20 October 2010

Turning Garbage into Treasure -- Human Imagination

Burning tires is like burning money, say executives at RTI Cryogenics, a company that designs and sells equipment and systems that help turn old rubber into cash.

...The Cambridge company installs technology that freezes old tires into a glasslike substance and breaks down that substance into a fine mesh or powder. It also has patent-pending technology that blends rubber with recycled plastic, to turn it into a thermoplastic elastomer that can be used in injection moulding machines. _TheRecord
Hundreds of millions of scrap tires per year are discarded in the US alone, many of them stockpiled, buried in landfills, or simply incinerated. But entire industries are growing up for the purpose of turning discarded tires into useful, high-value economic products.
In pyrolysis waste to energy technology all of the steel from the tires will be recovered and resold in the recyclables marketplace, slightly lessening our need to import steel. There are approximately three pounds of steel per passenger tire. In California then, the 18 million waste tires generated every year would produce approximately 26,000 tons of steel, with the current rate for recycled steel at about $250 per ton.

With a continuous feed of tires, the 5 to 10 percent carbon char that is generated by a pyrolysis waste to energy system has a myriad of practical uses. The char can be sold to manufacturers to produce many commonly used products. Once again we note that using this technology we not only generate electricity and valuable commodities, but we have nothing left over to go to the landfill – zero waste. _Examiner
Old tires can be turned into liquid fuels, gaseous fuels, electricity, plastics, fertilisers, and much more.
Novo Energies has been granted a worldwide exclusive license to use Precision’s proprietary gasification technology to convert plastic and tire waste into energy products including electricity, synthesis gases and other valuable commodities such as recovered steel.

...Antonio Treminio, CEO and chairman of Novo Energies, stated, “In our search for the most efficient and economical methods to convert plastic and used tires into valuable energy products, we have spent the last 12 months evaluating several technologies, including pyrolysis, gasification and microwave based systems. As a result of such efforts, we have selected Precision’s gasification technology based on the following:

  1. Allows efficient conversion of tires and plastic feedstock to energy.

  2. Environmentally friendly – the process produces zero toxic emissions, making it a green energy technology.

  3. The preliminary synthesis gas resulting from conversion of tires and plastic meets strict standards on quality and consistency.

  4. Has the highest carbon conversion of any known gasification system on the market.

  5. Self sufficient by using the produced syngas to power the process.

  6. Low cost of production.

Novo plans to demonstrate the pilot facility in Denver, Colorado, as a showcase unit for government officials, institutions, utility companies and the investment community, as well as augment its output to reach fully commercial quantities. _AmericanRecycler

Here are more innovative uses for scrap tires:
Highway Sound Barriers -- Many states are turning to absorptive sound barriers—structures that soak up sound—to reduce highway noise. The "Whisper Wall" used in Northern Virginia, starts as a mixture of concrete aggregate, cement, water, and small pieces of shredded rubber from scrap tires. The wall deflects sound waves among its nooks and crannies until they lose energy.

Athletic and Recreational Applications -- Several brands of resilient playground rubber surfacing material are being made from recycled tires and sold at major retailers across the US The material can absorb much of the impact from falls providing added safety to children. This material can also be used as a mulch replacement in medians or decorative areas. Athletic and recreational applications are a fast growing market for ground rubber. An estimated 80 million pounds of scrap tire rubber were used in 2001 for athletic/field turf applications (50 million pounds)—above or below the ground—and as loose cover (30 million pounds).

Railroad Ties -- Highly durable, rubber-encased railroad ties are being produced using scrap tires. These railroad ties have a steel-beam core filled with concrete that is then encased in 80 pounds of ground-up scrap tires and discarded plastic bottles, held together with a special binder or glue. These railroad ties are over 200% stronger than creosote-soaked wooden ties, enabling railroads to use fewer ties per mile. Moreover, rubber-encased railroad ties could last 60 to 90 years versus 5 to 30 years for wood. _Source
Scrap Tire News

Problem-solving human imagination is in short supply these days, largely due to shoddy education, neglectful child-raising, and a culture that is focused on time-wasting entertainments and faux crises at the expense of raising generations of new problem-solvers. The human imagination has been referred to as The Ultimate Resource, and as The Mainspring of Human Progress (PDF). It is both of these and much more.

Empowered by language, it represents much of the difference between humans and apes, and between advanced societies and more primitive societies of humans. Those who can imagine ways of transforming garbage into treasure have much more of a future than those destined to drown in their own detritus.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important today to be able to recycle as much as possible.

There is always a use for something long after it has passed its useful age. One can always find alternative uses for objects.

Using old baths for example can be used for growing vegetables in, or they can be used for storing potatoes or root crops if layered with straw. An old bath can also be used as a duck pond if sunk into the ground, or for feeding animals from if you fill it with hay for horses.

Rubber tires have been used by the Africans for years as converted footwear, and nowadays it is being used to make furniture.

We only have one earth. It should be used wisely, and we should recycle as much as possible, where possible in order to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

We can all live a greener life if we put a little thought and effort into what we do with our rubbish.

Countryfarm Lifestyles for Homesteading and Country Living

Sunday, 31 October, 2010  

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