Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by beekeeper » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:25 pm

just take a look at what have been found in russia usa and other places in the world in coal seams and other rocks formation supposedly millions of years old regards Beekeeper
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by starbiter » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:33 pm

beekeeper wrote:just take a look at what have been found in russia usa and other places in the world in coal seams and other rocks formation supposedly millions of years old regards Beekeeper

Hi beekeeper,

Please don't disrupt this uniformitarian thread with talk of catastrophes. I believe it would take many millions of years for volcanoes to produce oil and gas in hard rock, and then have it migrate to the sediments where we find it. The process of volcano oil slowly flowing down rivers into lakes surrounded by dunes of dolomite [not seen today, or described in legend] would probably require millions of years. Especially if the rivers and lakes are over 6,000 feet deep. Please stop implying catastrophe on the Thunderbolts forum!

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by moses » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:04 pm

Dear michael, the whole thrust of this thread is that coal and oil were produced by catastorphic means, compared with being made somehow in the depths.

I find your comment strange considering your catastrophic views on surface formations.

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by starbiter » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:12 pm

moses wrote:Dear michael, the whole thrust of this thread is that coal and oil were produced by catastorphic means, compared with being made somehow in the depths.

I find your comment strange considering your catastrophic views on surface formations.

Dear Moses,

I disagree. I find that this thread has nothing what so ever to do with catastrophe. That's the point. Unless the volcanoes produced the oil in the last 10,000 years. And then the transport from rock to sediment would need to be very rapid, through impermeable rock.

Yours, michael
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by beekeeper » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:28 am

Greeting I personally find these artifacts in these rock formation quite fascinating. The only way this could have happened is that these tools or machinery parts were there when the coal seams we're formed. But according to the existing theory of evolution it is impossible. Something in my view needs some serious revision regards beekeeper
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:41 pm

Well, there is always the "Carbon Cycle" instead of "Catastrophism". How the Carbon Cycle exactly works under impenetrable rock is an interesting question... some "theory" is going to have to "give" in one place or another as discrepancies surface. It is pretty obvious at this point that to account for all Kerogen, Oil, Shale, Coal, Ice Hydrates and NG via the Carbon Cycle -- the current theory of formation needs to be revised. There has never been enough "living" material to account for it all. Especially as Oil and NG are found in deep wells 1,000s of feet under the oceans. Basic coverage below:


The Carbon Cycle


Uniquely among all elements, carbon atoms are able to form very stable covalent bonds with other carbon atoms, to form rings and very long chains. This allows very large and complex molecules of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and other elements to be formed, and it is these very complex organic molecules, containing hundreds or even thousands of carbon atoms, which make up the structures of all living things. Organic molecules always contain carbon. There is more about this on the Organic Chemistry Page of my web Site.

The way in which carbon atoms are reused again and again by living organisms is called the Carbon Cycle. All life on Earth depends upon the Carbon Cycle.

Many school text books and courses on the Carbon Cycle do not include the part played by the carbon in the ocean sediments and the action of volcanos, but these are very important if we are to have a good understanding of global warming.

The carbon cycle on land

There is no starting point or ending point in the carbon cycle, the carbon just goes round and round, but it is easiest to understand the cycle if we begin with carbon in the atmosphere.

Carbon exists in the atmosphere mainly in the form of carbon dioxide, but with small amounts of methane. Samples from the Greenland Ice Cores show that for at least the past hundred thousand years carbon dioxide has made up about 0.03% of the Earth’s atmosphere, although we know from other sources that much further in the past it was significantly higher or lower. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects the way the Earth absorbs and radiates heat and so regulates the temperature of the Earth. This is discussed much more fully on the Page on Greenhouse Gases.

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by a process called photosynthesis. The word photosynthesis comes from the Greek words for making with light.

The plant obtains the water needed for photosynthesis from the soil through its roots. The glucose becomes the plant’s food; the oxygen is a waste product which is returned to the atmosphere.

This process needs energy which the plant obtains from sunlight. Plants therefore photosynthesise only by day.

Glucose is a sugar. There are many different sugars, but they all taste sweet. The sugar you buy in bags at the supermarket is sucrose; others are maltose, fructose, dextrose and lactose. Plants do not store glucose, instead they convert it into starch, so photosynthesising leaves contain starch not glucose.

Plants also respire. Respiration is the process by which all living things, including all plants and all animals, obtain their energy from their food. In plants and animals respiration often takes this form

They obtain the oxygen from, and return the carbon dioxide to, the atmosphere.

Plants respire by day and by night, but photosynthesise only by day. But during the day they photosynthesise far more than they respire, enough in fact to produce all the oxygen (and also all the food) needed not for their own respiration but also that of all other living things for all day and all night.

Some of the carbon dioxide a plant removes from the atmosphere by photosynthesis is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide by the plant’s respiration, and some of it is built up by the plant into very complex organic molecules such as proteins. To make proteins the plant needs not only carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, which it gets from water and carbon dioxide, but also other elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These it obtains from the soil through its roots in the form of simple soluble inorganic molecules. More information about this is given in the Page on Plant Nutrition.

The plant needs energy to make these organic molecules, which it obtains from its own respiration. These molecules, and of course the carbon atoms in them, then become part of the plant.

Part or all of the plant may then be eaten by an animal. Some of the complex organic molecules in the plant may then become part of the animal’s body, some may be used by the animal to produce energy by respiration (in which case the carbon is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide), and some may be egested by the animal in its faeces. The faeces in their turn may be eaten by dung beetles and maggots and other organisms. Some animals such as snails, shellfish and birds also use carbon (and of course calcium) to make calcium carbonate for their own shells or the shells of their eggs. It should be noted that the bones of vertebrates, including mammals and birds, contain calcium phosphate, not calcium carbonate.

The animal may be eaten by another animal, and so on.

When a land plant or animal (or any other land organism) dies any parts which have not been eaten will usually fall to the ground and go into the soil. Here the complex organic molecules may be broken down by decomposing organisms such as fungi and bacteria. As the dead organism decomposes some of the carbon in the complex organic molecules may be released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, or sometimes as methane - this is eventually oxidized to produce carbon dioxide. Decomposition may also break down the complex organic molecules in a way which converts the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium etc in them into the simple inorganic molecules which the plants can re-use.

The decomposing organisms do of course themselves have structures made of complex organic molecules and obtain their own energy by respiration. We think of mushrooms and toadstools as fungi, but they are only what is called the fruiting body (like the flower of a plant) - the main part of most fungi consists of threads of mycelium spreading through the soil (or tree, dead animal, loaf of bread etc) and sometimes covering several hectares: although bacteria and fungi are both decomposing organisms, bacteria are among the world’s smallest organisms and fungi are among its largest!

Animals such as vultures eat dead meat. Dead meat is called carrion, and carrion-eaters are called scavengers. But although scavengers, and also animals such as dung beetles and earthworms, are enormously important they are not decomposers: decomposers are very specifically the organisms which convert complex organic molecules into much simpler inorganic molecules so that the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium etc in them can be re-used by plants.

Often however dead animals or plants or other organisms may become buried in the soil in a way which prevents complete decomposition, so that the carbon in some of the complex organic molecules is not released as carbon dioxide or methane, instead it may be stored in the soil, and perhaps eventually in rocks deep underground, for thousands or millions of years. This reduced carbon (that is, carbon or carbon compounds not containing oxygen, so not in the form of carbon dioxide or carbonates) is called kerogen. Kerogen includes fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas. However, only about 3% of the kerogen in the Earth’s crust is in the form of fossil fuels, the remainder is mixed in the soil and subsoil and underlying rocks. In the soil it is not a plant nutrient itself but it is a vital part of the soil because it helps the soil retain nutrients. If the soil becomes degraded by poor farming methods, particularly after deforestation, the carbon in this kerogen may become oxidised and returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, so contributing to global warming.

The shell of an animal may be broken and crushed when the animal dies or is eaten, and many animals (including rats) eat shells, particularly egg shells or even whole eggs, to obtain the calcium they need - that is why pigeons’ nests attract rats and why you should not put egg shells onto compost heaps. The acid in the animal's stomach dissolves the calcium carbonate releasing the carbon as carbon dioxide. (Egg shells are not poisonous to Man but their sharp edges can cause damage to the stomach lining and most people do not eat them.) But the calcium carbonate in shells which go into the ground is not broken down by decomposing organisms, and the carbon in it may remain locked up in it for many, perhaps millions, of years. What happens to calcium carbonate in the Earth’s crust is discussed in the Page on Limestone.

Both calcium carbonate from animal shells and kerogen may be taken deep into the Earth’s mantle by tectonic movements at subduction zones, where one tectonic plate is sliding under another. The intense heat in the mantle breaks them down and the carbon in them is then released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide by volcanos. Volcanos are an integral and very important part of the carbon cycle although this is not always made clear. This is discussed in greater detail in the Page on Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming.

Carbon cycle

The carbon cycle in water

We call this planet Earth because we live on the dry land. But more than two thirds of the surface of the planet is covered with water. Seen from space it is a most beautiful blue colour: a visitor from another planet would probably call it not Earth but Ocean. Similarly, although most carbon is in the oceans or locked up in ocean sediments by long-dead ocean-dwelling creatures we tend to forget this when we discuss the carbon cycle.

The carbon cycle in water follows the same pattern as that on land, except that the carbon dioxide produced by respiration and needed for photosynthesis is dissolved in the water. In the deep oceans the only plants (producers) are the phytoplankton, very tiny floating plants. These are eaten by the zooplankton, very tiny animals, which in turn are eaten by larger animals. The phytoplankton and zooplankton together make up the plankton layer. This is only a few metres thick because of the need for light for photosynthesis.

Although the food chain starts at the surface the larger animals live at every depth in the oceans. When an animal or other organism dies any solid matter that is not eaten or remains after decomposition, including fragments of shell, eventually sinks to the bottom to form a sediment. Millions of billions of tonnes of carbon are locked up in these sediments, mainly in the form of calcium carbonate from shells. These ocean sediments may remain there for millions of years, until the tectonic movements of the Earth’s crust bring them back to the surface as sedimentary rocks or they are taken deeper into the Earth’s mantle at a subduction zone. Then the carbon in them is released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide by volcanos. This is discussed more fully in the Page on Greenhouse Gases.

Here is a table showing the distribution of carbon in living things and the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and crust.

Carbon distribution


© Barry Gray July 2009

http://www.barrygray.pwp.blueyonder.co. ... onCyc.html


Laboratory and theoretical constraints on the generation and composition of natural gas

Jeffrey S. Seewalda, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author,
Bryan C. Benitez-Nelsona,
Jean K. Whelana

a Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7037(98)00000-3, How to Cite or Link Using DOI


Hydrous pyrolysis experiments were conducted at 125 to 375°C and 350 bars to constrain factors that regulate the generation and relative abundance of hydrocarbon and nonhydrocarbon gases during thermal maturation of Monterey, Eutaw, and Smackover shale. Thermogenic gas was generated at temperatures as low as 125°C and increased in abundance with increasing temperature. The relative abundance of individual hydrocarbons varied substantially in response to increasing time and temperature reflecting the chemical processes responsible for their formation. The hydrocarbon fraction of low maturity gas produced via primary cracking of kerogen was composed predominantly of methane. With increasing thermal maturity, the onset of bitumen generation produced longer-chain hydrocarbons causing a decrease in the relative abundance of methane. At high levels of thermal maturity, the absolute and relative abundance of methane increased due to decomposition of bitumen.

In all experiments at all temperatures, carbon dioxide was the most abundant volatile organic alteration product. Carbon dioxide was produced directly from kerogen at low thermal maturity and via the decomposition of bitumen and/or kerogen at high thermal maturity. During early stage alteration, kerogen likely represents the dominant source of oxygen in carbon dioxide while at high thermal maturities water may represent an abundant and reactive oxygen source. Hydrogen released during the disproportionation of water is likely consumed during hydrocarbon generation. Theoretical reaction path modeling suggests that the precipitation of calcite may effectively remove carbon dioxide from natural gas if a source of Ca is available within the rock. Thus, carbon dioxide-rich natural gas may be relatively pristine while methane-rich natural gas may reflect the occurrence of secondary reactions involving inorganic sedimentary components.

Kinetic analysis of the experimental data indicates a narrow range of activation energies for the generation of C1-C4 hydrocarbons from the Monterey, Smackover, and Eutaw shales. Carbon dioxide generation from the Monterey and Eutaw shales is accounted for by a substantially broader range of activation energies. Application of these data to predict gas formation at temperatures and time scales typical of subsiding sedimentary basins suggests that C1-C4 generation is restricted to relatively high temperatures while carbon dioxide generation occurs at both low and high thermal maturities. Thus, in contrast to the bulk of C1-C4 generation which is predicted to occur after peak bitumen generation, production of carbon dioxide will occur before, during, and after the generation of liquid hydrocarbons.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 3798000003

Although most of the largest oilfields on Earth have originated from source rocks deposited in marine environments (marine shales), many major accumulations result from petroleum generation in non-marine sediments from, for example freshwater or saline organic-rich shales or coals deposited in lakes. Many of the accumulations of petroleum, both gas and oil, found in South-east Asia were generated in non-marine sediments. Examples of such source rocks gen-erating oil would be the Eocene Shahejie Formation shales of the Liaohe Basin in China. In all cases source rocks were deposited in slowly sedimenting basins with high surface biological productivity and restricted oxygenation of stagnant bottom waters resulting from bacterial consumption of free oxygen in bottom waters and sediments. Under such reduced oxygen conditions, large fractions, up to perhaps 1 to 10 per cent, of the primary biological productivity in the surface waters may have been preserved as kerogen and related bitumen-soluble components in sediments.
http://irfangeofisika.blogspot.com/2011 ... ganic.html



Thermal Maturation and Petroleum Generation

When sedimentary organic matter is buried in basins it is exposed to increasingly higher subsurface temperatures. At temperatures of approximately 60°C and higher, the thermal degradation of kerogen yields hydrocarbons under reducing conditions (Hunt, 1996). Type I and II kerogens generate most of the world's oil when subjected to burial temperatures between 60°C and 160°C. Type III kerogen generates natural gas, condensate, and waxy oil. Type IV kerogen generates small quantities of methane (CH 4 ) and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). Most oil expulsion occurs within this burial temperature range too, when the organic matter is in the “oil window”. Recall that petroleum expulsion from the source rocks is very inefficient; roughly 85% of the hydrocarbons generated in a mature source rock are retained within the micropores of the fine-grained sediments. These hydrocarbons are eventually cracked to natural gas as temperatures increase beyond the oil widow. Three levels of maturity are recognized by petroleum geochemists, early , peak , and late mature . Hunt (1996) “Postmature for oil is mature for the gas window. Between one-half to two-thirds of thermogenic gas forms during the thermal cracking of previously generated oil in both source rocks and in reservoir rocks and in coal” (p. 140).

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/eco ... /index.htm
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by beekeeper » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:57 pm

I certainly do not intend to offend anyone but I wish to share my two bits on the ongoing issue. If we accept as fact meaning no hoax the existence of these artifacts in coal and rock formations than the coal seams had to come after the items
From there the dating of the rocks ks wrong. Or there has been previous civilization much older then can be admitted. ToITo ignore this along with legends describing black rains from the sky which I believe was mentioned by starter MIchael in an other topic is in my mind a little like limiting the electrical perspective to toasters and lightning making neurons a delicacy
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by nick c » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:02 pm

hi beekeeper,
From there the dating of the rocks ks wrong. Or there has been previous civilization much older then can be admitted.
I would say that the underlying uniformitarian assumption in Geology is the problem. The dating is wrong- whether estimates are derived from examination of the positioning in the geological column or from radiometric dating.
To ignore this along with legends describing black rains from the sky which I believe was mentioned by starter MIchael in an other topic is in my mind a little like limiting the electrical perspective to toasters and lightning making neurons a delicacy
The important point to be learned from this thread is that oil has an abiotic origin. This is contrary to geological consensus.
Now the ancients from around the world tell of rains of hydrocarbons; burning pitch falling from the sky during cosmic catastrophes. So I would think that some of the petroleum deposits are of extraterrestrial origin, however, that does not preclude the proposition that petroleum is (either presently and/or in the past) produced in the interior of the Earth. If it is taking place within the Earth, then it is not unreasonable to expect that it is also taking place on other celestial bodies. So the deposition of extraterrestrial oil and the production within the Earth are not in any way mutually exclusive propositions.
With regard to coal seams, it seems to me, the evidence (such as what you presented and there is much more) favors a catastrophic origin.

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:01 am

This company went bankrupt in 2009 during the economic crisis but the technology of thermal depolymerization is worth a look in regards to hydrocarbon formation. Apparently operation of the plant caused horrible smells in nearby communities down wind:



Where there's muck there's gas...how the recycler works

Turning organic waste into oil is a trick the earth perfected long ago. Applying pressure and heat to the decaying remains of plants and animals transforms their long chains of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon into the short-chain hydrocarbons that make up oil. But while the earth takes millions of years, TDP takes a few hours.

The principles remain the same, however, and no fancy new technologies are involved. In fact most of the pressure tanks and reactor vessels the system uses are available off the shelf.

What allows TDP to succeed where others fail is the way it handles the volumes of water found in most organic waste.

Feedstock is first ground into slurry and heated under pressure, which breaks down some of the long carbon chains. Then it flows into a "flash vessel" where a dramatic drop in pressure removes much of the water far more efficiently than boiling it off. Minerals settle out at this stage and the remaining organic soup is then heated in "coke ovens" to break any remaining chains before the end products - oil, gas, water and carbon - are drawn off from a distillation column.

The "coke oven" heats the organic soup to about 900F (480C) turning it into a vapour. What happens next is just the same as what goes on in an oil refinery, or indeed in a whiskey still. The vapour flows into tall containers, known as distillation columns, where the various molecules separate out - the lightest molecules rising to the top and the heaviest sinking to the bottom. So the gas is drawn off from the top, the oils are removed from the middle and the powdered carbon is taken out from the bottom.

The gas, expensive to transport, is used to power the process, while the oil, minerals and carbon are sold off. The calcium and magnesium produced from the turkey waste, for instance, make a perfect fertilizer.
Anything Into Oil

Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year.

By Brad Lemley, Tony Law|Thursday, May 01, 2003

Gory refuse, from a Butterball Turkey plant
in Carthage, Missouri, will no longer go to waste.
Each day 200 tons of turkey offal will be carted
to be transformed into various useful products,
including 600 barrels of light oil.

In an industrial park in Philadelphia sits a new machine that can change almost anything into oil.


"This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built this pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri. "This process can deal with the world's waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming."

Pardon me, says a reporter, shivering in the frigid dawn, but that sounds too good to be true.

"Everybody says that," says Appel. He is a tall, affable entrepreneur who has assembled a team of scientists, former government leaders, and deep-pocketed investors to develop and sell what he calls the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores. According to Appel, waste goes in one end and comes out the other as three products, all valuable and environmentally benign: high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.

Unlike other solid-to-liquid-fuel processes such as cornstarch into ethanol, this one will accept almost any carbon-based feedstock. If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water. While no one plans to put people into a thermal depolymerization machine, an intimate human creation could become a prime feedstock. "There is no reason why we can't turn sewage, including human excrement, into a glorious oil," says engineer Terry Adams, a project consultant. So the city of Philadelphia is in discussion with Changing World Technologies to begin doing exactly that.

"The potential is unbelievable," says Michael Roberts, a senior chemical engineer for the Gas Technology Institute, an energy research group. "You're not only cleaning up waste; you're talking about distributed generation of oil all over the world."

"This is not an incremental change. This is a big, new step," agrees Alf Andreassen, a venture capitalist with the Paladin Capital Group and a former Bell Laboratories director.

The offal-derived oil is chemically almost identical to a number two fuel oil used to heat homes.

Andreassen and others anticipate that a large chunk of the world's agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste may someday go into thermal depolymerization machines scattered all over the globe. If the process works as well as its creators claim, not only would most toxic waste problems become history, so would imported oil. Just converting all the U.S. agricultural waste into oil and gas would yield the energy equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil annually. In 2001 the United States imported 4.2 billion barrels of oil. Referring to U.S. dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, R. James Woolsey, former CIA director and an adviser to Changing World Technologies, says, "This technology offers a beginning of a way away from this."

But first things first. Today, here at the plant at Philadelphia's Naval Business Center, the experimental feedstock is turkey processing-plant waste: feathers, bones, skin, blood, fat, guts. A forklift dumps 1,400 pounds of the nasty stuff into the machine's first stage, a 350-horsepower grinder that masticates it into gray brown slurry. From there it flows into a series of tanks and pipes, which hum and hiss as they heat, digest, and break down the mixture. Two hours later, a white-jacketed technician turns a spigot. Out pours a honey-colored fluid, steaming a bit in the cold warehouse as it fills a glass beaker.

It really is a lovely oil.

"The longest carbon chains are C-18 or so," says Appel, admiring the liquid. "That's a very light oil. It is essentially the same as a mix of half fuel oil, half gasoline."

Private investors, who have chipped in $40 million to develop the process, aren't the only ones who are impressed. The federal government has granted more than $12 million to push the work along. "We will be able to make oil for $8 to $12 a barrel," says Paul Baskis, the inventor of the process. "We are going to be able to switch to a carbohydrate economy."

Making oil and gas from hydrocarbon-based waste is a trick that Earth mastered long ago. Most crude oil comes from one-celled plants and animals that die, settle to ocean floors, decompose, and are mashed by sliding tectonic plates, a process geologists call subduction. Under pressure and heat, the dead creatures' long chains of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon-bearing molecules, known as polymers, decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons. However, Earth takes its own sweet time doing this—generally thousands or millions of years—because subterranean heat and pressure changes are chaotic. Thermal depolymerization machines turbocharge the process by precisely raising heat and pressure to levels that break the feedstock's long molecular bonds.

Many scientists have tried to convert organic solids to liquid fuel using waste products before, but their efforts have been notoriously inefficient. "The problem with most of these methods was that they tried to do the transformation in one step—superheat the material to drive off the water and simultaneously break down the molecules," says Appel. That leads to profligate energy use and makes it possible for hazardous substances to pollute the finished product. Very wet waste—and much of the world's waste is wet—is particularly difficult to process efficiently because driving off the water requires so much energy. Usually, the Btu content in the resulting oil or gas barely exceeds the amount needed to make the stuff.

That's the challenge that Baskis, a microbiologist and inventor who lives in Rantoul, Illinois, confronted in the late 1980s. He says he "had a flash" of insight about how to improve the basic ideas behind another inventor's waste-reforming process. "The prototype I saw produced a heavy, burned oil," recalls Baskis. "I drew up an improvement and filed the first patents." He spent the early 1990s wooing investors and, in 1996, met Appel, a former commodities trader. "I saw what this could be and took over the patents," says Appel, who formed a partnership with the Gas Technology Institute and had a demonstration plant up and running by 1999.

Thermal depolymerization, Appel says, has proved to be 85 percent energy efficient for complex feedstocks, such as turkey offal: "That means for every 100 Btus in the feedstock, we use only 15 Btus to run the process." He contends the efficiency is even better for relatively dry raw materials, such as plastics.

So how does it work? In the cold Philadelphia warehouse, Appel waves a long arm at the apparatus, which looks surprisingly low tech: a tangle of pressure vessels, pipes, valves, and heat exchangers terminating in storage tanks. It resembles the oil refineries that stretch to the horizon on either side of the New Jersey Turnpike, and in part, that's exactly what it is.

Appel strides to a silver gray pressure tank that is 20 feet long, three feet wide, heavily insulated, and wrapped with electric heating coils. He raps on its side. "The chief difference in our process is that we make water a friend rather than an enemy," he says. "The other processes all tried to drive out water. We drive it in, inside this tank, with heat and pressure. We super-hydrate the material." Thus temperatures and pressures need only be modest, because water helps to convey heat into the feedstock. "We're talking about temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of about 600 pounds for most organic material—not at all extreme or energy intensive. And the cooking times are pretty short, usually about 15 minutes."

Once the organic soup is heated and partially depolymerized in the reactor vessel, phase two begins. "We quickly drop the slurry to a lower pressure," says Appel, pointing at a branching series of pipes. The rapid depressurization releases about 90 percent of the slurry's free water. Dehydration via depressurization is far cheaper in terms of energy consumed than is heating and boiling off the water, particularly because no heat is wasted. "We send the flashed-off water back up there," Appel says, pointing to a pipe that leads to the beginning of the process, "to heat the incoming stream."

At this stage, the minerals—in turkey waste, they come mostly from bones—settle out and are shunted to storage tanks. Rich in calcium and magnesium, the dried brown powder "is a perfect balanced fertilizer," Appel says.

The remaining concentrated organic soup gushes into a second-stage reactor similar to the coke ovens used to refine oil into gasoline. "This technology is as old as the hills," says Appel, grinning broadly. The reactor heats the soup to about 900 degrees Fahrenheit to further break apart long molecular chains. Next, in vertical distillation columns, hot vapor flows up, condenses, and flows out from different levels: gases from the top of the column, light oils from the upper middle, heavier oils from the middle, water from the lower middle, and powdered carbon—used to manufacture tires, filters, and printer toners—from the bottom. "Gas is expensive to transport, so we use it on-site in the plant to heat the process," Appel says. The oil, minerals, and carbon are sold to the highest bidders.

Depending on the feedstock and the cooking and coking times, the process can be tweaked to make other specialty chemicals that may be even more profitable than oil. Turkey offal, for example, can be used to produce fatty acids for soap, tires, paints, and lubricants. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC—the stuff of house siding, wallpapers, and plastic pipes—yields hydrochloric acid, a relatively benign and industrially valuable chemical used to make cleaners and solvents. "That's what's so great about making water a friend," says Appel. "The hydrogen in water combines with the chlorine in PVC to make it safe. If you burn PVC [in a municipal-waste incinerator], you get dioxin—very toxic."

Brian AppelBrian Appel, CEO of Changing World Technologies,
strolls through a thermal depolymerization plant
in Philadelphia.

The technicians here have spent three years feeding different kinds of waste into their machinery to formulate recipes. In a little trailer next to the plant, Appel picks up a handful of one-gallon plastic bags sent by a potential customer in Japan. The first is full of ground-up appliances, each piece no larger than a pea. "Put a computer and a refrigerator into a grinder, and that's what you get," he says, shaking the bag. "It's PVC, wood, fiberglass, metal, just a mess of different things. This process handles mixed waste beautifully." Next to the ground-up appliances is a plastic bucket of municipal sewage. Appel pops the lid and instantly regrets it. "Whew," he says. "That is nasty."

Experimentation revealed that different waste streams require different cooking and coking times and yield different finished products. "It's a two-step process, and you do more in step one or step two depending on what you are processing," Terry Adams says. "With the turkey guts, you do the lion's share in the first stage. With mixed plastics, most of the breakdown happens in the second stage." The oil-to-mineral ratios vary too. Plastic bottles, for example, yield copious amounts of oil, while tires yield more minerals and other solids. So far, says Adams, "nothing hazardous comes out from any feedstock we try."

"The only thing this process can't handle is nuclear waste," Appel says. "If it contains carbon, we can do it."

This Philadelphia pilot plant can handle only seven tons of waste a day, but 1,054 miles to the west, in Carthage, Missouri, about 100 yards from one of ConAgra Foods' massive Butterball Turkey plants, sits the company's first commercial-scale thermal depolymerization plant. The $20 million facility, scheduled to go online any day, is expected to digest more than 200 tons of turkey-processing waste every 24 hours.

The north side of Carthage smells like Thanksgiving all the time. At the Butterball plant, workers slaughter, pluck, parcook, and package 30,000 turkeys each workday, filling the air with the distinctive tang of boiling bird. A factory tour reveals the grisly realities of large-scale poultry processing. Inside, an endless chain of hanging carcasses clanks past knife-wielding laborers who slash away. Outside, a tanker truck idles, full to the top with fresh turkey blood. For many years, ConAgra Foods has trucked the plant's waste—feathers, organs, and other nonusable parts—to a rendering facility where it was ground and dried to make animal feed, fertilizer, and other chemical products. But bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, can spread among cattle from recycled feed, and although no similar disease has been found in poultry, regulators are becoming skittish about feeding animals to animals. In Europe the practice is illegal for all livestock. Since 1997, the United States has prohibited the feeding of most recycled animal waste to cattle. Ultimately, the specter of European-style mad-cow regulations may kick-start the acceptance of thermal depolymerization. "In Europe, there are mountains of bones piling up," says Alf Andreassen. "When recycling waste into feed stops in this country, it will change everything."

Because depolymerization takes apart materials at the molecular level, Appel says, it is "the perfect process for destroying pathogens." On a wet afternoon in Carthage, he smiles at the new plant—an artless assemblage of gray and dun-colored buildings—as if it were his favorite child. "This plant will make 10 tons of gas per day, which will go back into the system to make heat to power the system," he says. "It will make 21,000 gallons of water, which will be clean enough to discharge into a municipal sewage system. Pathological vectors will be completely gone. It will make 11 tons of minerals and 600 barrels of oil, high-quality stuff, the same specs as a number two heating oil." He shakes his head almost as if he can't believe it. "It's amazing. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't even consider us waste handlers. We are actually manufacturers—that's what our permit says. This process changes the whole industrial equation. Waste goes from a cost to a profit."

He watches as burly men in coveralls weld and grind the complex loops of piping. A group of 15 investors and corporate advisers, including Howard Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, stroll among the sparks and hissing torches, listening to a tour led by plant manager Don Sanders. A veteran of the refinery business, Sanders emphasizes that once the pressurized water is flashed off, "the process is similar to oil refining. The equipment, the procedures, the safety factors, the maintenance—it's all proven technology."

And it will be profitable, promises Appel. "We've done so much testing in Philadelphia, we already know the costs," he says. "This is our first-out plant, and we estimate we'll make oil at $15 a barrel. In three to five years, we'll drop that to $10, the same as a medium-size oil exploration and production company. And it will get cheaper from there."

"We've got a lot of confidence in this," Buffett says. "I represent ConAgra's investment. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't anticipate success." Buffett isn't alone. Appel has lined up federal grant money to help build demonstration plants to process chicken offal and manure in Alabama and crop residuals and grease in Nevada. Also in the works are plants to process turkey waste and manure in Colorado and pork and cheese waste in Italy. He says the first generation of depolymerization centers will be up and running in 2005. By then it should be clear whether the technology is as miraculous as its backers claim.

Chemistry, not alchemy, turns (A) turkey offal—guts, skin, bones, fat, blood, and feathers—into a variety of useful products. After the first-stage heat-and-pressure reaction, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates break down into (B) carboxylic oil, which is composed of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The second-stage reaction strips off the fatty acids' carboxyl group (a carbon atom, two oxygen atoms, and a hydrogen atom) and breaks the remaining hydrocarbon chains into smaller fragments, yielding (C) a light oil. This oil can be used as is, or further distilled (using a larger version of the bench-top distiller in the background) into lighter fuels such as (D) naphtha, (E) gasoline, and (F) kerosene. The process also yields (G) fertilizer-grade minerals derived mostly from bones and (H) industrially useful carbon black.

Garbage In, Oil Out
Feedstock is funneled into a grinder and mixed with water to create a slurry that is pumped into the first-stage reactor, where heat and pressure partially break apart long molecular chains. The resulting organic soup flows into a flash vessel where pressure drops dramatically, liberating some of the water, which returns back upstream to preheat the flow into the first-stage reactor. In the second-stage reactor, the remaining organic material is subjected to more intense heat, continuing the breakup of molecular chains. The resulting hot vapor then goes into vertical distillation tanks, which separate it into gases, light oils, heavy oils, water, and solid carbon. The gases are burned on-site to make heat to power the process, and the water, which is pathogen free, goes to a municipal waste plant. The oils and carbon are deposited in storage tanks, ready for sale.
— Brad Lemley

A Boon to Oil and Coal Companies
One might expect fossil-fuel companies to fight thermal depolymerization. If the process can make oil out of waste, why would anyone bother to get it out of the ground? But switching to an energy economy based entirely on reformed waste will be a long process, requiring the construction of thousands of thermal depolymerization plants. In the meantime, thermal depolymerization can make the petroleum industry itself cleaner and more profitable, says John Riordan, president and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute, an industry research organization. Experiments at the Philadelphia thermal depolymerization plant have converted heavy crude oil, shale, and tar sands into light oils, gases, and graphite-type carbon. "When you refine petroleum, you end up with a heavy solid-waste product that's a big problem," Riordan says. "This technology will convert these waste materials into natural gas, oil, and carbon. It will fit right into the existing infrastructure."

Appel says a modified version of thermal depolymerization could be used to inject steam into underground tar-sand deposits and then refine them into light oils at the surface, making this abundant, difficult-to-access resource far more available. But the coal industry may become thermal depolymerization's biggest fossil-fuel beneficiary. "We can clean up coal dramatically," says Appel. So far, experiments show the process can extract sulfur, mercury, naphtha, and olefins—all salable commodities—from coal, making it burn hotter and cleaner. Pretreating with thermal depolymerization also makes coal more friable, so less energy is needed to crush it before combustion in electricity-generating plants.
— B.L.

Can Thermal Depolymerization Slow Global Warming?
If the thermal depolymerization process WORKS AS Claimed, it will clean up waste and generate new sources of energy. But its backers contend it could also stem global warming, which sounds iffy. After all, burning oil creates global warming, doesn't it?

Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter—plants take it in; animals eat plants, die, and decompose; and plants take it back in, ad infinitum. Since the industrial revolution, human beings burning fossil fuels have boosted concentrations of atmospheric carbon more than 30 percent, disrupting the ancient cycle. According to global-warming theory, as carbon in the form of carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, it traps solar radiation, which warms the atmosphere—and, some say, disrupts the planet's ecosystems.

But if there were a global shift to thermal depolymerization technologies, belowground carbon would remain there. The accoutrements of the civilized world—domestic animals and plants, buildings, artificial objects of all kinds—would then be regarded as temporary carbon sinks. At the end of their useful lives, they would be converted in thermal depolymerization machines into short-chain fuels, fertilizers, and industrial raw materials, ready for plants or people to convert them back into long chains again. So the only carbon used would be that which already existed above the surface; it could no longer dangerously accumulate in the atmosphere. "Suddenly, the whole built world just becomes a temporary carbon sink," says Paul Baskis, inventor of the thermal depolymerization process. "We would be honoring the balance of nature."
— B.L.

http://sovereignty.org.uk/features/foot ... aste2.html

On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:36 pm

The conversion to condensable liquids, gases and char by heating the material in an oxygen free environment
A Pyrolysis reactor

Flash pyrolysis is a process with the aim of high oil yields, up
to 75 % of liquids. This process can be characterized by:

high heating rates of the particles (< 2 sec)
temperature between 450 and 600C

http://web.archive.org/web/200506010518 ... bramer.pdf

http://www.tno.nl/downloads/Full_Paper_ ... _PyRos.pdf

http://espace.library.curtin.edu.au/cgi ... e_1/132311
http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/2122/1/J_C ... s_2008.pdf (... good research papers on this.)


Green River mentioned with TDP back in 2008:


Thermal Depolymerization & Oil Shale - The Most Abundant Oil Reserve in the World

March 12, 2008

With crude oil prices trading near $110 and likely going higher there has barely been a whisper about one of the largest recoverable oil reserves in the world. And, it's right in our own back yard. The U.S. has approximately over 1.46 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in the Green River Formation alone. If there was ever any truth to becoming energy independent or any real attempt to control/lower energy costs wouldn't more funding, more companies, and more people already about this? Corn-based ethanol will never be a net-positive "renewable" energy source, however we have spent billions promoting and developing a non-renewable energy source whose process has an even larger economical and enviromental negative impact than conventional methods.
Note: There were no federal funding subsidides included for Thermal Depolymerization(TDP) or solar subsidies under the last energy bill passed December 2007 by one of the worst congresses in history.
Oil Shale

Oil Shale Reserves:

While oil shale is found in many places worldwide, by far the largest deposits in the world are found in the United States in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Estimates of the oil resource in place within the Green River Formation range from 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels. Not all resources in place are recoverable; however, even a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Present U.S. demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day. If oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of that demand, the estimated 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Green River Formation would last for more than 400 years.

What is oil shale?

The term oil shale generally refers to any sedimentary rock that contains solid bituminous materials (called kerogen) that are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated in the chemical process of pyrolysis. Oil shale was formed millions of years ago by deposition of silt and organic debris on lake beds and sea bottoms. Over long periods of time, heat and pressure transformed the materials into oil shale in a process similar to the process that forms oil; however, the heat and pressure were not as great. Oil shale generally contains enough oil that it will burn without any additional processing, and it is known as "the rock that burns".

Oil shale can be mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells; however, extracting oil from oil shale is more complex than conventional oil recovery and currently is more expensive. The oil substances in oil shale are solid and cannot be pumped directly out of the ground. The oil shale must first be mined and then heated to a high temperature (a process called retorting); the resultant liquid must then be separated and collected. An alternative but currently experimental process referred to as in situ retorting involves heating the oil shale while it is still underground, and then pumping the resulting liquid to the surface.

Oil Shale Industry

While oil shale has been used as fuel and as a source of oil in small quantities for many years, few countries currently produce oil from oil shale on a significant commercial level. Many countries do not have significant oil shale resources, but in those countries that do have significant oil shale resources, the oil shale industry has not developed because historically, the cost of oil derived from oil shale has been significantly higher than conventional pumped oil. The lack of commercial viability of oil shale-derived oil has in turn inhibited the development of better technologies that might reduce its cost.

Relatively high prices for conventional oil in the 1970s and 1980s stimulated interest and some development of better oil shale technology, but oil prices eventually fell, and major research and development activities largely ceased. More recently, prices for crude oil have again risen to levels that may make oil shale-based oil production commercially viable, and both governments and industry are interested in pursuing the development of oil shale as an alternative to conventional oil.

Source: http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/oilshale/index.cfm
http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/thermal-depo ... -amp/39661
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by BobDodds » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:27 pm

The most recent Wayback Machine (archive.org) snapshot of JF Kenney's gasresources.net is http://web.archive.org/web/201201211917 ... urces.net/

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Goldminer » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:09 am

BobDodds wrote:The most recent Wayback Machine (archive.org) snapshot of JF Kenney's gasresources.net is http://web.archive.org/web/201201211917 ... urces.net/
Gas Resources Corporation wrote:In light of the extensive literature of modern Russian petroleum science, questions inevitably arise among persons reading of it for the first time: Why has there been nothing published on this body of knowledge in the English-language (or American) journals which purportedly deal with matters involving petroleum ? Why have there never been Russian or Ukrainian petroleum scientists invited to address a meeting of, e.g., the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (A.A.P.G.) ? Why has there not been appointed to the faculty of a single department of Earth sciences, at any university in the U.S.A., a petroleum scientist competent to teach modern petroleum science ? In short, why have persons in the U.S.A. never heard of this body of knowledge ?
Such lack of reporting has not happened by accident. As the reader may surmise, this dysfunctional behavior has been a rather typical manifestation of the purveyors of quackery, desperately striving to preserve their self-image, conceits, and jobs. In short, there has been at work the Wizard of Oz chicanery, - before the little dog Toto snatched away the curtain. No reader should entertain an illusion that the publishing of these articles, in first-rank scientific journals such as Physical-Chemistry/Chemical-Physics, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been welcomed by the British/American petroleum geo-phrenology brotherhood.
The history of this behavior deserves itself the attention of competent social anthropologists and persons specializing in political science, and could be the subject of a host of illuminating essays. The behavior of such as the A.A.P.G. connected with modern Russian petroleum science will be taken up in the section dealing with the (sometimes fascinating) sociological aspects of this subject.
Here is an example of the difference between a "conspiracy theory" and an actual genuine conspiracy.
I sense a disturbance in the farce.

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:40 pm

This site debunks a few of the claims of Changing World Technologies and provides some perspective on their process:
https://robertrapier.wordpress.com/cate ... hnologies/

Slide 11
You raise the question of how on earth did CWT get their cost estimates so wrong. Well, a large factor in that would be overestimating yield (and per extension efficiency). CWT has long claimed that TDP has an energy efficiency of 85% (heading slide #12). Right there you smell a skunk. Now the dirty details.

Slide 12 of “The CWT Thermal Conversion Process” Presentation

The mass balance, slide #11 [posted earlier], shows that CWT probably did not take the CO2 that results from decarboxylation into account. This causes them to overestimate fuel production. You can easily do the calc’s I’m sure, but it is spelled out here. Apologies for the format, got mangled when they changed their format [That thread was a very good discussion on this issue; perhaps I will pull it out, reformat it, and post it at some point].

The energy balance, slide #12, does not include the energy present in the “liquid fertilizer”. What, all that glycerol and amino acids contain no energy? The water vapor also presents energy lost, even if it’s not much.
Personally, I think if CWT's process can be linked with this device... it could short-cut a few steps. Micronize the hydrocarbons in the Windhexe machine and then Flash steam-blast it in the CWT's cracker. Coal can be broken down to expose surface area for a Flash CWT conversion. CWT used Sulfuric acid to aid hydrolysis aka Dilute Acid Hydrolysis. The Windhexe might bypass this step a bit at least for Turkey guts. It is all about pressure, temp and surface area... (--Chromium6's almost patented idea :) )
The Original “Windhexe” "Tornado in a Can"

Multiply the images of the most destructive tornado you have ever seen and imagine the force controlled in a tornado-shaped container so products can be fed into it. Frank Polifka, a Kansas farmer, didn't just imagine it, he did it. Over a 15 year period he achieved some remarkable results. Some even seemed to defy some laws of physics, and the "Windhexe" was discovered.

Almost everything that enters the chamber is instantly atomized to micron sizes. Products that are high in moisture, even molecularly bound, are processed and dried economically. Since his early tests, products such as recycled concrete, glass, stone, aluminum cans, coal, vegetables, meats and many other products have been tested, instantly converting them to powder.

VDT Systems are available today to process D.A.F, poultry, swine, cattle, and fish. These are quoted on a case by case basis.

The Windhexe harnesses one of the most destructive forces of nature, a Tornado. The device has no internal moving parts and only air is used to provide the destructive energy. The resultant forces within convert most any product into a fine powder with negligible moisture within. The swirling air dehydrates the material using a combination of mechanical and evaporative energy and is therefore more efficient than any thermal drying device. The addition of Alfa Laval mechanical separation devices are used to further system superiority by recovering high quality oil and removing moisture prior to final processing in the Windhexe. The result is a system strategically designed for the Meat Byproduct Processing Industry that produces quality products that can not be matched by any other technique.

2002 Year of transition and then refocus
By then, there were over 800 tests of various materials recorded, and all showed success other than the “elastic” products. These products were so diverse, from food products, to energy related like coal and ethanol production, to medical products and neutraceuticals. Some of the most successful were energy related, especially coal. The Windhexe showed the expected attribute of drying by evaporation, but beyond this, also produced a mechanical separation of moisture, making the process become new science for that industry. Testing was successfully done and an installation made in Australia to dry lignite coal. This project continues with dramatic results as the company continues to refine the method of handling and burning the final powder

The introduction of AlfaLaval.

In the middle of the transition to an energy related focus, AlfaLaval agreed to test their systems to remove fat from the food products that were abandoned by the Windhexe group. It worked. The addition of the preliminary step of using an AlfaLaval decanter/centrifuge in the system made the solids an easy run for the Windhexe. This suddenly made all the contacts and work in the poultry industry valuable. Something else became quickly obvious, however. The use of the decanter not only prepares the solids by spinning off the fat, but, it also removes over 2/3 of the water. This means the Windhexe became 1/3 the size it was from previous tests without the centrifuge in front of it. The refocus to the original plan was initiated with a commercial installation sold in the fourth quarter and commissioned in Aug 2003.

These mundane uses don't mean the fearsome twister has lost its mystique. One of the most delicious things about the Windhexe is that theoretically the thing shouldn't work at all. Its compressed-air streams don't have enough energy to crush much of what it pulverizes. But somehow when those air streams are molded into the shape of a tornado, they become supercharged. ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.'' (Polifka has a 12th-grade education.) ''I don't know what it really does,'' admits Polifka, who once tried and failed to photograph the inside of a working Windhexe using strobe lights. ''No one's been able to explain it.''
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/14/magaz ... RNADO.html

Paper on the CWT process:
http://ergosphere.files.wordpress.com/2 ... 3_3_04.pdf

Incidentally, the Canadian company that bought CWT's system is opening for business Sept. 2, 2013.

On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:58 pm

Good coverage on "Oil Shale" which is not "Shale Oil". If it is "oil" combined with "rock" then the question is how did it get there via normal geological processes?


Kerogen Oil Shale: The Next Rock of Ages?

Written by James Stafford
August 31st, 2013
email: admin@oilprice.com

As with everything else, it’s all about economic feasibility. This is the story of kerogen (oil shale), and could be a huge one, or it could just stay in the ground for a few more centuries until we figure out how to get it out of the rock without breaking the bank.

Oil shale is not conventional oil that can flow through geological formations. It is a fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen which is a fossilized mixture of insoluble organic material that, when heated, breaks down into crude oil and natural gas. For this reason, oil shale—not to be confused with shale oil—is often called “kerogen”.

Chemically, oil shale consists of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur and forms from compacted organic material. This rock has not been geologically buried for a time sufficient to produce conventional hydrocarbons. Though it hasn’t been buried for long enough to form conventional hydrocarbons, oil shale formation began millions of years ago through the deposition of silt and organic debris on lakebeds and sea bottoms.

Is it a good investment? Well, that depends.

Other than what we’ve noted above, we don’t know too much about kerogen, other than it cannot be extracted via traditional methods, or through the use of organic chemical solvents. The thing is, kerogen is INSIDE the rock itself—part and parcel of the rock—so in order to get it out one has to use thermal technologies. Sometimes there is so much rock in proportion to the kerogen in place that it’s not feasible to even try.

Worldwide it is estimated that there are nearly 3 trillion barrels of kerogen, but much of it may not be accessible.

There are two ways to get the kerogen out of the rock. Both involve underground mining, one using thermal treatments that are completed above surface, the other using in situ thermal processes. The in situ process involves heating the source rock for several years until the organic material has vaporized and then can be recovered through traditional well extraction methods. Shell is the pioneer in this field, but it’s all still at the experimental phase.

The entire process is horrifyingly energy intensive. From the US perspective, it would take enough electricity to power up 9 million homes just to extract 1 million barrels per day (or 5% of nationwide consumption). Likewise, the amount of water needed is a crippling 46 billion gallons per year. On top of that is the cost of the mining itself, which would dwarf coal-mining in sheer volume of rock dealt with.

According to experts, it will not be economically feasible to extract kerogen unless oil prices rise to around $110/barrel, at a bare minimum.

Using Shell’s in-situ thermal processing technology in Israel, explorers believe they will be able to reduce the cost of extraction from $70-$100 per barrel to $30-$40 per barrel. They also say it will reduce the carbon footprint of kerogen extraction.

Oil Shale Exploration Venues

China, Brazil and Estonia already have well-developed oil shale industries, and Estonia gets 90% of its power from oil shale, though production has recently declined with alternatives becoming cheaper and regulations stiffer. But here are some other venues that we are eyeing for the future:

United States

In Wyoming and Colorado, around the Wind River and the Unita and Wasach Mountains, sits the largest kerogen deposit in the world. We’re talking around 1.8 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil from kerogen. That’s an incredible amount!

But it’s not going anywhere fast, though both the majors and juniors are doing their best to get it where it needs to be. Four companies have exploration contracts on this land, including supermajors Shell and Chevron and smaller companies IDT and Oil Shale Exploration.

The technology is also only in the experimental phase, so this is very early days. The EIA itself doesn’t foresee major kerogen production until 2035.

So for the US, the story of kerogen is an expensive alternative that won’t see the light of day until we need it—and someday surely we will and the four companies exploring here are taking the long-term view.


The story of energy-starved Jordan, though, is a different one—and we take you through Jordan’s energy dilemma in-depth in this week’s executive report. The kerogen in Jordanian oil shale organic material that consists primarily of marine algae and marine micro-organisms deposited in vast quantities 65 million years ago, when most of Jordan was an extended, relatively shallow, tepid warm ocean plateau extending north from the paleo-shoreline (which was located roughly where Wadi Rum is now). Normally, kerogen-rich shale is the primary source rock for conventional hydrocarbon oil and gas systems like those found in Saudi Arabia and the North Sea.

For Jordan, the situation is desperate, so oil shale could play a key role in the country’s energy policy. Jordan first toyed with developing its oil shale reserves back in 2006, but it couldn’t afford the price of extraction. Plans are back on track as of 2008 thanks in part to the rise in oil prices. It is especially urgent now with continuous cuts in gas supplies from Egypt. In June, Jordan announced plans to build the Middle East’s first oil shale-fired power plant. Jordan is sitting on an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil shale reserves, the fourth largest in the world—after the US, China and Russia, and depending on which of Israel’s estimates one believes.

The kingdom’s goal is to meet 14% of its energy needs with its shale deposits by 2020, and the new plant is scheduled to be up and running by 2017, with a planned capacity of 500 megawatts. This could translate into a savings of $500 million a year for Jordan. For expertise, the Kingdom has contracted Estonian oil shale veterans in the form of Enefit.


Some believe Israel could have up to 250 billion barrels of oil shale trapped in rock formations, though there is some disagreement on this and other earlier estimates put the figure at around four billion barrels.

Israel is under less pressure than Jordan to develop its kerogen deposits thanks to massive gas finds in its Levant Basin, but its kerogen ambitions are still on track. Israel believes it has the second-largest kerogen deposits in the world, after the US. Situated in southern and central Israel, these kerogen deposits are being most fervently explored by Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI). But it’s an uphill road, not only because of the expense but also because of the environmental concerns that kerogen extraction has too high a carbon footprint, especially when the drilling is taking place in an ecological corridor that covers Israel’s main water supply. IEI, though, is hoping to prove otherwise. IEI’s parent company is Genie Energy, and drilling should start sometime this year. They’ve already got the green light. (Genie Energy comprises IDT Energy and Genie Oil and Gas). For IEI, kerogen is the “heir apparent to oil”, and it’s only a matter of time before the right technology is in place, and the right market, for it to become economically feasible to extract kerogen.

So if you’re looking for an oil shale opportunity that’s already feasible, Brazil is probably the best choice, but investors should look further afield to Israel, Jordan and even the US, because eventually kerogen will be the next rock of ages.

Written by James Stafford
August 31st, 2013
email: admin@oilprice.com

http://321energy.com/editorials/oilpric ... 83113.html
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''

Posts: 537
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread post by Chromium6 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:56 pm

Example of the Alfa Laval pump:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7X3ylLt ... DFC30CB9F0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKoal0U ... DFC30CB9F0

BTW, I noticed in the above article mentions Jordan and the 65-66 million years ago figure for the raw organic "sediment" deposit for Hydrocarbons to oil shale. That ties with the K–Pg/Chicxulub crater extinction event when 75% of all species supposedly died. There likely would have been a huge Tsunami hitting the coasts of the middle east from the bolide impact. Did ocean sourced organic material get dumped all at once to later form trapped hydrocarbons from biological-organic material, after this major catastrophe?

I just wonder if that date is out of pure convenience or not: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretaceous ... tion_event ... If there is an attempt to try and tie these two into cause and effect for hydrocarbon formation... that should be interesting.


Chicxulub and mass extinction - Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event
The Chicxulub Crater lends support to the theory postulated by the late physicist Luis Alvarez and his son, geologist Walter Alvarez, that the extinction of numerous animal and plant groups, including dinosaurs, may have resulted from a bolide impact (the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event). Luis and Walter Alvarez, at the time both faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, postulated that this enormous extinction event, which was roughly contemporaneous with the postulated date of formation for the Chicxulub crater, could have been caused by just such a large impact.[43] This theory is now widely accepted by the scientific community. Some critics, including paleontologist Robert Bakker, argue that such an impact would have killed frogs as well as dinosaurs, yet the frogs survived the extinction event.[44] Gerta Keller of Princeton University argues that recent core samples from Chicxulub prove the impact occurred about 300,000 years before the mass extinction, and thus could not have been the causal factor.[45]

The main evidence of such an impact, besides the crater itself, is contained in a thin layer of clay present in the K–Pg boundary across the world. In the late 1970s, the Alvarezes and colleagues reported that it contained an abnormally high concentration of iridium.[46] Iridium levels in this layer reached 6 parts per billion by weight or more compared to 0.4 for the Earth's crust as a whole;[47] in comparison, meteorites can contain around 470 parts per billion of this element.[48] It was hypothesized that the iridium was spread into the atmosphere when the impactor was vaporized and settled across the Earth's surface amongst other material thrown up by the impact, producing the layer of iridium-enriched clay.[49]
The impactor had an estimated diameter of 10 km (6.2 mi) and delivered an estimated energy equivalent of 100 teratons of TNT (4.2×1023 J).[21] By contrast, the most powerful man-made explosive device ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, had a yield of only 57 megatons of TNT (2.4×1017 J),[22] making the Chicxulub impact 2 million times more powerful. Even the most energetic known volcanic eruption, which released an estimated energy equivalent of approximately 240 gigatons of TNT (1.0×1021 J) and created the La Garita Caldera,[23] delivered only 0.24% of the energy of the Chicxulub impact.
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''


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