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You Tell Us: Cooking Up a New Fuel Source

2 min read

A US $5 million, city-bus-size microwave oven that Global Resource Corp. (GRC) is building for an auto recycler on Long Island, in New York, is slated to give the TV dinner treatment to 6 million tires this year. The machine will turn the tires and other hydrocarbon-based scraps, like the plastic and vinyl in a car, into fuel. The process is simple: As the tires melt down, their chemical bonds are broken and they release hydrocarbon gases, some of which can be condensed into diesel fuel. The rest can be burned like natural gas.

A single tire can yield nearly 4 liters of diesel, about 1.5 cubic meters of combustible gas and more than 3 kilograms of carbon coke, which can be used in pigmenting plastic or making new tires.

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Greg Mably

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