Friday, December 31, 2010

Turning Old Carpets Into Oil: Garbage to Energy

Four billion pounds of carpet enter waste streams in the U.S. each year, says CEO Ron Simonetti. Five pounds of oil go into a single pound of nylon, so annually the U.S. could curb oil exports by millions of barrels via recycling. _GTM

US companies are scrambling to find economical ways to use garbage and waste profitably. From municipal solid waste to sewage to discarded tyres and carpets to farm and forest waste, the US is endowed with plentiful waste materials. The key is devising economical processes to convert and recycle the waste to valuable products.
The key to MCR’s technology is a precipitation/distillation process it calls DynaSep. First, carpet goes to a recycler where it gets shaved. The backing, made of calcium carbonate, goes to one company and MCR takes the fibers.

MCR dissolves the fiber in formic acid to make a nylon soup. Then comes the secret precipitation process. The process occurs at room temperature, but at an elevated pressure. In the end, the process fleeces out the dirt so that the company is left with 99 percent pure nylon and a reusable tub of formic acid. _GTM

Here is a nice online directory for Waste to Energy

Other materials used in carpet-making are not as easily recycled in this way as is nylon. For them, other approaches for conversion to high value products will be necessary.

The prime shortage is the shortage of human ingenuity, inventiveness, and ambition.



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