First world countries are addicted to their disposable, aka "landfill" diapers. According to Planet Trash, "Americans alone go through around 18 billion disposable diapers a year." A Canadian company wants to turn all those dirty diapers into a cost-effective, diesel fuel.
Using the process of pyrolysis to convert diapers to diesel, a facility is going to be built in Montreal. Pyrolysis, also known as thermal cracking, involves heating the dirty diapers in a closed environment that lacks oxygen. This closed system does not produce any emissions. Luciano Piciacchia, an engineer and vice-president with Amec's Quebec office, explains,
Then you're bringing it to the next level which is breaking the carbon chains down ... and (in the end) they will resemble the fuels which are what we're going to end up producing.
The company plans to begin collecting soiled diapers from area hospitals. "One of the beauties of the diaper is that it is going to be a very consistent input," compared to trying to make fuel from other kinds municipal waste. According to cnews,
The initial plan is to convert about 30,000 tonnes of diapers, about one-quarter of the diapers that end up in landfills in Quebec yearly. Piciacchia says that number of diapers will translate into about 11,000 tonnes of diesel fuel. The preliminary economic analysis pegs the cost of the fuel at 50 cents per litre.
The company hopes to have the dirty diaper fuel facility up within 18 months. The diaper diesel can be used in any industrial application, but it probably won't be suitable for cars. Thank goodness, can you imagine the exhaust fumes?
Image courtesy of Web Pages That Suck.