Plastic Waste Recovery to Pay for Air Carbon Capture and LFTR Reactor Conversion Research

How to Pay to Institute a System for Air Carbon Capture and for a Conversion from Coal Plants to LFTR Nuclear Reactors by using World Plastic Waste Recovery.

 

As you will see we have untapped resources that are abundant enough to pay for both Air Carbon Capture and for converting the US Coal fire plants to LFTR nuclear reactors for a reasonable investment that will be paid back in under two years. It would be worth it for the US to make this investment both domestically and internationally. It would boost the economy, provide us with a solution to global warming, and would clean up the environment at the same time. I have presented other articles on Air Carbon Capture and LFTR nuclear reactor conversion economics. An adaptation of the method outlined here will relieve the United States contribution to global warming and will setup the economic and engineering machinery necessary to provide many nations a sustainable energy solution for the future.

Like the two unmatched eyes of the hunchback of Notre Dame these two spinning piles face outward toward space. They are made entirely of trash, a peering legacy of human technological development matched only by the “Who Cares” attitude about the existence of these self-assembled dumps.

They are caused by the natural currents in the North Pacific Ocean. These spinning piles rotate in opposite directions. One off the East coast of China, the left eye as seen from space rotates counter clockwise, while the other is off the West Coast of the USA and spins clockwise. They are center of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

They represent a poisonous hazard field to the life in the Pacific. What can be seen floating barely breaks the surface, hiding beneath them billions of smaller trash circles that must be represented by some thermodynamic equation only dreamt up by a mathematical genius. Their location and dynamics make it hard to pinpoint the exact dimensions of these trash fields which range in estimates from a few hundred miles wide to the size of Texas.

It’s been described as being a continent; I would describe it as the 8th blunder of the world.

Scientists have investigated it but do to its vast dispersal in space it is difficult to get a grasp on. One thing is sure the biodegradable components don’t last long and are a source of food for the microbes which leaves behind the plastics which are not biodegradable. The microbes don’t see it as a source of food. As it floats and bakes in the sun, it photo-degrades and breaks apart as the chemical bonds of the polymers break down.

The fish, birds, and other marine organisms end up ingesting the tine microscopic pieces of plastic and get tangled up in the large ones. The large ones kill off the marine animals and birds, while the smaller ones become poisonous pills that enter the food chain.

It is made from the trash that is left on beaches, the stuff that falls off trash boats that are headed toward their destinations and is made up of fishing nets that float away from ships.

It seems crazy but the shipping industry loses thousands of shipping containers that fall off of ships each year (Presumably in rough seas.) For a reason that I don’t understand they are not securely tied to the ships. Perhaps this is because the ships would tip over instead of losing the containers. I am not sure. The result is that they end up at the bottom of the sea, they break apart and it just adds to the problem.

The word “plastic” is used to describe a collection of artificial or man made chemical compounds that come in about as many shapes, sizes, and colors as you can imagine! For example, foam carry-out containers (made of polystyrene) and bottle caps (made of polypropylene) are items that would be considered plastic marine debris if found in our oceans or waterways.

Indirect Impacts – Plastic debris accumulates pollutants such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) up to 100,000 to 1,000,000 times the levels found in seawater. PCBs, which were mainly used as coolant fluids, were banned in the U.S. in 1979 and internationally in 2001. It is still unclear whether these pollutants can seep from plastic debris into the organisms that happen to eat the debris and very difficult to determine the exact source of these pollutants as they can come from sources other than plastic debris. More research is needed to help better understand these areas.

 

So this brings us to the subject of this story. What can we do to get rid of all the plastic?  Unfortunately it represents a huge engineering problem. Plastic waste recovery from its source is easier. The plastic is suspended in the waters with large swaths of space between little floating islands.  The particular size ranges from very large pieces to microscopic pieces. You can scrape the surface and get rid of the top layer but what about what’s beneath? Also how do you get the plastics without killing off the fish in the process?

Stopping it at the source is the best possible method with today’s technology. I will get to that very shortly so please bear with me a little longer. It’s worth the wait.

In the future a microorganism that can live in ocean waters and pressures can be engineered to digest the plastics that are suspended in the oceans as a method of cleaning up what is there.  We have been getting closer to the goal of finding a bacterium that digests trash and turns it into burnable products. Unfortunately the great garbage circles are going to be there for a long time, even if we stop the plastic at its source by instituting reprocessing of plastics from dumps, we are going to find that what’s there will be poisoning the oceans for a long time.

Even if we do engineer a bacterium that eats plastic, would it be safe to release it into the oceans?

We would have to borrow the caution from the bioengineering attempts that are under way to digest plants into fuel. Creating super organism and letting it loose in the environment would have to involve giving that organism several dependencies on feed stock (amino acids) that we would give it access to and when we no longer need the bacterium, we would stop feeding it the life sustaining mechanism. We would have to be sure is that these amino acids are not found in the environment and no substitute is available. Evolution of organism is slow but faulty design would have the same result as bioengineering plants that get free in the environment and mix with natural stocks.  This has already happened with unforeseen consequences.

For example, a study done in France found that  “In it(the study), researchers found that rats on diets consisting of 11%, 22%, and 33% Roundup-resistant genetically modified corn developed far more mammary tumors than control rats on non-GMO corn diets. GMO diet rats died earlier and in greater numbers. 

Making a bioengineered organism with multiple dependencies should allow us to use them with a high probability that they won’t survive in the wild.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have succeeded in genetically altering Ralstonia eutropha soil bacteria in such a way that they are able to convert carbon into isobutanol, an alcohol that can be blended with or even substituted for gasoline.”

and

Currently, the genetically modified microbes are getting their carbon from fructose. It is expected that with further alterations, however, they should be able to draw it from industrial carbon dioxide gas emissions. In fact, the scientists believe that properly bioengineered R. eutropha should be able to feed on carbon from almost any source, such as agricultural or municipal waste.

But what of the drawbacks? What will happen if a synthetic organism escapes a lab? Most likely, nothing. With complete control over the genomes of their organisms, synbioengineers can introduce specific weaknesses into their organisms, such as a dependency on a particular amino acid, so that lab experiments have little chance of surviving in the wild. Without the noise data that natural organisms have in their genomes, synthetic organisms will also be very limited in genetic variation and virtually unable to adapt to new conditions. The probability of them hybridizing with wild varieties is also limited – they are synthetic organisms that have little in common with natural life and thus even less chance of recombinants surviving. Compared to organisms created using previous genetic engineering methods, synthetic organisms are much safer, not only because they lack the survival techniques found in nature, but also because they are better understood. Every gene in the organism is there intentionally with a specific purpose and a known function. This greatly lessens the risk of unknown genes triggering allergic reactions, one of the major fears in genetically modified food.

In my vision it would work something like this. We would seed both the bacterium and the “bio-dependency “food” over an area of water, it would consume the plastics and transform it into something less harmful. When the bio dependencies are consumed, the bacterium would die. Obviously if we used the bacterium that transforms trash into “gasoline” like products, this wouldn’t be good, since it would serve to pollute the environment further. But if we could engineer a bacterium to transform it into something less harmful we could potentially have a solution to this problem. It would be ideal if we could transform into something that doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases.

The release of large quantities of synthetic compounds into the environment has resulted in the evolution of new degradative functions by indigenous microorganisms, which may have resulted from the transfer of genetic materials, since microbial populations in nature seem to be capable of 3 substantial movement of genes between both the same and different genera and species.

There are many perils, and much development necessary to get us to the point where we can clean up the Hunchback eyes, but I think serious consideration of the matter should be taken. I would guess that a solution will be within our grasp within the next 20 – 50 years.

In the meantime, several companies, and much research is going into the development of methods of degrading trash and capturing the gases. By reducing trash into compost with oxygen, it breaks down much more favorably. Fairly new technology exists for transforming plastics it into gasoline.  Recycling Electronic Waste is also beneficial.

Recycling diverts nearly 70 million tons of e-waste away from landfills and incinerators every year.

 

However from my personal experience in the IT industry, I know much of the “recycled” waste still ends up in landfills around the world. It is often sold to other countries where it becomes “their” problem instead of ours. We could do much better in this regard.

The benefits of e-waste recycling extend to:

  • elimination of health and environmental hazards
  • conservation of resources
  • energy efficiency
  • economic growth

 

A well-run curbside recycling program can cost anywhere from $50 to more than $150 per ton…trash collection and disposal programs, on the other hand, cost anywhere from $70 to more than $200 per ton. This demonstrates that, while there’s still room for improvements, recycling can be cost-effective.

 

Landfills contain the following

 

The Netherlands are a perfect example of a country that doesn’t use landfills along with Germany, Sweden.

For further analysis purposes I will address the Combustible Materials.

…One of the great benefits of converting plastic to fuel is that the fuel burns cleaner because of a low sulfur content. Navarro estimates that the fuel will be 10-20 percent cheaper because of the low production costs since the raw material is available in such large quantities.

In September 2008, a company called Envion opened a 5 million dollar plant that converts 6,000 tons of plastic into nearly million barrels of oil like substance that can be combined with gasoline or diesel to make burnable fuel. The literature and articles on the subject indicate the process costs around $10 per barrel.

Nationwide, 50 million tons of plastic waste is generated annually, according to the company.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot find any current information on it, and it leads me to believe that it must be some kind of misinformation. In fact I found several companies with similar technologies but none have made their scientific data public!

A simple calculation shows us that 8,334 of these plants would be required to convert all wasted plastic into fuel each year giving us nearly 8 billion barrels of oil. Oil costs us $112 dollars a barrel.  That’s a cost of 416,670,000,000 or 417 Billion dollars for 8,334 plants. That same one year’s worth of oil would cost us 896,000,000,000. That means this would pay us back twice over in ONE year!  Heating oil cost is above $3.18 a gallon. This process can create it at 7 to 12 cents per gallon!

The problem is I cannot confirm these numbers as being legitimate. In fact they don’t seem to hold water. 8 tons making 1 million barrels of oil does not work out on a volume basis.  So I went on another search for what appears to be more legit numbers that I can confirm.

When I was about to give up I found this company! (Note: I am not saying they are the only legitimate company, but that it’s the only one I could find data on. So I use their numbers here.)

I found this company which has several offices around the world. It’s called e-e-nergy.com. They have a dozen products in the works but they do not have engineering numbers on the larger models. ( I would venture a guess is that the largest units are cost prohibitive for testing by such a small company but will be available when a customer orders one.  For that reason, I am going to use the numbers for a smaller unit, the “B-2400”.)

 

 

Unit B-2400 Unit B-2400
Input Capacity 2000 lbs./Day or 1 Ton or 365 Tons /Yr. 
Crude Output 285 (Gal/Day) or 104,025 (Gal/Yr.) Updated Figure, Document Still Needs updating for the revised figures. I have done a preliminary recalculation and the profits are around 3.735 Trillion with a capital expenditure of . Have to check my figures for the 2nd third and fourth times since its a lot of calculations . Stay Tuned.
Plastic Types Used Converts Poly Propylene, Poly Ethylene and PolyStyrene Materials to Oil (HDPE #2,LDPE #4, PP #5, PS #6, ABS #7)
Plastic Types unable to Convert PVC
Power Consumed 70 (KW/hr.)
Process Time Continuous (24 hours)
Weight of Unit Unknown
Cubic Dimensions of the Device  5′ x 8′ x 5’
Maintenance Cost Blest Co. experience in Japan during 8 years of production is that an annual shut down for maintenance is sufficient.  E.N-ergy provides a one year warranty and maintenance contract with machines sold in America.  The bearings at the end of the augurs need to be replaced annual.  I can’t give an exact number, but maintenance costs are very low.
Type of Maintenance Needed On a monthly basis, a residue drum containing up to about 12 lbs. of non-toxic plastic ash otherwise known as carbon char will need to be emptied. (Approximately  .1 % by volume) How much will be in the drum will vary on the size of the machine and your monthly throughput. Annually, the machines will need to have their seals replaced, drives swept and dusted, scales calibrated and some minor lubrication.
Maintenance Time Under 3 hours per month + Annual Bearing Changes
Who Performs Maintenance E-N-ergy would be pleased to take on the challenge of building a staff to provide maintenance for these machines.
Normal Maintenance Change Gaskets, Cleaning
Cost for Unit $949,000
Cost When Purchasing 100,000 Units Not Available
Power Density of the Output Fuel Same as Fuel oil
Unrefined Oil Can Be Used BoilersHeating OilGeneratorsBiodiesel fuelHeavy EquipmentOlder Diesel CarsDiesel TrucksMarine DieselSold to a Refinery
Refining` The oil product produced by the continuous processing system is a Mixed synthetic oil compound composed of Gasoline, Diesel #2, Kerosene and Heavy Oil equivalents.  The hydrocarbon refining systems will break out these fuels into individual drums.  Because the amount of each element will vary by the plastic feed stock, the amount of each type of fuel will vary as well.  You can estimate that you will get between 20 – 35% of each type of fuel.• Gasoline (78 – 83 Octane)• Diesel (#2 Equivalent)• Kerosene• Heavy Oil (Mustard Oil Equivalent)
Mixture Requirements in order to Make Fuel Combust Refinement separation requirement unless using it as crude listed above.
Cleanness of Fuel (Necessary Refinement) Cleaned by refinement
Availability of Parts on a Large Scale Most parts are off the shelf parts and could be obtained in larger quantities
Mass Production Cost Reduction Possible? Mass Production would have an additional benefit of reduced cost, exact amounts are undetermined

 

The US produces 37,000,000 tons of plastic waste each year that is suitable for processing with these machines out of 250,000,000 tons of trash. That’s about 14.8 % potential plastic recyclables. Worldwide that would be 25,000,000,000. That is 25 billion tons of recyclable plastic worldwide, according to Wikipedia. What’s interesting is that the actual estimates of available recyclable plastics vary greatly.

According to the company these units pay for themselves in fourteen to 18 months. They also stated that producing the units in scales could potentially save a lot of capital cost. To be conservative I am going to assume a savings cost on this scale of 30%. That means the US cost would be 67.34 billion. Since the Machines pay for themselves in  14 to 18 months, reduced by 30% we come to a self-paid in 12.6 months at the maximum payback time or 9.8 months for the minimum payback time. If we average the two we get a figure of 11.2 months payback time. Let’s make it easy and round that to 1 year even.

There are three other major categories of cost to consider.

  1. Power Costs
  2. Maintenance Cost
  3. 3.       Labor Required to Sort Through the Trash

Facts Associated with Converting All USA Recyclable Plastics to Fuel

Number of Tons of Plastic Waste Produced Per Year 37 million tons
Number of Tons of Municipal Solid Waste Produced 250 million tons
Total Number of Machines Needed to Convert  One Year Worth of Plastic to Fuel 101,370 Machine Units of Type B-2400
Machine Capital Investment Cost $96.2 billion
Machine Maintenance Cost $3000/Yr. or $30,000 10/YR. (Figure Assumes a 10 Yr. Life since machines in existence show no major wear and tear after 5 Years in service with the exception of gaskets and bearings which are replaced during maintenance—this is a very conservative figure)
Cost for All Required Machines Assuming 30% Economies of Scale $67.34 Billion
Fuel Produced by US Units 23,976,032,400 gallons/Yr.
Fuel Consumed by US Units 4,286,912,345 gallons/Yr.
Net Fuel Output Gain 19,689,120,055 gallons/Yr.
Fuel  Combustion Value 137,000(Btu/US gal) – 141,800 (Btu/US gal)Average (139,400 (Btu/US gal)) or 42.242 kw/h(139400Btu/3300 Btu per KW/h)
Fuel Consumed By All Machines 70KW/hr *24 hours*365 days in a year =613,200 KW/hrs * 101370 units= 62,160,084,000 KW/hrs total/42.242 kw/h per gallon = 1,471,523,223 gallons of fuel oil consumed or 1.5 Billion Gallons of fuel oil Consumed
Power Costs 613,200kw/H Per Yr.
Current USA Price for Fuel $3.80 Per Gallon
Total Value for Net  Fuel Output Gain $74,818,656,209 /Yr.
Machine Life At Least 10 Years
Maintenance Cost $3000 /Yr. (see above chart for details)
Total Value of Fuel over 10 Year Projected Life Cycle $652 Billion/10 Yr.
Trash Sorting Cost $43.75 Billion/Yr. or 437.5 Billion/10 Yr. ($175/Ton includes $25/ton grinding)
Total Value Minus (Capital Cost and Sorting Cost) with 30% Capital Savings $147.16 Billion/10 Yr.

 

Facts Associated with Converting All World Recyclable Plastics to Fuel

Number of Tons of Plastic Waste Produced Per Year 270 Million Tons (Included PVC Don’t have a PVC % worldwide figures so this would actually reduce recyclables by an unknown percentage but probably less than 15% )
Number of Tons of Municipal Solid Waste Produced 5 Billion Tons
Total Number of Machines Needed to Convert  One Year Worth of Plastic to Fuel 821,918 Machine Units of Type B-2400
Machine Capital Investment Cost $780 billion
Machine Maintenance Cost $3000/Yr. or $30,000 10/YR. (Figure Assumes a 10 Yr. Life since machines in existence show no major wear and tear after 5 Years in service with the exception of gaskets and bearings which are replaced during maintenance—this is a very conservative figure)
Cost for All Required Machines Assuming 30% Economies of Scale $546 billion for 10 Year Minimum life cycle
Fuel Produced by US Units 194 billion gallons/Yr.
Fuel Consumed By All Machines 70KW/hr *24 hours*365 days in a year =613,200 KW/hrs * 821918 units= 504,000,117,600 KW/hrs total/42.242 kw/h per gallon = 11,943,130,749 gallons of fuel oil consumed or 11.943 Billion Gallons of fuel oil Consumed
Fuel Consumed by US Units 11.943 Billion gallons/Yr.
Net Fuel Output Gain 182.06 Billion gallons/Yr.
Fuel Combustion Value 137,000(Btu/US gal) – 141,800 (Btu/US gal)Average (139,400 (Btu/US gal)) or 42.242 kw/h(139400Btu/3300 Btu per KW/h)
Power Costs 613,200kw/H Per Yr.
Current USA Price for Fuel $3.80 Per Gallon
Total Value for Net  Fuel Output Gain $692 Billion/Yr.
Machine Life At Least 10 Years
Maintenance Cost $3000 /Yr. (see above chart for details)
Total Value of Fuel over 10 Year Projected Life Cycle $6.920 Trillion
Trash Sorting Cost (USA Labor & Dollars) 47.250 Billion/Yr. or 472.50 Billion/10 Yrs.
Total Value Minus (Capital Cost and Sorting Cost) with 30% Capital Savings $5.9015 Trillion

 

Note: This does not include all the income that could be made by digging up all the dumps that exist and recycling the plastic. We would have an untapped supply that has been accumulating for at least 40 years! Plastic waste recovery is not only possible but economically favorable. Plastic waste recovery will line our pockets with money and will get rid of a huge problem while providing us a huge source of fuel.

NOTE: These figures have been revised I mistakenly defined 1 Ton as 5280 pounds which is actually the number of feet in a mile instead of 2000 pounds. This has caused there to be a rise in the number of machines thus capital cost of the investment.

Input Capacity 2000 lbs./Day or 1 Ton or 365 Tons /Yr. 
Crude Output 285 (Gal/Day) or 104,025 (Gal/Yr.) Updated Figure, Document Still Needs updating for the revised figures. I have done a preliminary recalculation and the profits are around 3.735 Trillion. Have to check my figures for the 2nd third and fourth times since its a lot of calculations . Stay Tuned.

In order to recycle the plastic we were forced to sort the rest of the waste! That gives us a huge resource and money mine that we haven’t taken advantage of yet. Please Stay tuned for Part two of this three part article to see the value of the rest of the waste that we can recover!

Take a look at “Prompt” here at http://madmacmods.com