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Old 08-01-2012, 02:11 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shovel View Post
Here I admit to not having hard data to confirm this, but it seems like a plastic grocery bag weighs about 5 grams and if I go to the store and buy $100 worth of groceries I'll have maybe 35 or 40 grams of grocery bags, or less than 1.5 ounces of material. If pyrolysis is enormously efficient it could net a quarter ounce of fuel. Will that get me home from the grocery store?
I did not realize that there was an unstated assumption that you must create the alternative fuel only on whatever you yourself can supply... If there is, then you are probably right... you yourself would not be able to produce enough fuel only on the plastic grocery bags you get (if you even get any) to get you to the store.

If not, then I do hope that you (and we) don't limit ourselves to a very tiny fraction of what is produced by hydrocarbons (plastic grocery bags) if we were to go the direction of pyrolysis... landfills & wrecking yards are absolutely packed with hydrocarbon-based products (especially plastics) that aren't being (or can't be) recycled in the traditional sense. Let's do a quick list:
  • Tires
  • Automotive interior panels
  • Automotive engine parts
  • Automotive exterior panels
  • Computer Cases
  • Laptop Cases
  • Display (TV, Monitor) Cases
  • Printer cases and parts
  • Toner, inkjet cases
  • Medicine bottles
  • Shower curtains
  • Plastic corrective lenses
  • Canoes, kayaks, etc (plastic ones, of course)
  • Children's toys
  • Advertising, political banners
  • Motorcycle bodywork
  • Polyester carpets, cloth, clothes, etc
  • etc, etc, etc... I'm sure you can think of another 10, 20, 100 list items
Think we might be able to find enough of those kinds of items to get you (and me and everyone else) to the store?

While you could certainly generate the fuel through pyrolysis yourself at home, I think it only really makes sense at a large scale... a plant that takes all the different types of hydrocarbons, preps them for processing, and then turns them into fuel. Heck, they can charge to pick up the waste products and then charge to sell the resulting fuel... income on both ends!
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