Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Today's intersection: frac sand mining or mining the waste stream?

The Baja Waldo/Red Rock Road geezers try to meet for breakfast every other Tuesday or so. It's a pretty diverse group for a handful of sometimes seven or eight old white guys.

Several are local celebrities. One is a retired Swiss orthopedic surgeon, one a Vietnam vet, one a registered nurse, one a global tour guide; and, yet another is a political blogger with his remaining hair on fire. All live off the grid trying to minimize the amount of waste generated by each household.

One book making the rounds is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Food scraps go to chickens or are composted, paper not recycled is stored to start fires, but one material in the waste stream remains a challenge: glass. It takes enormous amounts of energy to melt and millions of yards of earth to disturb every year to mine the silica used in its manufacture.

There should be a kitchen appliance that turns plastic packaging into liquid fuel or gas for the stove and oven.

Santa Fe County does a lousy job recycling or repurposing glass.
Officials are working to change the fact that Santa Fe only diverted roughly 8.4 percent of its waste stream to recycling in fiscal year 2013, a number revealed by a draft of an external audit. That number represents a steady worsening of recyling habits, down from 9 percent in 2011. For now, however, there’s a temporary use for some of the excess glass. Officials have been busy blasting away thousands of cubic yards of basalt rock at Caja Del Rio landfill. The construction of the new cell will help lengthen the life of the landfill to keep it up with the 300 million pounds of trash it collects annually—5.5 pounds of waste per resident per day. The agency estimates that it will spend over $5 million to construct the new cell. In a bid that’s due this month, companies are vying to be selected by the entity to use some of that glass as a lining for the landfill to help prevent contamination. [Justin Horwath, Santa Fe Reporter]
Now open pit frac sand mines are competing to tear into yet another thousand acres.
Right now the ceramic alternatives are much more expensive, but companies are experimenting with different ways to bring the cost down. One idea is to manufacture it near where the fracking is taking place, using local clay. For now, sand remains king. It makes up about 90 percent of the proppant market overall, according to Brian Olmen of Kelrik, a Wisconsin-based consulting firm that analyzes the industrial minerals industry. [Minnesota Public Radio]
Growstone, Inc. buys Albuquerque's glass and manufactures a medium for horticultural applications.

The US has thousands of mountains of glass cullet from the municipal waste stream just waiting to be repurposed: Japan recycles nearly 100% of her glass.

We sell millions of tons of salvage material to India and Asia to be recycled while tearing up our own ground mining for virgin minerals while steel and plastics, that could be petroleum, are buried in landfills.


5 comments:

Duffer said...

so you're doing PV collectors and batteries . . . . ?

For a while, I operated the first U.S., stand-alone, 100kw pv system north-west of you at Natural Bridges NM. Batteries were a pain in the rear. We had a string of those huge fork-lift batteries, and we were constantly shipping back/forth with the factory in PA. MIT built the damn thing. Computer that controlled and reported it was about the size of a car - now it could be run with a tablet.

You got a generator?

Good for you guys. Friend of mine lives on Roatan, Honduras. Their problem is plastic.

Election time is nigh Dude. Got my fingers crossed for Oregon and Alaska, and Florida for med. Wonder why dip-shits like Adelson have a woodie for someone smokin a bit of Bud . . . other than the thrill of jailing your political enemies?

Keep that hair-fire burnin.



larry kurtz said...

Here's a pic of the array on the pump house and on the property co-owner's house. My host's house is connected via buried cable. If needed, 7000W generator plugs into the charge controller and ten batteries: 24V system designed and built by Bob from Eclectic Electric.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

I have been checking out various areas in Minnesota for a red state escape plan if this crook Rounds wins which will really reflect badly on SD.

Anyways along the St. Croix and Miss River all these communities are dealing with the negative affects of frac sand mines. Besides the destruction and water contamination there are serious air quality issues and at the very least the dust.

Many of these communities were excellent, historic recreational, bed and breakfast and artsy communities and now real estate properties are going down due to residents leaving while they can while minimizing their losses. I'd love to live at a few of these beautiful places but there is no way now with what is happening.

Lynn

larry kurtz said...

Winters are just so brutal in that part of the world, Lynn and living near heavily populated areas scares the spit out of me.

Rounds' days in politics are numbered: hang in there.

Duffer said...

If it isn't Rounds, it'll most likely be Scary Larry . . . . Mr. Weiland, like most other Dem candidates, lacks message clarity, swiftness of mind during debate, and killer instinct. There isn' a GOP candidate in South Duck that has those qualities either, but they don't need them.

Mindless sheep are solidly in the fear and loathing fold.