LENR and Recycling (Omega Z)

The following comment was posted by Omega Z

Omega Z (Guest):

As a Rule, Most recycling costs more than raw material. Exceptions tend to be metals. Many metals are economical to recycle because most are multipurpose. If you manufacture electric wire, you need virgin copper, but all copper is highly recyclable because it has so many other uses that don’t require virgin copper, though you may need some in the mix. You will find this situation with most metals. Some uses require virgin ore, but most do not.

Lead acid battery recycling is cheaper then producing new ones from raw material. That is not the case for most batteries. Recycling other types of batteries can cost 200 to 300 percent more. You will find consumer demand for recycled batteries, but not willing or not able to pay the price.

It is my hope that LENR will make many things cheaper to recycle, but note, not all recycling issues are about energy cost. Like electric wire, some uses require virgin state material.

Many plastics uses need to be of virgin origin. The primary recycling use of plastics tend to be pallets, new garbage containers to place plastic waste into, and these uses have a limited market. Ultimately, you don’t have enough use for recycled plastic. You have a surplus that ends up in the landfill.

This is one area where LENR could be of help. Big Oil has developed a process where this plastic can be reverted back to it’s virgin state or basically crude oil. You can then use it for anything you choose.

The problem with their process is it is extremely energy intensive. No one would make the required investments in the technology without knowing the cost of oil will forever be above $80 a barrel. I think with what we know at this point that LENR would make it so cheap that it would always be cheaper to recycle over the use of virgin oil pumped from wells.

  • Recycling is energy indeed.

    best example if freshwater, which is unlimited provided you recycle it.
    This is where what I read in the news from scaremongers make me laugh to tears.
    Metals are also of that kind, with the problem to separate them, more efficiently than for ore. Most of the time, recycling metal is less expensive than mining them.
    Again this is when I roll on the floor when I hear scaremonger say me metals will be missing soon… cheap metal may be missing, but there will always be some.

    The real problem of recycling is first plastics, and worst of all composite materials.
    One solution with LENR could be to take the easy way, by incinerating all, then producing biofuel from CO2/H2O, then polymers.

    Another good way to recycle, the best if well made, is reuse, and best of all use longer.

    For me moving from ownership to rent and service may push device which are slightly more expensive but which last much longer.
    This is where sharing economy (the new name of small scale capitalism) can increase durability of goods.

    LENR will make device with autonomy of years, if not decades, and this may push the idea of long lasting device. Is it not absurd to have you car dumped before the fuel is empty ?

  • Omega Z

    It doesn’t really matter if you can clean up the mess in 50 years or 200 years. If your cleaning up, your already on the right path.

    I have read studies that have indicated that landfills will become resource mines in the future should the technology evolve to where it is economical or raw material prices rise making it economical.

    There are some people who have been working on technology based on Rossi’s Petroldragon with the hope of achieving 95% recycling of all landfill waste. Recycling is a huge task so limiting ones thinking to 95% recycling is not surprising. My view is once you achieve that 95%, you can then look at remediating the remaining 5%. If the technology for this is not in reach, then possibly alternative materials can be created to displace that last 5% that would be recyclable.

    Note that a portion of the waste that they intend to eliminate is low level radioactive waste. Medical in nature. That amounts to about 75% of the nuclear waste that needs disposed of.

  • Zack Iszard

    With petroleum derived plastics, LENR will actually hurt recycling efforts by making virgin materials even cheaper. If we aren’t burning most of the crude, demand will go down as supply stays stable, and there will be an excess of raw materials for petro-based products. This is most critical for some monomers (ethylene and propylene used for a huge chunk of disposable plastic containers) which are part of the distillation process and sometimes converted into fuels, or in the case of MAPP welder’s gas, used as-is. Isobutylene, currently dimerized on a large scale to form one of the key components of gasoline, also makes useful plastic (polyisobutylene) for disposable and durable goods alike.

    What we’re more likely to see is a modest change in material selection for plastic producers and manufacturers who use plastics, and an across-the-board price drop for these things. This will hurt lots of the petro-chem industry in the short term (mostly because fuel demand will fall steadily for years), but the market will adjust and we will use more virgin plastics, not less. If LENR enables some of the variety of energy intensive processes for back-converting polymers into their monomers for re-distillation, the recycled plastics will get better, and perhaps recycled feedstocks will be blended with virgin feedstocks at slowly increasing rates. At the end of the day. the supply of crude from Mother Earth needs to dwindle before recycling takes over the lion’s market share.

    • Zack Iszard

      TL;DR: LENR means we burn less fuel, some of which can be converted into plastic. If we burn less (good), then we have more fresh feedstock for plastic.

      • Omega Z


        Note that Oil has a bottom limit of price out of the ground.($15-$20) If the reversion technology developed by big oil is made cheaper then this price limit by LENR, this would enable full plastic recycling.

        I do think that big oil will need to dig out their chemistry sets sometime in the future. At present, everything oil has a market & is used.(No Waste) There likely will come a time when that may not be the case. Thus they will need to find a way to reformulate some portions of their product for other uses.

        About a 100 years ago, Gasoline was a waste product with little market. The Rockefeller’s disposed of this by dumping it into rivers. A portion of the burning rivers period in history.

        • Michael S

          The price point of oil at the moment is not integrating external costs (ie pollution). The day there is a valid alternative of afordable carbon sources which as a side effect defacto clean up soils and the sea, oil from the well could (in my opinion will) be imposed a heavy tax to compensate a reasonable cost differential.