Non-recycled plastics (NRPs), which make up 12.4 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW), have high value as a feedstock for conversion to energy or fuel because of their potentially significant heating value. (Source: Gershman, Brickner & Bratton/US EPA)
First you just need to heat up 50% of plastics into a gas which then is taken off in temp controlled seperators not unlike moonshine. Just how difficult is that?
Next they in many cases pay you to take it too.
Ethanol certianly doesn't take more energy than it uses. That was a very well done myth propganda by big oil. If you calculate gasoline the same way it takes 4x's as much energy/gal to produce for instance.
Let's not forget the dried mash is a far better human, animal food than the corn is as far higher in much higher quality protein, thus doesn't take food , just makes it better. Everything it still there but the starch. Next you get all the corn oil plus the value of the stalks, cobs, etc. So many byproducts the feedstock is nearly free from their sales in a modern ethanol plant.
Nor in the 15 yrs ago your rigged 'data' comes from, Ethanol plants now use far less energy as does growing the corn crop.
Facts are it makes many thousands of US jobs instead of them going to oil dictators, terrorists and is responsable for a 10% drop in US oil prices by cutting imports 20%.
Let's try to go a little deeper than believing the propaganda by big oil.
I have no dog in this fight as I drive EV's at a fraction of a similar gasoline/ethanol vehicle total costs.
I really wonder about the economics of turning plastics into gasoline. Of course it could be done but it may be a waste of money, and there may be other far less expensive uses and conversions. The problem is that just because something can be done is no indication that it is a good choice. Just look at the alcohol from corn, which consumes more energy than the alcohol can deliver, in addition to bidding up the price of food corn. We can make gasoline from newspaper, but who wants to pay $45 per gallon for it? That is my point.
Following up on this thread, I think it would have been nice if you had included some more details about the cost implications of implementing gasification projects, especially at the municipal level under IWM systems. Even though such a venture is definitely cost efficient in the long run, am not so sure about its short term benefits.
I agree with you Ann that gasification has a lot of potential in integrated waste management in the community. This potential can be fully harnessed if the IWM systems are adopted at the municipal level. This will help many municipalities cure 2 of their biggest headaches at the same time; the disposal of municipal solid waste and the improvement of livelihoods.
notarboca, I'm extremely concerned about plastic in the ocean, too. Gasification systems may or may not be made small enough to fit on a boat, but pyrolysis systems sure can be. We wrote about them here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=269499 The Clean Oceans Project (TCOP) is working with at least one pyrolysis system maker to develop a shipboard plastic-to-fuel conversion system that would provide fuel for TCOP's collection vessels out of collected plastic waste, eliminating the need to return to shore to dispose of that waste: http://thecleanoceansproject.com/?page_id=18
far911, what you describe is the way things used to be done, but aren't anymore since they're not allowed to by law, which the EPA enforces. At least in the US, as well as Europe and Canada, gasification and other processes like pyrolysis heat waste to high temperatures--they don't burn it. And nowadays they do so in entirely closed systems. Today, even mass burn and other processes that do use combustion take place in entirely closed systems, so nothing gets into the atmosphere. These processes are described in the report.
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