The implications, of course, are huge. The agricultural waste generated by the U.S. each yearroughly four billion tonscould theoretically yield the same amount of oil the country imports from the Middle East, a point not lost on former CIA director R. James Woolsey, an advisor to CWT, or Kevin Madonna, who represents environmental groups along with law partner Robert Kennedy. "Obviously any technology that can turn human waste into something that benefits society is a sound investment," says Madonna. "If TDP can recyle waste into oil, there is the added benefit of reducing our country's dependance on foreign oil."
Theoretically, TDP could help clean up the land and waters of the farmers and fishermen Madonna represents, whose livelihoods have been devastated by the waste deposited by corporate pig farmers. But he, like everyone else, is waiting on the outcome of what happens in Carthage.
Set to open in April, the plant began production just six weeks ago. "We've had the normal start-up challenges," says Appel, "ordering wrong parts, getting necessary training done," not to mention recombining all the disparate feathers and innards that are separated during production at ConAgra's nearby Butterball factory, then trucked to CWT's hydro-pulper. Each day, only a few tons of offal are processed into roughly 50 barrels of oil, but Appel expects to ramp up production in the next two months.
"There are a lot of people looking over their shoulders, waiting for us to fail," says Appel, adding that the non-believers can go on thinking the world is flat.
The proof will be in the turkey slurry.
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