A Machine That Turns Plastic Back Into Oil

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
May 11, 2008
18,914
982
126
Simply because you think favorably of local processes and saving energy does not make them scientifically feasible. You always have lots of ideas, but until an idea is tempered by reality, it has no real value. You would be much better off using a wind turbine to generate hydrogen via electrolysis than trying to degenerate plastics in this way.

I fully understand what both of you mean and from a certain perspective i agree but...
I think there should be a border between long term profit and short term profit. Because keeping things local there is less profit right now but also less stress, less overhead, less transport or logistics, less possible problems that can arise. In the future there is less to clean and problems to solve. I mean, now there are ridiculous taxes and proposals to keep the environment "green" . It is similar as trying to plug one hole in a drainer. It is symbolic yes, but no solution.

For example :
In another post i talk about gm food. It is claimed that GM food will stop world hunger. But there is no shortage of food. A lot of perfectly good vegetables are thrown away to rot because the supermarkets or other big buyers do not find the vegetables attractive enough to be sold. That is what i mean with plugging a hole in the drainer. It is symbolic but it is not a solution or presenting the real problem. Locality provides jobs, food and happy people.

In a controlled combustion (read: incinerator) the temperatures are high enough to ensure no monomer escapes.

You are neglecting the energy cost of making this process work. If it were worth it, it would have been done by now. Maybe when petroleum feedstock for plastics becomes low, then it will be viable (industrially).

See above.
 

Toastedlightly

Diamond Member
Aug 7, 2004
7,212
5
81
I fully understand what both of you mean and from a certain perspective i agree but...
I think there should be a border between long term profit and short term profit. Because keeping things local there is less profit right now but also less stress, less overhead, less transport or logistics, less possible problems that can arise. In the future there is less to clean and problems to solve. I mean, now there are ridiculous taxes and proposals to keep the environment "green" . It is similar as trying to plug one hole in a drainer. It is symbolic yes, but no solution.

For example :
In another post i talk about gm food. It is claimed that GM food will stop world hunger. But there is no shortage of food. A lot of perfectly good vegetables are thrown away to rot because the supermarkets or other big buyers do not find the vegetables attractive enough to be sold. That is what i mean with plugging a hole in the drainer. It is symbolic but it is not a solution or presenting the real problem. Locality provides jobs, food and happy people.



See above.

It seems that you are dead-set on this idea. Invest in it and see what happens. From the cursory research I have done and from my prior knowledge, this is not a revenue generating process, it is a method to use energy to convert matter from one form to another (which is more useless). Sure it removes the rubbish of polymers, but what is the outcome? Liquid, hazardous waste when compared to inert polymers?
 
May 11, 2008
18,914
982
126
It seems that you are dead-set on this idea. Invest in it and see what happens. From the cursory research I have done and from my prior knowledge, this is not a revenue generating process, it is a method to use energy to convert matter from one form to another (which is more useless). Sure it removes the rubbish of polymers, but what is the outcome? Liquid, hazardous waste when compared to inert polymers?

Oh , i am not dead set. But the point is it is both waste, polymers and monomers. And it must be turned into a resource again to be useful. This machine may not be the best idea, there must be a better one then. Fact remains, from production to use to waste to recycling to resource must be a closed infinite circle for every product. And yes it will be a bit more expensive at the production and to use but pays itself back at the conversion from waste to resource. You know very well what i mean, i am positive about that.
 

Toastedlightly

Diamond Member
Aug 7, 2004
7,212
5
81
Oh , i am not dead set. But the point is it is both waste, polymers and monomers. And it must be turned into a resource again to be useful. This machine may not be the best idea, there must be a better one then. Fact remains, from production to use to waste to recycling to resource must be a closed infinite circle for every product. And yes it will be a bit more expensive at the production and to use but pays itself back at the conversion from waste to resource. You know very well what i mean, i am positive about that.

I understand, but if the raw material is cheaper than the recycling process, it is worthless and isn't ecomonically viable. While some day it may be (if/when most oil wells dry up), it isn't now. Hell, great strides are being made in biodegradeable polylactic acid plastics.

Now that we are thoughly off topic, I still stand where I was at the start. This man is wasting everyone's time trying to sell to the ignorant public.
 
May 11, 2008
18,914
982
126
I understand, but if the raw material is cheaper than the recycling process, it is worthless and isn't ecomonically viable. While some day it may be (if/when most oil wells dry up), it isn't now. Hell, great strides are being made in biodegradeable polylactic acid plastics.

Now that we are thoughly off topic, I still stand where I was at the start. This man is wasting everyone's time trying to sell to the ignorant public.

Well, that is the point. It is not cheaper. Because in the end you have to clean up the mess you made anyway. If that is after the oil wells have dried up or before does not matter. To be honest it is an advantage to properly reuse resource now because when the oil really get scarce, no alternatives have to be looked for, no waste has to be cleaned up and no wars have to be fought over the remaining oil. That is the problem with the economy nowadays. Make money now, care about all the problems later. But then all those solutions have to be payed for as well.

If the machine produces carcinogens then you are right.
I too do not think it is handy for a developing country to have such a machine around people. On the other hand, developing countries could use help in making clean chemical waste processing plants. But those cost money.
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,348
1
81
No because wind blows but plastic is destroying the environment because it has no worth. This process incentivises its destruction by giving its collection value.
Ignorant hippy. How much of this destructive substance do you see in these pictures?
icu.jpg

10002708.jpg

how&

sandbag-main_full.jpg

Grocery-Store-thumb.jpg
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,277
125
106
Here is what I would like to know (and I am skeptical of the whole process.)

1. How much energy is required to make this happen? If it cost more energy to get the oil out of the plastic then there is useful oil, this is worthless.
2. What about impurities such as dyes?
3. All plastics aren't the same. How can this device guarantee that the plastic used will be broken down into oil?

If it passes these tests and is economically viable to mass produce/operate, then I don't have a problem with it. Getting rid of the garbage island in the pacific wouldn't be a bad thing.
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,348
1
81
Here is what I would like to know (and I am skeptical of the whole process.)

1. How much energy is required to make this happen? If it cost more energy to get the oil out of the plastic then there is useful oil, this is worthless.
2. What about impurities such as dyes?
3. All plastics aren't the same. How can this device guarantee that the plastic used will be broken down into oil?

If it passes these tests and is economically viable to mass produce/operate, then I don't have a problem with it. Getting rid of the garbage island in the pacific wouldn't be a bad thing.
No one here will bother answering you because this device makes them feel good about the future world without plastics. Since they feel good about such a world, there can be no technical limitations on a device which would magically make it come true. Like I said, see the second line in my sig for an explanation of this wonderful phenomenon.
 

desy

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2000
5,424
196
106
From what it says it takes 1kw to make 1l of oil from what I've read elsewhere 1l of oil contains 10kw of energy. I don't know if these types of oil are even close to apples to apples.
The other argument, cheaper original oil stock has the economic advantage wouldn't be the case if oil wasn't subsidized and the TOTAL product cycle including pollution was factored into the original price. As it sits plastics can be made but its somebodies elses problem to deal with where if recycling was more relfectivein the orignal price that could pay for this type of plant
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,277
125
106
From what it says it takes 1kw to make 1l of oil from what I've read elsewhere 1l of oil contains 10kw of energy. I don't know if these types of oil are even close to apples to apples.
The other argument, cheaper original oil stock has the economic advantage wouldn't be the case if oil wasn't subsidized and the TOTAL product cycle including pollution was factored into the original price. As it sits plastics can be made but its somebodies elses problem to deal with where if recycling was more relfectivein the orignal price that could pay for this type of plant

A kilowatt is a measure of power, not energy. I'm trying to come up with a good analogy here... It is like asking the question "How much water is in that container" and getting the answer "about 1 gallon per minute".

In other words, Whoever wrote the article is a moron.
 
Last edited:

desy

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2000
5,424
196
106
Its the comparison to make
It takes 1kw to create a 1l of oil using this method of useless stock material into something usefull
1l of oil at its essence has 10kw of energy therefore at the very least you are net energy ahead not behind with all the advantages of a liquid petroleum product

I meant kwhr too lazy to type it out
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,277
125
106
Its the comparison to make
It takes 1kw to create a 1l of oil using this method of useless stock material into something usefull
1l of oil at its essence has 10kw of energy therefore at the very least you are net energy ahead not behind with all the advantages of a liquid petroleum product

I meant kwhr too lazy to type it out

The article didn't specify things in kilowatt hours. I am not going to make the assumption that is what they meant because 1 kilowatt is a perfectly reasonable heating power requirement. If it takes 10 hours to create a liter of gas, then this thing is worthless.

Not only that, but whille Crude has an energy density of about 10kwh/Liter. That is the absolute energy contained. We don't have any sort of device that is capable of getting 100% efficient oil burning. In fact, if this is burned in a ICE, or anything less then a large scale power plant, we are looking at energy efficiency around 37% MAX. That means that we get 3.7 kwhr effective out of the oil. So if the device consumes 1kw, that means it must convert in a time less then 3.7 hours to get a net energy gain.
 
Last edited:

ShawnD1

Lifer
May 24, 2003
15,987
2
81
One of the biggest contributors to causing 'Oil Spills' is a tire fire:

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

Wow. I had no idea tire fires were that hardcore. The article has a few examples
1983 – Seven million tires burn in Winchester, Virginia for nine months, polluting nearby areas with lead and arsenic. The location was cleaned up as a Superfund project from 1983 to 2002.[3]

1984 – A pile estimated at four million tires, known locally as Mount Firestone, ignited in Everett, Washington and burned for months as the fire department was unable to extinguish it.[4]

1989 – In Heyope (near Knighton, Powys, Wales) a fire involved approximately 10 million tires burnt for at least 15 years.[5]

1990 – In Hagersville, Ontario, a fire started in a 12 to 14 million tire pile. It burned for 17 days and nearly forced 4,000 people to evacuate.[6]

1998 – A grass fire ignited the 7 million tires at the unlicensed S.F. Royster Tire Disposal Facility in Tracy, California. It was extinguished, after 26 months, with water and foam in December, 2000.[7]

1999 – On August 21st, arsonists ignited the former Kirby Tire Recycling facility, containing an estimate 25 million tires located on 110 acres near Sycamore, Ohio. The fire burned for 30 hours, involved over 250 firefighters, the Ohio National Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and caused significant environmental damage. The fire was controlled and finally extinguished in part by covering it with dirt. In the preceding years the EPA has performed a massive clean up effort on the site.[8][9]

1999 – Lightning struck a tire dump in Westley, California, which burned for 30 days. Pyrolitic oil flowed into a nearby stream and also ignited.

Pinky! Are you thinking what I'm thinking? We should burn tires as a way of generating electricity.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
71,776
5,851
126
One kilogram of plastic produces almost one liter of oil. To convert that amount takes about 1 kilowatt of electricity, which is approximately ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth.
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,277
125
106
One kilogram of plastic produces almost one liter of oil. To convert that amount takes about 1 kilowatt of electricity, which is approximately ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth.

A watt is not a unit of energy.
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,348
1
81
Maybe if you and your hippy friends could be bothered to recycle rather than throwing your plastic in the rivers, we wouldn't be having these problems. Or didn't you notice that all of those pictures were in California? Maybe you'd be better off recognizing that plastic isn't the problem - it is a tool. The people who litter are the problem. People who are littering wouldn't use a process like this even if it somehow magically worked. But apparently you want to throw the premature baby out with the bathwater.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
71,776
5,851
126
A watt is not a unit of energy.

You said earlier:

"A kilowatt is a measure of power, not energy. I'm trying to come up with a good analogy here... It is like asking the question "How much water is in that container" and getting the answer "about 1 gallon per minute".

In other words, Whoever wrote the article is a moron."

Then CW said:

"No one here will bother answering you because this device makes them feel good about the future world without plastics. Since they feel good about such a world, there can be no technical limitations on a device which would magically make it come true. Like I said, see the second line in my sig for an explanation of this wonderful phenomenon."

desy then answered your question and got more grief.

So I tried to find the answer and quoted what I did above, that the process takes one kilogram of plastic to produce almost one liter of oil, using X watts of electricity for Y amount of time costing ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth. Now it would seem to me that you are the moron who can't read because if a kilowatt hour of electricity costs around 20 cents and somebody uses 20 cents worth, they they are using the equivalent of one kwh and if the machine contains a 1000w microwave unit, then it takes an hour to produce the oil.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
71,776
5,851
126
Maybe if you and your hippy friends could be bothered to recycle rather than throwing your plastic in the rivers, we wouldn't be having these problems. Or didn't you notice that all of those pictures were in California? Maybe you'd be better off recognizing that plastic isn't the problem - it is a tool. The people who litter are the problem. People who are littering wouldn't use a process like this even if it somehow magically worked. But apparently you want to throw the premature baby out with the bathwater.

You are right. People are absolutely worthless, especially hippies, and what we need is a machine that produces soylent green.

Plastic is a tool. hahahahahaha

Not as big a tool as you are.
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,277
125
106
You said earlier:

"A kilowatt is a measure of power, not energy. I'm trying to come up with a good analogy here... It is like asking the question "How much water is in that container" and getting the answer "about 1 gallon per minute".

In other words, Whoever wrote the article is a moron."

Then CW said:

"No one here will bother answering you because this device makes them feel good about the future world without plastics. Since they feel good about such a world, there can be no technical limitations on a device which would magically make it come true. Like I said, see the second line in my sig for an explanation of this wonderful phenomenon."

desy then answered your question and got more grief.

So I tried to find the answer and quoted what I did above, that the process takes one kilogram of plastic to produce almost one liter of oil, using X watts of electricity for Y amount of time costing ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth. Now it would seem to me that you are the moron who can't read because if a kilowatt hour of electricity costs around 20 cents and somebody uses 20 cents worth, they they are using the equivalent of one kwh and if the machine contains a 1000w microwave unit, then it takes an hour to produce the oil.

There is no standard electricity price factor... I don't know if you realize that or not. For example, in the US it ranges anywhere from $0.07 to $0.26 / kwh. That means using your simple conversion methods, it could take anywhere from 2.8 hours to 1 hour. I don't know what the energy rates are in japan (and my short googling didn't give me any satisfactory results.)

Again, I have no problem with this device. But I've seen it happen before in the "green" industry where the solution costs more than the problem it is solving.
 

Toastedlightly

Diamond Member
Aug 7, 2004
7,212
5
81
You said earlier:

"A kilowatt is a measure of power, not energy. I'm trying to come up with a good analogy here... It is like asking the question "How much water is in that container" and getting the answer "about 1 gallon per minute".

In other words, Whoever wrote the article is a moron."

Then CW said:

"No one here will bother answering you because this device makes them feel good about the future world without plastics. Since they feel good about such a world, there can be no technical limitations on a device which would magically make it come true. Like I said, see the second line in my sig for an explanation of this wonderful phenomenon."

desy then answered your question and got more grief.

So I tried to find the answer and quoted what I did above, that the process takes one kilogram of plastic to produce almost one liter of oil, using X watts of electricity for Y amount of time costing ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth. Now it would seem to me that you are the moron who can't read because if a kilowatt hour of electricity costs around 20 cents and somebody uses 20 cents worth, they they are using the equivalent of one kwh and if the machine contains a 1000w microwave unit, then it takes an hour to produce the oil.

Do we have a time to produce 1 liter of oil? I didn't hear 1 kw being metioned in the video. You are arguing on the premise of not enough information.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,126
209
106
No because wind blows but plastic is destroying the environment because it has no worth. This process incentivises its destruction by giving its collection value.


If we could somehow filter out the TONS of plastics in our oceans, get people to recycle more plastic and stop using plastic bags at grocery stores, etc...etc...

Maybe then we might put a dent in the impact plastics are having on the planet/environment.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
71,776
5,851
126
There is no standard electricity price factor... I don't know if you realize that or not. For example, in the US it ranges anywhere from $0.07 to $0.26 / kwh. That means using your simple conversion methods, it could take anywhere from 2.8 hours to 1 hour. I don't know what the energy rates are in japan (and my short googling didn't give me any satisfactory results.)

Again, I have no problem with this device. But I've seen it happen before in the "green" industry where the solution costs more than the problem it is solving.

I thought it rather obvious that the price was in yen and the average for Japan and which converts to 20c American, on the high end of average here.

Cost is of course a problem but the problem here isn't the cost of the electricity but the cost of the machine. There are other companies building whole plants that handle tons of dirty plastic on a large scale. These machines are mostly for schools, where the intent is, CW are you listening, to create awareness of the need to recycle our waste, to show folk that waste has value and should be recycled. They are working on larger machines too.

Clearly, as mentioned above, the best solution in future, I think, will be plastic that bio-degrades because plastic is made to satisfy human nature, convenience so cheap you can throw it away. A huge portion of the economy is based on the fact that people are pigs, no? Pigs sucking on pigs destroy the world, and pigs don't care except well, maybe, maybe, when the oceans start to die. But even in a perfect world plastic will get into the environment and create problems.
 
Last edited:

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
71,776
5,851
126
If we could somehow filter out the TONS of plastics in our oceans, get people to recycle more plastic and stop using plastic bags at grocery stores, etc...etc...

Maybe then we might put a dent in the impact plastics are having on the planet/environment.

You can't filter out the plastic in the oceans. Nobody has that much money and you would also filter out all the life there. Have a look at my link. As long as there is money to be made destroying the world, the dream will be to be the last guy alive, the winner of everything. See the problem isn't the hippies who throw shit away, it's the asshole chemists that make it knowing they will. ;)