doubt others will do a more serious and detailed analysis.


I don't think Ammonia is added to the feedstock but simply is found in the decaying body parts. It's just how they broke down the composition. There may be some disinguity in that they have to "wet" the feedstock as part of the grinding process to a particular moisture level before it goes into the 1st stage processor.

While we're on the subject, the energy used to grind the feedstock doesn't appear to be part of the energy equation diagram, unless it's "assumed" within the 1st stage processing. Electric grinders don't run on fairy dust: That power has to be factored into the equation, too.

Water balance:

Water in (as part of feedstock): 108.6 T/day

Water out:

Distilled Water: 79.7
Water + Glycerol + (NH4)2SO4: 33.6
Water vapor: 8.2
121.5 T/day

They don't say how much Glycerol + NH4(204) is produced but I'd say it was likely ~ 12.7T/day. If you weigh the feedstock + Hydrogen Sulphate and compare this to the weight of the output it works out about the same so conservation laws aren't being broken.

TDP-40 is reported as "sulphur free" elsewhere so they are claiming all the sulpher comes out in the Ammonium Sulphate. The other name for Ammonium Sulphate is "fertilizer", incidently. I think they plan on selling this, not sending it to a wastewater plant. Same for the glycerol.

The way I read it is all output is either usable, valuable commodity or water clean enough for sewer discharge.

The electric power could either come from the power company or be generated on site using the produced gas in the same way the process steam is produced by burning the produced gas.

Reading between the lines I think CTW is trying to say that TDP plants can be built in such a way as to be completely self suficient. If no outside energy were used, 15% of energy input would be used to power the process.

The only thing not well explained is the H2SO4 input. I suspect that could also be produced on site from the outputs but it is probably not being done that way in the relatively small scale Carthage plant.

In CTW FAQ they say plant economics is considered proprietary. I could not find links to the papers we are discussing on the site. You have to kind of back into them from

CTW seems to be building 5 more plants - probably bigger as we speak. I have not heard or seen that they are raising money or trying to raise money. That means insiders are funding the next plants.

There was $65 Million dollars for TDP in the Energy bill that failed in Congress last November so the Feds are subsidizing these plants (or they plan to). The EPA has been struggling for ~10 years to come up with something to do with Municipal Sewage Waste: The Clean Water Act signed back in '92 (?) mandated that coastal cities stop dumping their sewage in the open ocean so they've been trucking it inland and the EPA has been trying to convince the communities receiving this that it's good for them.

In point of fact that "bio-waste" (the EPA doesn't like to call it "sludge" anymore) is contaminated with heavy metals, organic acids, bacteria, and viruses even after conventional treatment. The towns and farms this is being used as fertilizer in are seeing spikes in diseased animals and human cancers and they're starting to figure this out for themselves. They're just about to stop accepting the stuff so EPA has to find something else to do with it.

TDP is just what the doctor ordered. Instead of trucking their sludge inland the coastals can process it for fuel and inorganic fertilizer to use locally. Philadelphia has already signed on to build a plant and EPA would love for LA, New York, Boston, Miami, etc., to sign on as well.

If anyone felt that I was trying to discredit CWT's data I apologize. That is not my aim.

Most discussion on this site has swirled around whether TDP is a fundamentally new process the can can break our dependence on fossil oil. For this the process economics, scalability and operational/feedstock flexibility a vital issues.

No one doubts that they can do what they claim to do. The critical point is whether a grass roots process can be built to support this system. Remember, when ever this thing starts getting rolled out, refinery like things are going to be poping up around the country in your town and mine. Last I looked refineries were NOT welcome in most places due to pollution, danger, regulation and local opposition. In fact the regulatory cost for new refineries is so punitive (2-3 billion dollar range) that for over 20 years the industry has not had a single green field project. Eventually it will be up to you and I to vote for and help convince society on the need for this. This is NOT a fast process. This is why it is vital that we take the time to figure it out. No doubt if the people of Carthage MO knew that there was an oil refinery in their down town area near their bread and butter food processing factories their regulatory and NIMBY reaction would be very different. I think so far everyone has given CWT the benefit of the doubt but sooner or later they have to take the public into confidence.

That is why analysing and peer reviewing CWT's papers is so important. Cos it sure is not being done in the conventional scientific circles. This blog is the only venue, among other similar ones, where this is being done.

We have already discussed the confusion over CWT's many differing data sets. As each new line of data comes in my unease grows. It seems there is a lot they are not telling us.

Ammonium sulphate may be a fertilizer but that is in the granular form. How do you seperate the glycerol and get rid of the water? From my site report you can see that they do not have any containment ponds so they have to be dumping it some where. I don't believe it is being trucked out and even if it was the truck would have to dump it somewhere. I don't think there is a down stream processing facility for these products yet. Remember by their estimate they produce 10,000 tons of this stuff a month.

As John G has pointed out there is already a rendering process that converts this stuff to end products. There is also the bio deisel process that converts kitchen oil waste to a fuel.

There is still much confusion over their input products energy value and with some of their assumptions. A calculation of life cycle costs also would help.

Theo, I didn't think you were trying to discredit CWT: as you say there's a great deal of confusion about what they're doing, yes. We're all grabbing different parts of the elephant and I don't even want to THINK about what part I'm holding on to.

As for the Ammonium sulphate mixture, I wonder if it has to be separated out. It can be applied dry but it can also be mixed and sprayed over fields in a liquid form. See http://www.fcs.uk.com/sprayapplication.htm for an example. Glycerol is nothing: it's not particularly toxic and could be evaporated out of the mixture or ignored, depending on if it was valuable enough to harvest. My point is that this "waste stream" would probably go to a chemical plant rather than a wastewater plant for processing.

Good point about the NIMBYs but there's one major difference between an oil refinery and a TDP plant: No permits. That is, these do not discharge hazardous chemicals in solid, liquid, or vaporous forms. The only real "waste" they have is distilled water: everything else gets trucked off to be reused. Oil refineries have to deal with a smorgasborg of hazardous chemicals in their waste stream so there's a long, arduous permitting process with multiple points for public comment and criticism. You could build a TDP processor onsite at a municipal sewage treatment plant and no one would even know it was there - except that they stop trucking hazardous sludge to landfills afterwards.

I've been following the discussion on eco-weenie websites and mailing lists and as soon as someone explains the whole carbon-cycle thing they seem to buy into it. Currently we pump about one cubic *mile* of oil out of the ground every year and that's what's causing the CO2 level to rise: the plants can't quite keep up with it. Reduce the amount of new carbon in the ecosystem and we'll strike a balance again. Anyway, if we can get that point across to them the NIMBYism shouldn't be much of a problem.

If TDP works more or less "as advertized", It is really almost too good to be true.

People talk about oil peak then rapid decent into economic chaos and the new dark age. On the way into that dark age we are choking and stewing in our own waste.

TDP solves arguably the three biggest challanges humanity faces:
1...Supply of cheap, inexhaustable, transportable, storable energy / chemical feedstock.
2...Gets rid of our entire waste stream
3...Balances green house gases - CO2 and methane

It also takes the edge off international relations by assuring all people that a critical resource will not be fought over.

I think we can all agree that the Gov has squandered billions on energy research. They have correctly identified this issue as key critical. Here we have the the prooven solution starring us in the face and nobody moves.

Maybe this threatens too many established interests. Do cancer researchers really want a cure for cancer?

Do the oil companies want to see the value of their refineries go to scrap price. The shipping companies that move the crude. Energy R&D related Labs and business. The OPEC countries. Maybe even the military would loose a major task. Even the environmental weenies won't have any reason to complain, and protest in the street. The seirra club won't be able to raise money any more. On and On.

Somebody needs to stand up and cut throught the crap and do what needs to be done. This should be first national priority. Their should be a cabnet level position - "Director of TDP Rollout"

We can't let this be bought out and buried or otherwise hijacked.

How about we put together a web site and start to email congress, government, media, industry.

The purpose is to verify the technology and the economics and to facilitate and accelerate the rollout.

I will regester a new web site and put up some preliminary info. I'm not sure exactly what the format should be. Anybody want to help?

jet at directmotion dot com

Upon close scrutiny, I believe we already have a “Director of TDP Rollout”. They already have one hand in our uncle’s pocket and the other in the firm grip of state politicians, ex federal cabinet appointees, and retired bureaucrats. None of these folks have a technical background worthy of mentioning yet qualify for management’s “experts” section of their site. The EPA has given a $5MM grant from taxpayer proceeds and with more sure to follow.
Next month the Carthgage MO plant will have been in the start up phase for about a year with the results published in a paper by a qualified scientist. Some of the content was misleading to a degree and other elements not explained. I do not see any thing unusual in this as it often takes several years for a process to prove economical or a waste of investors and/or taxpayer funds. In any event the testing should be done at the expense of the owners with out taxpayer assistance. Once the bugs are worked out the process will either be competitive with conventional rendering plants or it will not. Most of us do not favor any more taxpayer supported corn and soybean energy break through technology. I’m afraid TDP is heading that way.

According to this paper:


They report they've achieved full production of 200T of feedstock per day with a yield of 500bbl/day + fertilizer and minerals. It remains to be seen if this statement is true and if it's a sustainable throughput, yes. I think that at this point ConAgra would be pulling the plug if the plant wasn't already fully operational; they've already taken an extra 6 months to shake out the bugs and begin production.

ConAgra is going ahead with the plants at their other sites, which is an encouraging sign.


Article says Kerry will win 04 with manhatten project alternative energy program to solve the energy / environmental / middle east problems.

No mention of TDP but indicates those at the top think these are just technical / engineering issues with many possible solutions. Only requires a real national effort.

I tend to agree that if this problem could be solved with TDP there are several workable solutions. TDP is basicly solar energy.

Maybe the problem does not even need gov help. Maybe private enterprize would / will do it once the economics are right - when there is no spare oil capacity and oil prices can not be used to get rid of alternatives.

Well, the problem is that by the time it becomes "economically feasible" to invest in alternative energy, you haven't got enough "primary energy" left to avoid the crash. Oil production is projected to peak in the next 35 years and decline precipitously after that; oil demand is 20Mbbl/day today and rising sharply. Private industry tends to look no further than the next quarterly report. It's going to take some impetus, aka "a good sharp kick" from the Federal government to encourage private industry to come up with the solution before oil goes to $100/bbl.

As for Kerry's "manhatten project" I have no faith in this at all. Historically Democrats have talked a lot about energy indpependence but their plans always seem to amount to, "cut the thermostate to 68 in the winter and raise it to 78 in the summer. Wear a sweater if you're cold."


Historical oil price trends indicate very moderate price flucuations over past 30 years and no long term upward price trends.

No private money would invest in any energy project based on energy prices above $20 / bbl. Such a project must also be able to withstand 2 year flucuations to say $10 / bbl.

No one has a crystal ball but what period do you estimate that oil prices will go from $20 / bbl to $100 / bbl assuming no centrally planned action. Also assuming no WWIII and no coordinated OPEC actions.

From what I have read and seen I think oil prices could go from $20 to $100 starting in 2010, hitting $100 in 2015. These are predictions in constant 2004 dollars. There would also in all kinds of economic chaos, hyperinflation, depression all possible and likely. Western economies trend toward 3rd world. 3rd world die off.

If the world starts a planned transistion to TDP, no one will notice. Economic growth will continue, high standard of living will expand to what is now 3 rd world. Humans will put settlements on the moon and mars etc etc. Terrorism will loose support as well being spreads and US no longer has alterior motive for mid east.

Like Orion implies, once the downward spiral starts, it may be impossible to stop.

What I propose is a web site to draw attention to the situation and to evaluate then promote TDP as a/the solution.

My personal motivation is I don't want to live in a world running out of energy. I also don't think fiddling with thermostats and being uncomfortable is any kind of solution.

At the moment, I have no personal or financial interest in TDP. If I start the web site I guess I should not be directly involved with any TDP work or investments.

Democrats and Republicans can share in the energy policy failures. The gov has been successful in organizing other large scale activites which could never be left to business - military, roads, education, social security etc etc.

Under the circumstances gov will be required in this effort and will be major target of web site and related email efforts. Past failure does not imply gov can not help. There is still time.

If CWT proves itself, there are ways that this technology could be implemented very quickly. While I believe that government run projects are almost inherently wasteful and ineffective, it is also true that the government has resources and powers not associated with the normal implementation of a new technology. If this technology proves itself not only as a reasonably cost efficient method of disposing of slaughterhouse waste, but as a less expensive source of oil, then I can see Congress jumping in with both feet. They will express interest for both noble and base motives. Much of the tread of this blog can explain the noble motives. Stable oil prices set at a point lower than current prices would be a very good thing, as would the clean disposal of much of America’s waste. On the less noble side, building a few thousand plants would be an even larger jobs program than a pork filled roads bill. Properly harnessed, this project could actually benefit most of the public, not something that can be said of most pork projects. Assuming that the TDP process can prove itself as being a public good, there are a number of things I think that the government could do which would speed things along.

1.Provide or guarantee low interest loans for plant construction.
2.Simplify licensing and other red tape procedures for plant approval
3.Lease or sell government land for plant construction (people will not want a plant in their back yard, the government owns lots of land with few neighbors)
4.Guarantee oil prices at a reasonable level. Assuming that the plants could be profitable with oil at for example $20/bl, state that any oil imported for less than $20 will have a tariff bringing it’s price up to this hypothetical level. This price would float with inflation. This would place a floor on oil prices which would prevent oil producers running CWT out of business but would still allow oil prices to fall substantially.
5.Loosen up restrictions preventing the building of more oil refineries.
6.Get rid of the ethanol subsidy.
7.Phase out agricultural subsidies to farmers not to plant
8.Use TDP plants to dispose of government controlled waste streams such as sewage sludge and municipal waste.
9.Last but not least, politicians and the government can be very effective in getting the public in favor of things. If the public sees this process in a favorable light, they are less likely to be upset when a plant is to be built near their home. It is likely that a TDP plant would be a better neighbor than a landfill or a refinery. It could easily however be seen in the same light, making it a very unpopular future neighbor and making construction very difficult. Good PR is vital to avoiding many problems.

We can debate which if any of these nine are a good idea. I can’t think of any additional things that government could do which would not cause more harm than good.

Let the game begin.


Welcome back.

Do you support my idea for a web site and would you assist in putting it together?

I will pay for registration of name and yearly fee. I can have the layout professionally done. My company has good web site. We also know how to get noticed by the search engines.

I generally agree with your points. Gov employees don't get their hands dirty much.
There are couple of other things gov could do.

I now live in Southern California but I grew up in Wash DC and worked for FERC as an engineer for 3 years in early 80's I kind of know how things work there.

I think we might find people in DOE who could do a technical review. Dept of Ag could probably verify feedstock numbers.

We might also press for some action on patent rights. I'm not sure exactly what might be appropriate but we do not want patent rights to slow or stop this.

I have a patent lawyer who I will ask.


email to congress is easy. Once we get a site up, point each member of congress to the site and ask them to make a statement and so on. The first official statement is the most important. I don't think any elected official has made a statement about TDP except maybe in Missouri

Before we do anything we need a strategy.

Anybody think a TDP web site is a bad idea? Why?

OK, let's discuss:

1.Provide or guarantee low interest loans for plant construction.

If the Carthage plant can be shown by the end of the year to be both productive 24/7 and profitable I don't think that will be necessary. The coastal cities have a *huge* incentive to change how they process Municiple Solid Waste: The Clean Water Act ended the practice of offshore sludge dumping and they've been trucking it inland ever since, at great expense, to be spread over fields. Unfortunately even treated sludge has unacceptable levels of heavy metals, bacteria, and viruses in it and the farmers are starting to get wise.

TDP changes the waste stream into recyclables and inorganic fertilizer which can be processed locally. MSW becomes a profitable income stream and benefit if TDP works. Philadelphia is first in line; the other cities will be watching closely to see how they do.

#1 I think the Carthage plant is already at full production and could be used to verify every aspect technically and economically. The released documents while interesting, stop short of drawing the necessary conclussions. An independent accessment is needed. We also need a realistic analysis of when the "oil peak" will occur. If OP is 25 years off - no big deal take your time on all of this. If it is 7 years off we better get to it.

#2 It may seem that the way has been cleared to "make things easy" What I am thinking is creating public support and the local pull needed to start local discussion and planning. To do this awareness needs to be raised.

#3 Probably true but how many landfile opperators know anything about TDP. Again needs awareness.

#4 Peak Oil could be 7 years away but there could still be 2 year price swings which could delay things till we really are out of time. Why take the chance. A $20 floor is a polical problem.

#5 This is a subject which has been mushed by CWT. Does TDP need refineries or is this part of the process? I think CTW is affraid of the oil industry. They claim $2 gas here is california is due to refinery capacity not oil price or supply. We need definative statement out of CTW on the subject of refineries. If we are going to shift to TDP lets not build any un needed oil infrastructure.

#6 Ethanol is minor pork barrel issue like all the others. Completely seperate issue

#7 I think TDP will provide the low price energy and waste disposal to support next jump in living standards world wide. Farm subsidies are probably a symptom of broader economic forces which TDP will affect.

#8 Is TDP primarily energy production or waste disposal. My feeling is the energy producttion is more pressing emergency. We could probably keep doing land fill for hundreds of years if necessary but if we run out of fuel we are done for. We should not rely on waste disposal arguments to solve the energy problem.

Do I read the CTW papers correctly that processing AG waste will supply 100% our energy needs?

#9 Are we saying the democrates and republicans hate each other so much they would drag the world into a new dark age just to spite each other? Maybe a polically neutral web site might allow cooperation on this issue.


Some of the contributors to this blog are becoming dangerously close to reality. The idea of contacting local, state and federal legislators, renewable energy zars, and pseudo scientist regarding energy myths are bound to be met with collective silence.
Ask your government representatives if they would support regulations ending corn and soybeans subsidies used for fuel crops and require energy used in the growing and harvesting these crops be limited to the fuel derived from them.
Regarding TPD. This is a golden opportunity for the CWT principals to convert the existing 85% energy efficient Carthage MO plant into a combined cycle generating plant for powering or supplementing the ConAgra turkey processing plant’s energy requirements.
Implementing these steps means the petroleum diverted from fuel crops will decrease the dependence on imported oil and will decrease the price at the pump. With out ethanol one can expect more than 10% more miles per gallon. You federal income tax will decrease 25 cents per gallon by not using ethanol.
Grain used for turkey feed would also drop. The decrease in feed cost together with cheaper self generated on site electrical and steam heat should drop the price of turkey at the market.
My hope is you will take a moment to e-mail the principles noted above for answers to questions dealing with the real world. My guess is your efforts will be ignored. In the unlikely event some one gets a reply I am sure the rest of us would be interested

Jet, I hope your idea of a web page works out. This blog has brought together a large number of people with a wide range of interests. If we were seen as a neutral third party composed of both skeptics and advocates, we could be useful in evaluating the true potential of the TDP technology. If it proves out, I would like it to grow explosively. Even geometric or exponential growth would delay the major benefits for several years. The time from site selection to start of full production is probably from two to three years. In order to make a significant difference there need to be hundreds, perhaps thousands of plants. Without a major push, it seems unlikely that this can be accomplished in less than a decade. I for one do not want to wait.

Since there has now been at least a start on a counter argument, here is my reasoning in favor.

1.Provide or guarantee low interest loans for plant construction.

CWT has stated their intention to license their technology to third parties. I would expect that the initial uses of TDP would be the disposal of existing major waste streams. Communities wishing to switch over to TDP based waste disposal will require many millions to make the change. There is still a lot of work to be done before TDP can be used to replace landfill. Both of these will require lots of money and will take a lot of time to turn a profit, if they ever do. TDP may prove cheaper and better than other disposal methods and still not turn a profit when run by government. This is not to say it should not be done anyway. Cheap clean disposal of organic waste is a good thing, even if it isn’t a good way to make a fortune.

2.Simplify licensing and other red tape procedures for plant approval

There is a great difference between allowing and encouraging. bureaucratic red tape can be used to slow down and prevent things which are in the peoples best interest. The last thing that many bureaucrat and leaders in the environmental movement would really want is a technology which cleans up the environment, keeps industry running, and provides fuel to keep cars on the road. The phrase “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. If steps can be taken before people more interested in personal power than the goals they pretend to work for can become scared, they can be prevented from doing much damage.

3.Lease or sell government land for plant construction (people will not want a plant in their back yard, the government owns lots of land with few neighbors)

While building TDP plants near the sources of their inputs is ideal, it is not always going to be practical. This will be especially true when the plants are built to handle agricultural waste. Central locations will be needed to handle this waste and likely to store it. Much agricultural waste is generated seasonally, running a plant only during harvest season would not be very cost effective. Many plants will need large storage locations to pile chaff and other dry or damp agricultural wastes. While the process itself is claimed to be free of objectionable odors, these storage locations can be expected to be very unpleasant.

4.Guarantee oil prices at a reasonable level. Assuming that the plants could be profitable with oil at for example $20/bl, state that any oil imported for less than $20 will have a tariff bringing it’s price up to this hypothetical level. This price would float with inflation. This would place a floor on oil prices which would prevent oil producers running CWT out of business but would still allow oil prices to fall substantially.

Oil prices are artificially high. If free market forces were in play, the price of oil would be under $20/brl. Producers are not pumping all that they can produce and have not been working to expand capacity. If producers knew that TDP was going to go online in say five years, they would manipulate oil prices to try to drive companies using the technology out of business. They could drop oil prices to $10/brl on the day many plants go on line. There are a lot of people making a lot of money based on high fuel costs, these people are not going to be very happy about the introduction of true completion.

5.Loosen up restrictions preventing the building of more oil refineries.

While it is not illegal or impossible to build new refineries, it is the nest best thing. The US is importing refined oil, we do not have enough refinery capacity to handle normal demand. This is while the demand for gasoline and other products is increasing every year. Auctioning off pre-approved sites to oil companies would be one solution. Have the government use its resources to find good locations for new refineries, approve them, and then have oil companies pay for the privilege to using these pre-approved sites. No lawsuits, no endless paperwork, just an open bid process. You could even open the bid to environmental groups wishing to stop the plant build. Let them pay rather than us taxpayers.

6.Get rid of the ethanol subsidy.

Yes, I know, getting rid of a temporary government program is a bit of a pipe dream. I kind of hope that substituting TDP for a pork program would go over well with most farmers. If TDP works as advertised, it will do more to increase farm profitability than any subsidy program.

7.Phase out agricultural subsidies to farmers not to plant

Same as 6, I can dream and I prefer to dream big.

8.Use TDP plants to dispose of government controlled waste streams such as sewage sludge and municipal waste.

Lets do it fast, I don’t want to wait.

9.Last but not least, politicians and the government can be very effective in getting the public in favor of things.

Personally, I tend to be a rabid free market Republican. If it works, TDP should accomplish many of the goals both sides claim to want. Republicans claim to want the efficient use of taxpayer money with as little spent as possible on social and other unconstitutional programs. They believe in free markets and less intrusive government. Democrats claim to want a clean environment and an end to poverty. TDP may grant these wishes. Stable, low energy costs would be great for business. New jobs in the TDP industry would get more people off the dole and into jobs. A clean efficient method of waste disposal which makes money would allow the shrinkage of the EPA and for CAFÉ standards to be revoked. Oh happy days. For the Democrats, TDP cleans up the environment, cuts CO2 emissions and provides more jobs. Sounds like a win-win to me. Some diehards & hypocrites on both sides are sure to go down fighting such a technology with their last breath. I would love to be proven wrong, but I think that any organized resistance is likely to come from the left. TDP is likely to do too good a job of offering solutions. Especially when those solutions do not come from the government. I hope that the people who really care more for the environment than they do for socialism and anti-capitalism can control their leaders.

Politically, I think that Bush could make a lot of points with supporting this process. I fear that Orian is correct in how the debate will be coached. I would like both parties to treat this process with skeptical interest. If it is as advertised, both should embrace it as being good for our country and save the politics for convincing the public that their ideas are better for the country.

I am getting closer to buying a domain name.

I think the site should complement this blog rather than replace it. I think the site should be used to collect, distill, and present information on TDP.

I think that rather than personal opinions, there should be some method to reach a consensus about what gets put on the site. I think the discussion should be private with access by passwords.

There should be provision for elected officials, senior oil industry people, CWT and conag people, major environmental groups, and senior financial people to make official comments.

TDP is an international issue and efforts should be made to contact people in other countries.

My inclination is to encourage TDP adoption until proven otherwise. There is just about enough info and evidence at least for me.

With that said there are still unanswered questions about overall economics and we should make every effort to formulate questions and get answers. The unanswered questions should be on the site as such.

Anyone interested in contributing should contact me James Trounson jet at directmotion dot com.

Everyone involved will need to provide a resume - In private - including me. My background is 4 year mechanical engineering degree from McGill 1974. Several years experience in process industries. Last 20 years I have run my own small business which does PC Based industrial automation. I have no financial interest in TDP.

Again any good reasons not to do a web site? Other than I won't get any response.

If I put this site up, it will have an effect.

Published by exxon feb 04 is very complete and understandable summary of the world energy situation. Before anybody writes anything else here you need to read this. There is no mention of TDP but biomass is addressed

These sites look interesting but I have not studied them.

Nobody has emailed me yet to be involved with TDP web site.


Just out of curiosity, what is the reason for requiring the submission of a resume in order to participate in the discussion on your proposed TDP website? Will you be limiting the discussion to technical folks? Or just to people with college educations? What if there's a gap in a candidate's employment record?

This will be your website, of course, and you can set the criteria however you darn well please, but I would caution you against limiting your knowledge pool based on "book learning". This technology has ramifications far beyond those quantifiable by simply crunching numbers. I would urge you to consider academic/professional credentials as only a small factor in determining who participates and who doesn't. I'll refer you to some of the instances of Dueling Slide Rules earlier in this blog as an example of what can happen to a discussion when you have too many participants cut from the same cloth.


A resume would allow people to get to know each other and avoid obvious conflicts of interest. It is not intended to exclude anyone.

Even people with conflicts of interest are welcome so long as we know.

I want the trueth - Does TDP offer an energy alternative and other benefits.

If so I want the information in the right hands.

If not - I will put that on the site.

On my Mar 26 post, I referenced an article about Kerry and energy. I tracked the author down. He was unaware of TDP and thanked me. Who knows what he will do now.

I need help with research, presentation, and communications. One of those last web sites I referenced is getting 20,000 hits per month.

this blog comes up first when thermaldepolymerization is typed into yahoo

Hopefully my site will come up 2nd

I have had two contacts regarding a site so far.

Of the 500 bbl/day, how much biodiesel fuel can be produced per barrel?

While TDP will help our waste problem and produce oil, how do we really get it to market? The problem is the fact that there are 200 million vehicles out there running on gasoline. Our waste, sewage, agriculture residues, and energy crops can supply the energy needs for this country. The big solution is how to evoke this change.

First, we need more efficient vehicles. The hybrid engine is the future to achieve this goal. (Sorry Mr. Bush, hydrogen is not the answer for vehicles.) The second component is the use of biodiesel engines. There has to be an end to the internal combustion engine. The turnover will take at least 12-15 years because people will resist change and hold their cars longer than usual.

We already have refineries that can be retrofitted to convert TDP oil into biodiesel fuel. Also, any excess gas produced by TDP can run a generator to produce electricity to be sent into the grid.

The TDP process can help are society begin to solve some of its problems if it is allowed. Remember, those in charge want to stay in charge. Those in charge never welcome change. The Reagan administration scrapped all renewable programs and set our nation’s energy policy based upon the oil industry. Twenty-three years later, the same people (and the disciples) are in the White House.


Some facts to chew on,
1. Diesel engines are internal combustion engines. The difference between a diesel engine and a gasoline engine is primarily that that the larger carbon chain molecules making up diesel are ignited using the compression heat produced in the engine cylinder rather than by a sparkplug. Diesel has more energy per gallon than gasoline and thus gives greater gas mileage (other features of the engine design also play a role but my understanding is that this is the primary factor for the fuel economy difference). The downside is that much more particulate exhaust is produced and emission control is much more difficult.
2. The oil produced in the TDP process can most likely be cracked for use in gasoline engines. Convincing the public to switch over to diesel from gasoline in the short term would be impractical. Diesel cars have thus far proved very unpopular in the US, many had a bad experience when they were first introduced.
3. Electricity produced using oil or natural gas is primarily used to meet peak demand. Coal, hydro, and nuclear power is used to meet the base demand. Oil & gas tend to be an expensive source of electricity.
4. Thus far, alternative energy sources have been very impractical. The programs you complain about Regan cutting were set up in response to an artificially created oil crisis prior to his being in office. Large amounts of tax money were being thrown at projects unlikely to ever become practical. Until the science and the engineering problems have been worked out, it is impractical and wasteful to subsidize the construction of production units which will never be able to compete with other sources of power. If you visit CA you can find hundreds of windmills built during the 70’s which never produced much power and produced that power at a significantly higher cost than even that using natural gas. Basic research and much development has continued on alternative energy sources, much of it still financed through the energy department.
5. It really isn’t helpful to go off on a political rant. People from all parts of the political spectrum can see problems with our energy dependence on oil and can contribute to finding a solution to this problem.

My background is as an electrical engineer in the automotive industry. I have had a strong interest in various technologies and in their potential economic impact for a number of years. Thus far, TDP is the first alternative source of energy that I have read about which may prove practical outside a very narrow niche market. I hope that it proves as good as advertised.

Here is another possible alt energy
In summary IBM has new way to create very thin, very inexpensive semiconducting film on cheap substraights like plastic and glass. About 1/2 way thru the article they claim this will result in very cheap solar cells.

All alternatives to date have not been financially competitive with fossile fuels. Another way understand energy economics is the amount of energy required to create the device which will then "supply energy"

I read somewhere that the amount of energy required to produce the steel used to build a windmill is just about the same as the amount of energy produced by the windmill over it's life.

In order to produce high standard of living, I think no more than about 25% of the energy output from a system could be used in its own production (that is just a wag). I figure fossil fuels are in the 10% range. TDP claims 15%.

The IBM thin film semiconductor could at face value also satisfy that requirement. It is very early in development - I don't think they have even built a solar cell that way yet. Worth keeping an eye on.

TDP is Biomass which is solar. There is enough solar energy hitting the earth to provide high living stand for all people. That energy needs to captured in a clever way to be the solution.

As Joseph says TDP is the best - really the only one that seems to meet the criteria.

Diesel engines operate at higher compression ratio and therefore higher temperature. The higher temperature results in higher thermal efficiency.

The issue at hand is sufficient and sustainable supply. Trying to decide between direct engine power, hybrid, or fuel cell is like fiddling with the thermostat. If we ever really get to that level - society as we know it will not make it.

I wonder what the production figures would be for a feedstock consisting of fresh cut kudzu? That stuff grows like crazy, requires no fertilizers or other soil amendments, and can grow just about anywhere.

I can imagine an energy farm consisting of a single TDP facility situated on marginal farmland surrounded by acres of kudzu. The kudzu would be harvested in rotation and the excess water and micronutrients produced by the process would be returned to the land to help sustain the cycle. In theory you would be harvesting sunlight and storing it in liquid form. Once all the organic material was exhausted from the soil (since all the organic material typically returned to the soil in traditional farming by plowing under, manure spreading, etc., will be turned into oil)the kudzu could continue to be grown in the depleted soil through heavy fertilization.

A couple of hundred million acres devoted to such a project would do wonders towards freeing us of our political interest in the sandy lands of the barbarians.

I think I feel a short story growing out of this idea.

Heh. Let's try something nearer and dearer to my heart: the milk subsidy program. To keep the price of dairy products up the US government buys surplus milk, powders it, and stores it in huge warehouses all over the country. At last count there was 1.5 BILLION tons of dried milk in storage.

They used to turn it into "Government Cheese" and give it away to the poor (My family used to eat it) but the dairy industry complained about the competition so that got shut down in the '80s. Some public food bank tried to work out a deal to resume this last year but got shut down after proving the concept was economically sound. I'm told if you re-hydrate it the taste is *nasty*.

Milk, at its heart, is nothing but strings of carbon-oxygen molecules and CWT's moto is "Anything Into Oil!" I don't think the dairy industry would be too concerned if Uncle turned it into biodiesel. Same with any ag subsidy we still have: You can have too much wheat, soybean, or peanut products on the market but I don't think there can ever be enough oil and inorganic fertilizer. Instead of restricting planting, divert production from food into energy.

The problem with photovoltaics (solar cells) is not the cost of the cells per se: The main cost is that of mounting and replacing them as they wear out. The lower the efficiency of the cell the more you have to mount and the higher your installation and maintenance costs. You could make a cell for free but if it only had a 3%-5% conversion rate it would cost an arm and a leg to mount all those panels and clean/repair them regularly to maintain production.

The best cells today are about 20% efficient and to make them competitive with gas- or coal-fired power plants they would have to be ~30% effficient at the Earth's surface. The problem disappears in space where you have 1/3rd more energy available per square meter so you don't need as many panels as on Earth to support requirements. Put your PV generating stations on the moon, where there's ample sunlight and raw materials, and microwave beam the power back to rectanna stations out in the deserts. That's a GOOD 50 years away, however. We won't really be able to even go back to the Moon for about 10 years.

I have decided to go ahead


Nothing on my new site yet but it is up and I will start in next day or so.

If anyone has suggestions for short term email me

Longer term I hope to attract contributors as I mentioned above


Orion this says 1.15 Billion lbs - not tons. round numbers it would probably take about 1000 lbs of milk powder to make 1 bbl so we are only talking a million bbl 5% one days supply.

I'm not suggesting thin film solar cells are an answer but it is worth watching.

TDP is appealing for many reasons. One of which is that the solar energy collection device is living things. If the system is designed well, those living things can enhance our surroundings, create habitates etc etc.

I'm not sure I would favor solar power if we had to cover 1/3 of the country with shinny plates anyway. That would be right up there with the esthetics of wind mills. Have you ever seen the wind mills all over the place out toward Palm Springs. Talk about uggly. They make you motion sick to watch them from 5 miles away. Makes graffiti look like art.


More data. Some one from CWT must be reading this blog cos they seem to have responded to many criticisms recorded here.

They have looked at rendering and pointed out several deficiencies in that process. Prime amongst them is the pollution/emmissions issue and the contamination with complex organic compounds that results.

They looked @ bio diesel and pointed out the melting/boiling point tempreture problems with esters.

Now the the Carthage plant is completed, it seems they are feeling more confident about releasing data.

I have to admit, I'm impressed. No other similar process has come even close to CWT's fundamentals. I'm really starting to believe they can pull this off, though I'm still a skeptic but arn't we all

"Orion this says 1.15 Billion lbs - not tons."

Oops, my bad. I realized that after I posted (and checked to make sure I screwed up) but there's no way to edit these messages.

"round numbers it would probably take about 1000 lbs of milk powder to make 1 bbl so we are only talking a million bbl 5% one days supply."

The point is not to replace oil, the point is to get rid of the milk. It costs money to buy and store the stuff and the inventory is increasing. They can't resell it or even give it away w/o depressing dairy prices. They're sending some to ranchers to add to feed but not enough to keep up with the inflow. Same with any farm subsidy or price support program: The government buys surpluses up but it can't do much with the excess w/o depressing the market price so it piles up in warehouses. If you can instead convert that into a form that DOESN'T depress prices and had a value of its own it's a win-win.

Yea but when we run out of oil and all start to get really hungry that dry milk will start to look good

Theo that link was posted here on Mar 17 by Orion
shows two relatively new documents at CWT site these are both very interesting. They still stop short of economic details, which according to CWT FAQ's are confidential.

I think both of those papers were presented at conferences.

Like you, I am pretty close to being convinced and have started an independant web site to "get the word out" Nothing on my site yet

The way the milk subsidy program works, I guarantee we will never run out of fresh milk.

Besides, I'm told that stuff in the warehouses tastes *nasty*.


OK I have posted some thoughts on my new site.

There are no links yet and it is not dressed up but there is some language.

Any comments to jet at directmotion dot com

I do want help and input.

If CTW, Conag, Doe, Exxon, Politicians are watching, please contact me

Couple of things:

- it's "CWT", not "CTW". You used these interchangeably in your manifesto.

- Add a link to CWT along with a disclaimer that you are not affiliated with them in any way, you're just convinced that TDP technology will be important to the world.

Aside from that it looked very good: honest and from the heart. You can add the "bells and whistles" of HTML frames, pictures, and font-games as you like. You need to put some links up and your contact information is AWOL. At a minimum I'd put up the following:

- a link to CWT's webpage.

- a link to CWT's Las Vegas Convention PDF presentation.

- a link to one or two of the "peak oil" websites.

Eventually you can see about setting up a discussion forum and a mailing list but first see how much traffic you generate. You'll need an email address on the page, as mentioned earlier. Might want to set up a separate one from your personal address, too.

Thanks for the CWT typo

Links and contact will be up in a day or so

If you have been to our business site, you will see that we can do a nice presentation - that is coming too

I think I will put some images from the depression bread lines next to an image of the space shuttle taking off, the mars rovers and maybe a crowded beach of something

I made a point about china starting to drive demand. There is another real danger that nobody is talking about

I did a google news search for wwIII yesterday. There are many fairly credible opinions that say we are now in the openning battles. I can't quite picture the events but a real supply disruption (not phony OPEC) could hit any time. We have the strategic reserve but if this is really wwIII who knows what could happen.

I don't think I should put that on the web site. People will think I am a nut and it is somewhat off subject.

Anybody else what to speculate here on wwIII and what it could mean to oil supplies? Go do that google search first. I have to say it is dark reading.

Once a real shortage occurs for any reason, it makes it that much harder to get any alternative in place. Any new energy scheme will consume more energy that it produces during construction and rollout - that means 5 to 10 years.

For example they are now talking about building the Alaska Natural Gas pipeline. That will take alot of steel and energy. By the way China demand is also driving prices up for many commodities. Steel prices have more than doubled in just last 2 months.

"Steel prices put builders in a bind"

Looks to me like the "perfect storm" is gathering

To have a "world war" you have to have two world powers willing to duke it out. I don't see anyone in a position to do so in this century at least. We're not even talking about economic warfare between nations because Globalization has made the concept of fighting for "Nation-States" somewhat obsolete and it's a principle of business that you make more money in the long run by doing business with your rivals than blowing them up.

If peak oil hits there are going to be a lot of angry voices and finger-pointing but no solutions possible unless we start seriously looking for these about 10 years ago. TDP, you'll notice, is about a 10-year old idea. :)

An examination of the strategic implications of TDP is probably not completely off topic. It would not really take a WWIII scenario to seriously disrupt oil supplies. Most of the terrorists we are dealing with today are from oil producing or countries who supply much of the labor in oil producing countries. Many of these terrorists are educated and capable of long term plans and strategies. I would expect that many of these terrorist organizations have ready access to and a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the oil industry. They also have access and influence in a number of oil producing governments. What this leads to is that they are probably very capable of seriously disrupting the free flow of oil. It has been stated that the US only has 144 operating oil refineries. I would expect a similar number of major gas and oil pipeline chokepoints and oil trans-shipment points. An attack requiring less coordination than 9/11 could put a serious crimp in this system. Using really big refineries and shared gas shipment lines makes very good business sense but makes us very vulnerable to an attack. Look at how much trouble we had preventing sabotage of the Iraq oil system. This in a country under martial law with the US military expecting trouble.

TDP offers decentralization. Oil would be produced in many locations, some very near major metro areas which would use the fuel. If refineries were collocated with the larger TDP facilities, it would be much more difficult to disrupt fuel shipments within the US. Oil shipments could also be disrupted outside the US, likely with the active cooperation of several countries. Iran would probably love an attack on the oil production or shipping capabilities of their competition. The disruption of oil from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela would cause the type of price spike mentioned by Jet. While the US strategic reserve would keep our economy functional for some time, the collapse of the world economy would not go unfelt.

If TDP proves itself as a viable source of oil, I would like to see a truly massive campaign to roll out enough plants to make a real difference. Given the US’s superior capability when it comes to massive agricultural development, it is very possible that the US could become a major exporter of oil within the decade. If TDP puts a curb on the inflation of oil prices, there would be little incentive to develop more fields, especially ones more difficult to access than currently producing fields. Baring a massive algae cultivation program or some other new source of organic material, I do not foresee the far East being able to produce enough oil using TDP to meet their growing needs.

I hope that this ongoing discussion will interest some real experts in the various fields. A though economic impact analysis would be very interesting. I would also like to see an independent assessment of the existing production facility, a report giving yields for different organic inputs, a report on how TDP can be used for the mixed solid waste normally shipped to landfills, and an implementation plan for how TDP can be quickly deployed.

We are now in what may be a narrow window of opportunity. Even with oil prices a record highs, our economy is doing well enough to support the kind of massive undertaking required to implement TDP. Jet is correct in his belief that it would be much easier to implement this type of project before a disruption occurs. I look forward to an ongoing active discussion. Those watching this discussion who know experts in fields pertaining to this discussion, please involve them. They may have important ideas or interesting opinions but be unaware of TDP or of this site.


Nobody is suggesting a wwII type wwIII. I am suggesting anti western forces organized as cells. Many individuals with such sympathies are fully integrated into western economies and are impossible to detect. What they could do is also impossible to predict.

It has been reported recently that BinLadin already has aquired nukes. If that is so, shutting down important amounts of oil should be easy.

The future is very uncertain. As Joseph points out the world oil system is very efficient and vulnerable therefore.

The logical thing to do is decentralize. TDP is a naturally decentralized technology.

OK I guess I will add a couple of related issues to the web site somehow. I might use some of Joseph's language above.

I haven't really every gone back to read thru this blog - there are probably other side issues I should mention.

I set up a Google News Alert for "Changing World Technologies" and today got the following news link:


It's not a science or numbers type of piece, but gives more insight into Brian Appel's personality.

I think a brief overview of the "peak oil crash" scenario would be useful if you left off the alarmist tone propopents tend to use on their websites. The threat to oil refineries is immense: we're currently operating at 90% capacity nationwide and there are only 2 refineries in the country set up to make the special blend of gasoline required in California. That's why gas in California costs so much more: It takes special processing and there's no real competition between gas dealers when all their gasoline comes from just 2 refineries. The refinery shortage is at critical levels nationwide: If even one refinery shuts down prices jump somewhere.

TDP plants only partially redress this problem because they're being set up to make a synthetic oil called TDP-40. TDP-40 can be used as biodiesel but has to be processed into gasoline or other petrochemical products at an oil refinery. They can vary the formula but from what I read CWT would prefer to standardize the output product to keep processing costs down and more easily integrate into the existing oil industry infrastructure. The US oil refinery shortage has to be addressed regardless of if TDP works out or not.

The Carthage plant is sending its TDP-40 down the road to a power plant to use as fuel (the last information I have is that they were waiting on permits to being burning it). If they get approval to use it as a diesel substitute then the local operators will probably try using it in their diesel trucks and other heavy equipment. Philadelphia school buses, harbor tug boats, and city-owned delivery trucks will probably try it when that plant goes online seeing the savings of moving from $50/bbl diesel to $12.50/bbl biodiesel should get the rest of the country interested.


Found this by doing google news search on depolymerization.

Indicates that journalist could not get anybody on the phone much less any answers. I will contact the author.

I will play out a likely oil peak senerio on the web site.

Have you guys seen what is going on in Iraq? The shite majority is rioting. There are about 20 million of them. What if they get together and surprize US troops, overrun them and kill all of them. That might affect the oil market. Or what if they try and we have to kill 50,000 of them on TV. I have that picture of the last helicopter out of Vietnam in my mind.

I have already contacted author of above newsday article.

I thought newsday article was interesting and gave some personal background on Appel. Article said there will be ten plants in 5 years and thousands in 10 years. Also gave some investment figures looks like about $100Million so far.

Driving home tonight: I take a windie little back road that cuts a good 15 minutes off the drive if I went by freeway. It goes through unincorporated county and there are dairy farms, old housing developments, and empty fields all along the way. On the right someone had dumped what looked like a truckload of old tires beside the road since the morning. 25-30 of them; the road crews will have to pick them up and find something to do with them. Further along I saw trailers with 1-2 old tires in them, old tires in a field being used by kids to play games, old tires in yards, old tires in the ditch. I never noticed it before but even w/o the illegal dumping up the road there must have been 100 old tires just laying around on that road.

I began adding up all the junk people had laying around their yards: plastic buckets, broken toys, used lumber, rotten plywood, etc. All kinds of debrie. Now, it's not a slum; there wasn't all that much per household. But it was an older neighborhood out in the country and stuff had been allowed to pile up over the years. The trash people started becoming really picky about what you could put out to haul away and how it was bundled a few years back and it costs money to haul it to the dump yourself. They also closed a couple of the nearest landfills some years back and it's a longer drive from that area to the new ones. So *stuff* piles up.

I began wondering if I hadn't just driven by 200T of trash in that neighborhood and realised that if there was, 500 barrels of biodiesel, @ $40/bbl, is $20,000. For $20K the county could drive a truck down the road slowly a couple of weekends, stop for people to throw *stuff* onboard, haul it off to a nearby TDP processing plant, and make their money back 10 fold.

I theenk I been theenking too much about TDP. :)

The quotation below is from the News Day article noted above>

"When the roar of a lawn mower engine caught Appel's attention, he motioned his visitors over to another part of the building used for demonstrations.

"It's running on turkey oil!" Appel shouted over the noise.

Ummmmm, lawn mower, turkey oil, candy salesman,I smell smoke.

Heh. Some back-page calculations:

The other day I read that a wind farm large enough to replace a 1000MW power station would cover 250 sq miles. I have no idea if this is correct or not, but let's assume it is for the moment.

- Last year the average yield of soybeans in the US was ~30 bushels/acre. One bushel of soybeans weighs ~60# so the yield was 1800#/acre.

- There are 640 acres per square mile so 1 square mile would yield 1,152,000# or 576T/sq mile and 250 sq miles of land would produce 144KT of soybeans per harvest.

- Assume that the Carthage turkey plant figure of 500bbl/200T of feedstock holds for soybeans as well. That land would produce 360,000 barrels of biodiesel per harvest.

- If there's only one harvest per year that works out to ~990 barrels of oil per day. Not all that impressive until you do a little digging on the Internet and discover that an "average" US oil well produces 11 bbl/day(http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/milestones/petroleum.html). So that 50 by 50 mile block of land would produce as much oil as 90 oil wells.

And that's if you don't plant winter wheat.

My calculations are a little rough and my soybean yield/acre was bumped up to make the math simpler. But it kind of looks like we'd be crazy not to invest in this technology if the Carthage plant data is born out this year.

Orion, you have hit the nail on the head.

This is the exact calculation that we have been making these many months. By the way a Wind Farm does not mean agriculture ceases on that 250 SqMiles. The windmills themselves have a very small footprint and occupy 1% or less on the land area.

I'm mostly convinced now that CWT can do what they say. Most people have been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The problem is one of scale as you have seen with your little back of the envelope calculation. Remember too that soybeans are not as BTU packed as offal fat. On the other hand maybe the plant waste matter can be converted too.

The US consumes 20 Million barrels of crude a day. By your calculation 250 SqMiles or 160,000 acres of land is required to produce about 1000 barrels a day of oil. The US has about a Billion acres in agriculture. Even converting all of it to TDP agriculture you only get 5,000,000 barrels per day or 1/4 of our present oil consumption, forget about future growth in demand.

This is the problem everyone has with CWT. They claim to be the solution to all our energy needs when on present calculations they can never be more than a marginal producer/disposer of waste.

That is why I and others have proposed using it on all that Kerogen locked up in Colorado. Or those tar sands in Canada.

Do a google search on Photosynthesis efficiency. The actual crop efficiency is 1-2% at most. Some grasses and sugarcanes approach 3-4%. But it is extremely inefficient even compared to our solar cells @ 10%. Makes it a very weak base to build your future energy security on.

I think you miss the point with the relative efficiencies of growing plants & some of the better photovoltaic cells. Producing solar cells requires a large initial investment of capital, materials, and energy. They also must be maintained and replaced when damaged. Growing grass on the other hand requires much less of an investment.

My guess would be that it will be some time before TDP plants are built intending to use purpose grown crops as the feed stock. There are sufficient waste products to make a dent in our oil needs. I agree that it is unlikely that they will ever receive even a large fraction of the agricultural waste listed. Plowing stalks under adds organic material to the soil, something I assume is important for keeping the soil in good shape. (any farmers or agricultural experts, please jump in and comment) Harvesting hay from untilled fields and alongside roads may amount to a significant out of season crop. If brush and grass from land not currently in use can be harvested periodically, the expenditure for the crop would be little more than the cost of harvesting. In much of the country periodic harvesting of public land would remove a serious fire danger. Properly managed, a minimal disruption of habitat would prevent future catastrophic fires and produce a bumper crop of organic material.

When purpose grown energy crops are introduced, I expect that they will consist of grasses and brush selected for high energy content, ease of cultivation, and no irrigation requirements. Plants may be genetically engineered from desert plants to produce high oil and wax contents and to be good for the soil. Plants which are planted infrequently and regrow from their roots would be ideal. Land could be planted in these crops and harvested once or twice per year without the need to till the soil or worry much about pests or weeds. The fact that the energy crops are not to be used as food significantly simplifies the problem of selecting crop candidates.

Another thought is that it really isn’t necessary for TDP to produce more than maybe 20% of oil used for it to hugely effect the world economy. Even a smaller percentage would cause oil prices to fall. Personally, I am most interested in providing a realistic alternative to OPEC oil. TDP could provide the stick needed to keep oil prices reasonable. It would also give us an alternative if oil production ever fell below oil demand. TDP puts a cap on oil prices. If oil prices get too high, large scale production using TDP becomes profitable.

I also like the idea of having a good way of disposing of organic waste. Nobody wants a landfill near their home and proper safe disposal costs a lot of money. Sure, the whole claim that there is any scarcity of space for landfills is fraudulent but it is still very difficult and expensive to get a permit to open a new site. We can all hope for more but until I have a lot more information I will only expect TDP to be an additional source of fuel. Given ConAgra’s continued support of the technology, I think it is a given that TDP is economic under at least some conditions. The hope is that there are enough of these waste streams and that the efficiencies improve to the point where significant quantities of fuel are produced. If TDP is financed by the private sector, building and running plants will be due to the economics of the times. If TDP provides an economic method of producing large quantities of fuel, then large quantities will be produced. If not, only limited quantities produced from waste will be produced. Government subsidies could alter these decisions, most likely to the detriment to the US.


This paper has some numbers says current US energy use is about 40 quads/yr 1 quad = 1quadrillion btu and ultimate Biomass potential for US is 55 quads/yr.

He also says US energy demand will north of 250 quads by 2100.

He concludes we can meet this demand by a combination of biomass, wind, and coal (assumes carbon sequestration).

I like this paper - tone, presentation, and conclusion. I hope he is right that there really is that much potential from these sources.

Maybe once oil prices go up to about $50 /bbl and stay there for a year or two, smart people will figure it is safe to put money into energy other than oil.

I could see TDP being used to get rid of all the landfill and stripping much carbon and all sulfur out of coal before burning.

There is no contact point on that page but I have made efforts to contact him

The problem with coal is it's an extremely dirty fuel and even if you clean up the emissions you're still pumping fantastically huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere under this scenario. We could do it but I doubt anyone would enjoy the result.

A combintation of nuclear and biomass energy is the way to go. Nuclear power is demonstrably cleaner and safer than any other power source in use today. Coal-fired generators pump more radiactive particles into the air in a day than Three Mile Island did during its accident. Biomass recycles the carbon already in the environment; you can even trap carbon and bury it if you like with a TDP processor. I foresee new nuclear power plants being built within the next 20 years, enough to supply about half our need for energy and a combination of solar, wind, coal, and biomass accounting fot the rest as the oil runs out.

Hello all - Interesting discussion

Also interesting that in very political election year, neither of the camps has picked up on the potential of TDP to be an almost perfect domestic jobs machine. When I see photos of the TDP plants, I see lots of piping and ASME code pressure vessels/reactors/distillation columns, valves, instruments, piping and other nifty "stuff", the fabrication of which can't readily be outsourced overseas.

I've spoken to a few friends in the metal fabrication business, and they see the same potential: miles and miles of welds, at so many cents an inch.

In reading some of the articles and CWT promotional statements, it's clear that they are employing hot button populist rhetoric to sell their process, such as the alarmist canards that "we're running out of landfill space" and "the perils of greenhouse gases", but I guess all's fair in a relatively free marketplace.

oh, another thing for those who suggests earlier in the thread that government should control oil prices at a "reasonable" level: you may try to control prices, but you can't control **costs**. Think rent-control apts. in New York.


The guy suggesting Coal also assumes carbon sequestration. I don't think there is any such technology available yet but how about taking TDP to a slightly higher temperature and strip the hydrogen completely and make that the fuel.
What was suggested toward price controls was to price control above a certain level so that temporary price swings don't wipe out fragile alternative startups. You still may be right - just let the market handle it.

Completely off topic but more important and personal than energy. Wanta live forever?
The really funny thing is the guy suggesting this is also named Appell

Carbon sequestration: Any carbon you bury more than about 6' down is sequestered. As you suggested a few messages up, take a barrel of TDP oil and pour it into the National Oil Reserve: it's sequestered. Problem is, I don't think they can sequester carbon in the scale they'd need to if we burned coal in the quantities being talked about. To put it somewhat in perspective, currently the world uses about 1 cubic mile of oil per year. By 2100 they're talking about an equivalent of 2 to 2 1/2 cubic miles per year. If we replace that with coal we're talking even MORE carbon being pumped into the environment. Plants can soak that up, of course, but on that scale I think we're talking growing petunias out of our armpits. Coal just isn't feasible.

World energy demand is skyrocketing; even OPEC doesn't have the reserve capacity to "flood the market" anymore. Lurking out there in the background is the continuing industrialization of China and the Far East. Those countries are agressively buying up oil at just about any price the producer nations care to name. They are signing long-term contracts for oil because they know when the Hubbert Peak hits they'll be the worst hurt. I don't think we'll see $20/bbl oil again so I don't think price supports will be needed. What will be needed are public awareness campaigns that TDP and similar technologies already exist and are available *right now* to begin weaning the US from oil and landfilling biowaste. If we can cut our dependence on foreign oil by just 10% that's a Good Thing. If we can eliminate it with these technologies that's even better.


Another oil peak article published Apr 7 04

Basicly says no one knows when it will occur because the reserve data is not public. The tone is not optimistic.

Agreed -- the markets usually pan out, OPEC notwithstanding -- regulatory price levels, whether floors or ceilings, are still artificial controls - they don't reflect basic supply and demand - at this time in the U.S., we've got a supply problem, which I believe has been addressed before in this thread: insufficient domestic refining capacity. A new grassroots refinery has not been built in the last, what, 25 years? Someting's gotta be wrong when we're importing refined goods from Venezuela (as screwed up as they are) - importing refined oil products is what 3rd world developing nations do.

In any event, TDP, with its minimal environmental footprint, would be a huge boost to domestic refining capacity.

By the way, landfill or waste treatment biogas can be a *very* good thing. See what Fuelcell Energy (http://www.fce.com/index.html) is doing with it.


"Imagining a $7-a-Gallon Future"
Article in NY Times Apr 4, 04 by Daniel Yergin Don't be mislead by the title - concludes oil production will not peak for decades.

I happened to have his book sitting on my desk which he wrote in 1979 "Energy Future". On page 13 he then wrote "The easy days of easy and cheap oil are truely over". -- I would say oil has been easy and cheap since then - so much for his insite.

Energy Information Administration home page

this site is very well done - very easy to find exactly what you are looking for. They make short and long term predictions which are very understandable. This is best source of condensed info I have found so far.

For example


US energy consumption and price forcast out to 2025.

Average per year % change in price and amount is in the range of 1%.

If they are right, energy is a non issue and we have plenty of time for gradual adoption of renewables.

On the other hand this article says the whole mid east oil reserves are total fiction and world reserves are sitting on empty. Written by Matt Simmons, President of the world's largest private energy investment banker.

I'm confussed. But I guess most issues are complicated once you dig a little.

I guess we need a review of TDP technology and economics and while we are at it might as well go ahead and get a review of world oil reserves.

Well, there's a controversy brewing over the origin of oil. Either oil was created from decayed plant and animal matter through heat and pressure over millions of years, or oil is "abiotic" in origin and was either ALWAYS here, from the formation of the Earth some 6 Billion years ago, or was formed from vast carbon deposit near the magma layer.

The "abiotic oil" argument is that the oil reservoirs we have already tapped are merely outwellings from vaster, deeper deposits and are continually being renewed through hydrostatic pressure from the larger deposits below. The conventional theory side says these people are full of beans and we are running out of oil in the next 20-50 years.

The arguement between the two sides tends to get quite messy, with each side accusing the other of intellectual dishonesty. "Peak Oil" types point to evidence of fossilized bacteria in the oil being pumped up as proof the oil came from the surface, "abiotic types" say that these microbes actually live in the deep earth and are brought up with the new oil. One abiotic proponent went to Scandanavia and drilled through the granite shield there; supposedly this shield is as old as the Earth and can't possibly have stored biologically-derived oil. He struck *something* that welled up and was hydrocarbon based. "Peak Oil" types say this merely shows that oil deposits actually leaked into the granite shield from the North Sea surface deposits and doesn't prove a thing.

Quite fascinating except for two points:

- Assuming the "abiotic oil" theory for the sake of argument, what is the "recharge rate" and is it faster than we're draining the surface deposits? We're pumping 20 Million bbl/day now and that's going UP to 40B bl/day by 2040. Replenishment doesn't do us much good if it's less than that.

- Again, assuming the abiotic side, is it really such a good idea to pump all that carbon into the environment? We currently pump one cubic MILE of oil per day around the world and burn most of that. CO2 levels are rising in consequence and even if you don't believe the current levels are enough to create a "greenhouse effect" it's hard to aruge that pumping twice that amount - and eventually even more - shouldn't be of concern.

Regardless of the source of subteranean oil it's far safer to wean ourselves from it and begin recycling the carbon already in the environment through processes such as TDP. Reducing hazardouse wastes and landfill requirements are the principle arguments for TDP and synthetic oil production merely a side effect but it's an IMPORTANT side effect, in some ways more important than the primary reasons.

Before someone else points it out that should be 40 Million, not Billion, barrels of oil by 2040. I think. It's late and I'm more focused on getting my taxes finished before Monday. >:)

Yes I have heard both oil origin arguments. I believe Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons have hydrocarbon atmospheres and maybe oceans. That says primordial hydrocarbons are very common.

I don't have any doubt technology combined with a little more time would / will sort out a sustainable energy / environmental future.

It would be unfortunate if our system collasped just as or before we discovered a solution. It is somewhat like trying to immagine what the world would be like if the Roman Empire had invented the internal combustion engine. Would that have saved the empire and western civilization from the dark ages?

According to this document:


Swine manure in its, ah, "natural" state has too much liquid to be successfully processed through a TDP converter. The TDP feedstock should be 20%-30% solid and swine manure is

I got cut off somehow. The rest of that should read:

and swine manure is less than 1% solids. However, they were already looking at a process to crystalize the waste stream for easier handling and disposal and they think that preprocessing the manure through this and then sending it to a TDP converter is feasible.

I happened to have his book sitting on my desk which he wrote in 1979 "Energy Future". On page 13 he then wrote "The easy days of easy and cheap oil are truely over". -- I would say oil has been easy and cheap since then - so much for his insite.

Isn't this relative? Think for a moment in terms of offshore drilling, and the Kerr-Magee ads that feature their spar platform. Was that cheap and easy?

They would give that impression, but relative to what? The state of the art in 1979 relative to what it is now confirms the contention that we have to go much greater lenghts and depths to meet our energy needs.

The advertizing message wants people to see it as still being easy, but in fact isn't that denied by the pride that is shown in the tone of ad? Would they be so proud of themselves for doing something easy?

Moreover, were it still cheap and easy wouldn't there more, not far less oil companies?

The mergers and consolodation of the exploration and production companies that charactize the industry in the past decades are an indicator of something. If just limited to the the pridction made in 1979, is it of ease or of more difficultily in bring new production on line?

My point is only that one's distaste for alrarmism is not reason to lose prespective on the current reality. The merits of this process as already spelled out are just an another indictor that there more merit to the pridiction they would give it.

My argument against a pure "cost-based" energy system is that whether or not there's actually a "Hubbert's Peak" to oil production, it's probably not a real good idea to pump all that carbon out of the ground and (ultimately) into the atmosphere. Even if it's cheaper in the short term to pump, in the long term we have to start thinking about sequestering carbon back into the ground.

At the same time our need for petrochemicals isn't going away, neither is our need to find a better way to handle wastes than burning/burying/dispersing the stuff. TDP for all of the above is a win-win-win. We won't need to pump so much oil out of the ground, we can recycle more efficiently and safely, and we can dump excess carbon byproduct from the process into old coal mines where it will never contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The tone of that book was the "sky is falling" and till now the sky is still there. There has till now been plenty of oil to go around.

That could change any time. The Chinese demands are driving the cost up on many commodities.

Who knows - maybe the world economy will respond by creating whatever supplies are really in demand. In fact with the overall larger markets, economy of scale could push commodity prices down - which has been the trend for hundreds of years.

Or oil could run out and there is no telling what could happen.

I agree that co2 balance and landfill are important issues but a supply of energy is more so.

Anyway - my TDP web site looks pretty good now so I do invite visitors


If the CWT technical papers presented in Arizona and again in Las Vegas March 1st of this year are accurate and truthful, then the plant in Carthage MO should be past the 1,000,000 gallon production mark of API-40 oil. At this point those interested in the process might question where the fuel is being used and the investors might want to know the selling price of the oil produced compared to un taxed petroleum diesel fuel on a Btu adjusted basis.

For a second I went, "Huh?" then I remembered, 1 bbl = 42 gallons. 500 x 42 = 21000 gal/day, it would take ~48 days steady production to reach that mark. Yeah, you're right: If they had investors they'd have to have provided a quarterly earnings report by now. As they're still private they don't have to publish that, however. There's no sign ConAgra is pulling the plug on their Carthage plant, however, which indicates they're doing OK. Appel mentioned in a recent interview that the plant "is turning a small profit", which may not mean anything from an actuarial PoV.


Excuse me for not being more specific in my views. The exact production figures are not important. 1,000,000 gallons is sort of a benchmark and suitable for determining if the Carthage MO plant can produce AND SELL that amount in about a month and a half. The return on investment could then be determined. The next concern is the revenue from the sales. The price of untaxed petroleum diesel is about a dollar a gallon at the present. It is claimed the API-40 oil Carthage makes has the same general characteristics as petroleum diesel. To be competitive ConAgra must sell their oil at around the same price or even less. If their production cost is more than a dollar they obviously would not chose to make additional fuel until price of petroleum diesel went up.
So, if the total oil produced is a small amount, say only about 20,000 gallons it would indicate their production cost are higher than the market price and the ROI (return on investment) is negative. If their production cost was $15 per barrel ($0.357 per gallon) as claimed) then the ROI at market prices would be astounding and they would operate at full bore. It seems to me the production figures and revenue per gallon over the past month and a half would be essential for making a determination if the process is a viable one. How would you make the determination?

You also have to factor in the money that ConAgra is saving on landfill fees, less the depreciable cost of the TDP plant. If burying the turkey guts was costing them, say, $10,000/month and the plant "costs" them $8,000/month to run, including the cost of the money to build it and the labor and material to run it, then they can give the oil away/pour it down an abandoned oil well shaft and still make a profit.

I'm not saying they are, just that it's a more complicated economic model than "how much does Diesel#2 wholesale for?" and I don't have those figures, either. It'd be really nice if they presented an economic report for the plant. It would certainly be to their advantage because cities and other companies considernig licensing the technology would take them more seriously. However the plant just really came online a few months ago and they are still ironing out kinks in the process to maximize throughput.

They presented a paper at the gas research institutte conference in March: We saw that paper here. They'll almost certainly present again at the next meeting. If they're serious about this I'd guess they'd present something about the economics of the process then. Anyone know when that meeting will be?


I’m sorry about this but the bottom line is if they can not turn a profit after deducting for depreciation and other expenses then the process is an uneconomical one. This does not mean an end of TDP. It is possible CWT has enough new investor money coming in to stay “busy” for many years. Another possibility, and a more likely one, is to get government intervention via mandates and subsidies. This puts the burden on the taxpayer as in the wasteful ethanol program.
Many people are under the impression that all animals processing waste goes to a land fill. Not true. Several hundred existing rendering plants process most of it. Darling International is a large well-known rendering public company. Griffin is another large private one. Both are very profitable. You can check Darling out by viewing DAR data on Yahoo’s Finance site. Some of the products are lard, gelatin, and other food ingredients. Industrial lubricants and fertilizers are others.
If mandates require the use of TDP you can expect an increase in the cost of Jell-O, biscuits, and many other products you consume.
In any event, it would be of great interest to find out if the Carthage Oil production has come close to or exceed the 1,000,000 gallon mark since March 1, 2004. Performanceis my gage for the determination of process worth. No one has submitted a better one.

A small tidbit about the Carthage Plant here:


Apparently they had a clogged filter and the town of Carthage was on the receiving end of the resulting stink.

Sorry about the problem with leaving comments. I had accidentally entered a blank address in my list of banned IP addresses, which Movable Type interprets as banning all IP addresses. All should be well now. If it's not, please let me know.

Well, at least we know that they are operating and producing something. It sounds like they may not be as perfect a neighbor as they have claimed. Then again operating a new plant, it may take years to figure out all of the maintenance requirements and minor bugs.

On another note, I contacted my Congressman, a member of the Science and Transportation comities and asked if CWT had come up in recent hearings. He was not familiar with CWT but was aware of similar technologies at a university research level. If a big push to get subsidies were in the works, I would expect him to be well informed. This leads me to think that CWT actually intends to compete as a legitimate company rather than as the beneficiary of government largess. Companies with their hands out are generally well known, if only due to the contributions given by their lobbyists.

CWT appears to be more open to releasing technical information now than in the past. Their most recent papers that they presented answer many of the questions raised in this blog. It would be nice if some of the engineers and chemists reading following this blog would comment and critique these papers. Do they add up?

Being privately held, CWT is unlikely to release much in the way of financial information about their process to the public. ConAgra on the other hand may release some information as part of their quarterly report. As small as this project is in comparison with their business, I would expect some mention due to innovation and this being in a new market. I hope that enough information is available to draw some conclusions. Another avenue for finding some information would be to find out where the oil is being sold and how it is being used. If it can be used directly as diesel, it is worth far more per barrel than crude oil (~$1 / gal untaxed diesel, 42 gal / barrel, ~$42 / barrel diesel vs. ~$30 / barrel crude oil)

John is correct in that much of the slaughterhouse waste is currently used as the input to rendering plants which produce many important products. Much of the material left over after the high value products are extracted is added to feed to improve animal growth. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems such as mad cow and other complications. I think it is likely, perhaps as an over reaction, that this fortification of animal feed will be banned in the US. If rendering plants are no longer able to produce animal feed, at least for animals destined for the dinner table, these profitable plants may be much less profitable. TDP may be a more profitable alternative or it may be that they would first extract the available high value products. This would result in less oil per ton of input to the TDP plant (I expect fat and grease are much better inputs than protein & bone) but it is likely to be better than the alternative of sending this material to an expensive landfill. My understanding is that Europe has already restricted the adding of animal products to feed. This is an issue easily demagoged and difficult to defend against attacks where logic will play very little role. I expect PETA is out sharpening their knives on this issue.

Have there been any new updates on CWT or TDP?

The latest public presentation on CWT's plant in Carthage was at a mid-west regional conference last month. You can see a videostream here:


To view the videostream you'll have to register but that's no big deal. The presentation is about 3 hrs, 4 min into the stream. To jump to it directly right-click on the video screen, select "File Bookmarks" from the popup menu, and then James Fleiss's presentation from the pick list.

There's not a lot of new information in it. Fleiss mentions that they are still "finetuning" the Carthage plant to run it 24/7. As a sales pitch it's, well, pretty poor. Mr. Fleiss is an engineer, not a salesman, and it shows.

One undertone I got from his pitch is that rendering plants may not be all that happy: TDP competes for their feedstock and Fleiss made it a point to reassure them. Aside from that and the plant status I didn't take much away from it.

The latest public presentation on CWT's plant in Carthage was at a mid-west regional conference last month. You can see a videostream here:


To view the videostream you'll have to register but that's no big deal. The presentation is about 3 hrs, 4 min into the stream. To jump to it directly right-click on the video screen, select "File Bookmarks" from the popup menu, and then James Fleiss's presentation from the pick list.

There's not a lot of new information in it. Fleiss mentions that they are still "finetuning" the Carthage plant to run it 24/7. As a sales pitch it's, well, pretty poor. Mr. Fleiss is an engineer, not a salesman, and it shows.

One undertone I got from his pitch is that rendering plants may not be all that happy: TDP competes for their feedstock and Fleiss made it a point to reassure them. Aside from that and the plant status I didn't take much away from it.

Sorry about the double post: I only hit the POST button once but there was an error on that end.

I failed to connect on the site regarding Mr. Flessis abating the fears of the rendering business. He might have addressed the fact that CWT has dropped the use of TDP on their web site and in all other papers under their control. TCP (Thermal Conversion Process) now replaces the former. There are several reasons this might have been done, but I can think of none positive.
The API-40 oil production of 500 Barrels “24/7” as touted since March 1.2004 never materialized. A less than substantial amount of oil was sold to a local road contractor for mixing in paving material. Presently a “coker” is being installed. This is a rather large drum(s) where the oil is heated to high temperatures (about 900 F) and left to vaporize over a long period of time (about 20 hours). Cokers are routine in the petroleum industry.
I fail to see where any company would be worried or envious of these matters. Perhaps one needs to call CWT for a factual update

Hi all,
Has anyone found an explanation of the change from TDP to TCP? It seems very odd that the would make the change and not post an explanation. There could be legal or business reasons which are perfectly reasonable but making the change without explanation makes them look like a company flailing about without any direction. If their pilot plant is producing even a significant portion of their announced intended production, they should be making loud announcements and having new plants under construction all over the world. Problems are to be expected in the first plant. An explanation of what has occurred and what is planed to overcome any difficulties would be very welcome. I would be more worried if they made claims of a flawless launch of their process than a launch with some serious but manageable hiccups. Flawless launches of complex processing plants, even ones in established industries are not normal. My hope is that they have the expertise they need and are just too busy at this time working out the inevitable bugs in the process and in their growth plan to spend much time making explanations to the public. It is good to be hopeful, I am glad I have nothing invested in CWT other than curiosity.

Apparently, the Carthage, Missouri, plant is currently producing 100-200 barrels of oil per day.


Hi All;

It looks like CWT & RES are making some noise again. There is an AP story similar to the one linked above. It gives an explanation of the 100 to 200 barrel number. The plant is still not fully operational and expects to go fully on line this summer. Very slow startup, I expect that there were several unexpected problems associated with changing from a prototype plant to a production facility. RES now has it’s own web site (link below) with some new information. I am still interested in why they changed what they call their process, I hope some more information comes out soon.


Let’s see. Originally the Thermo Depolymerazation Process (TDP) was to convert 200 tons of turkey offal into 600 barrels of oil. Next it was stated the process would take 250 tons of turkey offal AND restaurant grease & oil to make 500 barrels a day. At about this time one visitor to the plant in Philadelphia was privileged to hear a lawnmower running on the product described as suitable for diesel engines.
Now, 15 months later, the operators declare a name change to Thermo Conversion Process (TCP) with an initial out put of 100 to 200 Barrels a day with a target of 500 barrels a day. The CEO asks, “what do you want me to do with all my oil?” when skeptics doubt the plant’s viability. My suggestion is that if the plant really produces a substantial amounts of # 2 type oil at competitive prices, the 9 diesel generator sets at the Carthage Utility would become logical users.
If none of these stipulations are true, another name change and free publicity releases might be required in the near future to fund the technology.

If they're processing the full 200T of wastes and now only getting 100-200bbls/oil a day you might have a point. However if they're only processing 50T-100T of feedstock a day due to supply problems and/or plant startup problems that's not such a big deal. They've also said the plant is "turning a small profit" which means they don't have to worry about being shut down any time soon (every dollar ConAgra saves vs landfill fees is a plus).

It was 30 years between the Wright Brothers' first flight and the beginning of commercial aviation. Waiting to see what they have to say at the end of summer doesn't seem all that much to ask.


Back in early days of TDP it was indeed published that a “small profit “ was made on the 600 barrel per day of light golden oil. Subsequent reports of 500 barrels per day made these “small profits” less. After the name change to TCP and the published out put reduced to 100-200 barrels the net income could well turn the operation into a not for profit organization.
For whatever reason at this point the process is not nearly profitable as conventional rendering despite the 14 years of effort. Would you recommend this process as an investment? If not, at what point would you invest?

I would invest when they make their IPO and not before. That probably won't be for several years - if ever. The way they're structuring the project is that they don't really need outside capital: Companies and cities with a waste management problem buy into their LLCs (or not) and they fund each project that way. The private, wealthy individuals currently involved in CWT are looking 10-20 years down the road for a return on their investment: they have "play money" - and lots of it - to invest.

Your question really should be when should WASTE HANDLERS buy in. If I were, say, the city of Chicago and I wanted to cut my MSW fees by even a small fraction I would consider CWT carefully. I might not rush down and ask them to build me a TDP/TCP processing plant today...well, actually I would. It would take 6 months to a year to get to the "ground breaking ceremony" stage and by then I'd know if they could meet their commitments or not. Either the Carthage plant will reach full production this year or it will grind to a halt sometime next fall and be quietly mothballed. If they can't do what they say it would be fairly cheap to pull out of the contract but extremely expensive to negotiate one when CWT is a success and every city and its trash handler is beating down their door.

Some of your points need expanding
1. One of the directors on the board of RES and CWT stated he expected “$” return (his notation) in a few weeks. That was in September of 2003. Three weeks ago he informed me they had sold some oil to a local road builder for mixing with asphalt. The recent AP article puts the production at 100-200 barrels a day. No one will say how many barrels have been produced as a daily average. So your assumption that investors are looking 10-20 years down the road is not correct. Even the Wright brothers never waited that long as you speculated. Within a year they had an Army contract to build a training craft.

2. OK, you are ready to invest once there is an IPO. Have you ever read one and noticed all the SEC required negative statements including the fact the company has never made a dime and it’s survival depends on new investors? Never lie to the SEC You are right in guessing there will be no public offerings. Why go to the expense and risk of preparing the required SEC documents when you can snag rich dudes from free “press releases”. Its OK to lie to the press and for the press to pass on the lie. This is legal but requires caution.
3. Although there is a lot of noise about the conversion of trash, landfills, muck, manure, computers, 170 pound men etc to oil there is not a single peoject underway.

It seems to me that the original claim of 85% efficiency is highly suspect (energy content of output as a percentage of energy content of feedstock with the difference being consumed driving the process). I have a hard time believing that you can boil off the water content of turkey offal, including blood, and suffer all of the losses to entropy which have to occur at a cost of only 15%.

As far as the broader use of this technology goes it seems to me that turkey offal from a "Butter Ball" (TM) plant would be a relatively high density, high quality input compared to municipal sewage with its much higher water content. Success of this pilot project may not prove that the process has a wider usefulness.

A minor clarification on your assumptions for municipal waste. The waste they are talking about is sewage sludge. This is the semi-solid residue left over from sewage treatment. Generally this waste is sent to landfills or after treatment used as fertilizer. The problem with it as fertilizer is that it tends to contain toxic and unwanted chemicals both from the sewage treatment process and from the waste. Since the EPA is starting to frown on costal cities pumping their sewage sludge into the sea, large cities are spending a lot of money disposing of many tons of concentrated nastiness. While the process would produce much less fuel per ton of input, the negative cost of that input (cost of disposal) is very favorable. While turkey guts are not very valuable, they do have value as an input to a rendering plant. One problem with the data CWT has provided is that they show the addition of a substantial amount of waste grease being added to the process. (75% sludge, 25% grease trap waste) Waste grease may account for most of the oil produced in their municipal waste figures (26 pounds of oil per 100 lbs of waste). Without the addition of trap grease, I would expect the process to have a very low oil output. It may still be profitable in that it would convert the waste into clean, usable fertilizer and water with perhaps some extra electricity produced.

My hope is that they are accurate in their claim that they will finally have their first plant fully functional this summer. My expectation, especially with John’s comment that they have added a coker and that they sold oil to a road contractor to mix with asphalt, is that they have found it much more difficult to control the oil output mix than they anticipated. If, instead of producing the desired diesel output, they are producing a blend of many oil types or an unpredictable output, they have a fairly classic scaling problem. In a small batch production system, they can very closely control input chemistry, times, temperatures, and pressures. In a larger system, it is often much more difficult to closely control the process or to adjust the process due to changes in the input material. If this proves to be the case, they may have to send their output to a refinery in order to achieve the purities required for many uses. While light crude oil is valuable, I would expect them to put in substantial effort to produce the diesel output they expected. The diesel is a much more valuable product.

I still have hope for this process, though process name changes and secretiveness have raised some red


I cliped off the end of my last posting.

A coker is used to process the residual crude left over after the oil is refined and separated into its various products. Some refineries don't bother with coking; they just sell the residual to mix in paving material or hand it off to nearby refineries with coking capability.

According to the latest news reports the Carthage plant is right now producing fuel oil #4, although not in the quantities promised. IIRC they were saying they were planning to send some of the product to a real oil refinery for further processing, which probably means the residual. However, if there's no nearby refinery in the Carthage area or they aren't accepting residual then they have two choices; coke it themselves or sell it for paving material. I'm not sure what the market is like for paving filler in that part of Missouri but I'll bet they're adding the coker because they think they can make more money.

The trade off, of course, is energy efficiency. They advertise 85% efficiency based on NOT coking; This process requires raising the temperature of the residual to around 900oF in a coker drum to distill what they can and then water-blast the remaining solid coke out of the drum to reuse it. This costs energy and reduces the yield they can claim; by how much I couldn't hazard a guess at this point.

I apologize in advance for this, but I'm going to have to temporarily disable comments on my site. I'm traveling on business and came back at the end of an 18-hour, Internet-less day to find 53 spam comments on my site -- each of which must be deleted one at a time. I don't have the time to deal with this again over the next few days, and I don't have the time to upgrade to Movable Type 3.0, so I'm just going to shut off comments until I can handle this properly. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Over four months later, comments are at last re-enabled. I apologize for taking so long to get this done, but this blog is now running on Movable Type 3.11, and all seems to be well.

Ah - finally back up. I hope to see more input here. I've missed this resource for keeping up with TCP (formerly TDP).


I just have 2 comments to make:
1) The closure (and eventual reopenning) were due mostly to backroom politics and unwritten (and thus unenforcable) agreements. Both are very popular here in Missouri, because it makes it so easy to be corrupt.

2) I don't believe they are spending any of their energy removing water from the feedstock. The water actually transfers heat six times better than air, and then the oil can be seperated off with a filter.

Look at fuel prices –they keep changing and energy reserves keep decreasing, efficient methods of energy conversion and utilization should be used .All new designs are really going to cut pollution. And all the car giants will have to start use alternative engines The government departments will have to start investing into this researches. If overall energy utilization at the national level has the priority, driving a heat pump by an electric motor is not the best method, due to the inefficient conversion of fossil fuel into electricity at the power station. Therefore, engine-driven heat pumps have been preferred using gas engines, diesel engines or gas turbines. The output of the heat pump is expected to be about 65% higher than electrically driven systems, based on the same amount of fuel used. The advantages of these systems are mainly due to local generation of shaft power and providing engine heat that can be usefully employed , by recovering part of the waste energy of the gases and engine coolant. Such systems can operate continuously in comparison with solar systems.. Primary energy was found to be saved by about 50% when using engine-driven heat pumps. The superiority of the gas turbine system was quite clear. This would be a kind of alternative to fuel or diesel engines on strong point of CO2 emission and global warming ,don’t you think? All that and some more I have pointed in my dissertation for Thermodynamic analysis of exhaust gas .If you are interested or may need information for your researches ,you may look in here:http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtengi3.htm

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