Monday, September 28, 2009

this is a paper i just wrote for my organic chemistry class and i am wondering if this is a s interesting as i think it is.

for me school is about lerning something new and since i can't bring you to anatomy with me
don't get me wrong, cadavers are cool for their educational value, but i wouldn't describ one as fun. and they are not part of common experience, but this is then again mabye i am a nerd at heart.
chem 1110 sect 601
I started off reading an article from scientific American written on august 25, 2009. The article starts off by posing the question, ”can oil be recycled?” I guess you have to ask your self. “Why would you want to recycle oil?”. It seems like the presumption and political orientation of our culture is that oil is a bad thing and not “good for the planet”. Then why would you want to reuse something that is “bad” to start with. For one thing I don’t believe in man made global warming.
I don’t believe mankind has anymore destructive potential to this planet then a small benign rash poses to an adult human being. When the “evidence” provided as proof goes beyond observances molded to fit a popular political modality or if the financial security of the scientist studying climate change was not linked to their success in finding man made causes for this macro meteorological phenomena, I would be more inclined to join in.

That being said the reason to explore this subject for me is; I hate waste and needless environmental damage. Putting this stuff in landfills or into the water table IS BAD.
Our little corner of the world will be altered for at least as many years as it takes to be broken down by natural processes and that is not necessary. This brings us to the substance involved, used motor oil. Whether you’re aware of it or not, oil as a lubricant is involved in almost every aspect of your life. We as a society have become dependant on both tremendous machines and small ones. They are used to feed us, protect us, transport us, and deliver our every convenience. These machines, and what makes them run well are central to our lives and culture. But these machines have needs as well, fuel and lubrication.

According to the New York Times, as found in an article written on Aug 29th 2008,
The state of Utah had at that time 2.7 million registered vehicles, if you look at this simple data you could make a educated guess at the amount of used oil produced in a year in our state. I will apply this data to myself then extrapolate the remainder.

I own a 2000 ford f 150 pick up, it is now 2009 and in those nine years I have driven 256,121 miles, or 28,457 miles per year, if you assume I drive to fast and too much, you could reasonably cut my miles to just 60% of what was actually driven and round that off to 17,000 miles. Lets just say that this is an average road way contribution for these 2.7 million cars. That means realistically I change my oil 3 times a year as do the other car owners. This would have a waste oil production of 5 quarts per oil change times three times per year times 2.7 million cars.

Number of quarts: 40.5 million
Number of quarts in a gallon 4
Number of gallons in a barrel of oil 42

So we have 241,000 barrels of oil in Utah alone that has to go somewhere, but where?
Please bear in mind we haven’t considered commercial diesel trucks in this rumination.
Consider for a moment what California’s production of used oil must be.

In western Pennsylvania in a town called Monaca in Beaver county there is a new small refinery that has just been completed. The Pittsburg Tribune-Review, published an article in 2007 talking about this plant just being completed, and that would as it’s purpose re-refine used oil. It was built on a former steel mill site at a cost of 34 million dollars. (Don’t get hung up on the price it cost between 35 and 39 million dollars for one mile of four lane freeway in an urban area in the state of Michigan according to Mich. DOT)

This plant takes up twenty acres, and on this site 35 to 40 people will go to work re-refining used oil from the Pittsburg area and the average pay for these workers will be 20.00/hr for that they will be making between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of re-refined oil products in a year. Why is the small production and building size important? Because these are plants built on a small scale with small environmental impact and provide excellent pay for workers in the areas in which they can be built. The best part is that it required no government grant.

That’s right, no government help and therefore cost the public (you) nothing…..think about that. When can you do something effective and beneficial for the environment, the public, and for the development of business, without a sweaty politician trying to convince someone that he/she deserves the credit…amazing.
The process is this; you collect the dirty oil and first examine it for inappropriate food stock and remove it. You then remove water by a dehydration process. The next step is to then heat it to between 700 and 1100 degrees Fahrenheit while placing it in a vertical column and submitting it to a vacuum which will cause the different components to separate themselves vertically in the column by density. At this point you remove the first product that is useful, which is an asphalt flux which gathers at the bottom of the tube in the vacuum distillation phase
It is stripped off and sold for roads and roofing. Also in this phase you extract lube oil distillates and gas oil. Gas oil is used as refinery fuel. It can also be used for the heating of homes or be converted into other types of fuel.
At the completion of this process the lube oil is put through a series of hydro treating reactors to infuse hydrogen back into the organic carbon molecules and also to simplify them making them more viscous. With this final process you have created new base oil to be blended to make all related products for lubrication, hydraulics and coverants.
I spoke to a chemical engineer of my acquaintance and he told me that the industry doesn’t trust the re-refined oil products for very fine applications, due to the near perfect chemical consistency required for those applications, but for simple and general applications they work the same as oil refined from virgin, out of the ground stock.
The resultant yield of the re-refining process on one unit of used motor oil is as follows
Lube oil 71%
Fuels 5%
Asphalt 14%
Water 10%
Currently approximately 10% of used oil is recycled
There are other chemical considerations, the most important of which is sulfur content but that can be controlled in the processing and mixing phases during the production of the gas oil and the base oil.
There are actually better cheaper ways to process used motor oil, including,
Hydro-cracking, and the use of bacteria to catalyze fuels. I even read about a fellow named Ramachandra in India that was working on a way to produce fuel oil directly from an algae that was called a diatom.. Pretty cool stuff. But I’m not ready for all that, but it was interesting to learn about this subject, I had no idea.
In learning about this I have found other articles about unused reclaimable resources, and now it bugs me to think about the billions of unused Liters of methane rolling through our sewer systems, we could easily make propane out of that.…. Like I said I hate waste.
I apologize for the length of this report, please believe me, there was an enormous amount of interesting and informative material that I left out. I think this is the minimum I could have done.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

one funny thing

as i walk the hall of UVU I meet people and stuff happens. As I think about some of the happenings and the way they came about, they are more funny than remarkable.

Humor happens....... It just like Pasteur muffins. (left by cows)

You're walking across a Field which has no other large mammals in it, the grass is knee high

All of a sudden you become keenly aware that you have either discovered mutable earth, capable of arbitrarily varying its density and viscosity, or you have personal empirical evidence that a cow has been in the vicinity with in the hour.... (ewwe! maybe a half hour)

This isn't necessarily the kind of humor that is found at Utah's second largest university, but the funny stuff has an equal ability to astound and amaze....For instance;

A week or so back: I was in an open lab in anatomy and in a room designed for 40 people, there was about seventy five...... with standing room only...even for the cadavers.....that's not the funny part.....

a few days before this, during our scheduled lab, we had a few moments where we were alone as a class.

Someone brought up the subject of organizing study groups, OK it was me..

I had looked at the blanched faces as the reality of the work load and curriculum was making its self known to us. Then some how I heard my self say "lets get our study groups figured out"

First thing, I know nothing about study groups and how to organize them, so I prodded a few people into action and we got moving.

Some how my group ended up with allot of people (15) and the labs were very crowded so we decided that we would all wear the same kind of name tag,

The plan was; as we slithered through the mass of other students we could find others, who were working on similer tasks and shared some of the same assignments and help each other....are you laughing yet? No wait it gets better.

On the first night we did this. I had the name tags. someone came in late and asked "who has the name badges" one of the other members pointed to me and said.;

"That big guy, you know PAPA BEAR."

In my mind I did on of those stop and stair moments and I said in my mind "whaaat!"

I don't know how to spell it, but this word is used when your kid tells you that they have wrecked the car or something....what you do is pronounce the "wh" softly and then draw the "a" sound slightly up and louder and finally you bite of the "t" like you were tearing it off the sentence.... but this frightens kids like a bird looking into the eyes of a cobra.

This effectively gets their attention, but like I said, I had thought that i had only said it in my mind...... Unfortunately it leaked out.......

As I looked narrowly at her trying to ascertain if I had in fact heard , what I thought I had heard
every one in the group looked back and fourth between us, wondering what would happen next.

She gave me the deer in the headlights look knowing that she had some how stepped on a pasture muffin......she said

"Somebody told me that was your nick name or something..."(shrugging of shoulders and a timid smile)

in this open lab there were several young people who know me, one of these was a girl who effectively grew up in my house as a weekend guest and consumer of the delicate waffles which on special days of the week appear as if they were magic, on the kitchen counter, these delicacies are consumed voraciously by Friends of kids. And by friends of friends of kids on a good day..

she is an TA in the class. and I looked across the room at Becca, my daughter with five helpful study partners (all male). so I wondered if this might be the source.... some kind of joke they had played on me.

But this isn't the funny part yet.

She asked if she had offended me? But she thought it was a good nick name....

then I remembered a line from a movie I saw once.

I folded my arms across my chest lowered my brow staring at her and in a calm ,even, and low tone said;

" You may only call me that when I am wearing a broad rimmed felt hat and a fur coat while driving my fusia Cadillac....."

She looked terrified for a moment and paused as if considering something then asked me.....

"Do you really do that?"

The entire side of the room laughed and one of the older ladies whispered to her;

"No he doesn't sweetie."


now that's funny.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

something that sets on my desk.

About ten years ago I picked up this little nick nack at a yard sale.

It has set on my bathroom counter, in my truck, and now sits on my desk.

I have always thought it would be cool to find something of great worth at an auction or a yard sale....

It has taken ten years but I think it has started to sink in with me, and has become something of incalculable worth to me and my outlook on life.

Every time I want to run away from school, and shout at the top of my lungs,


I think of what it says and pick up my back pack and head to lab.

Surprisingly that shouting thing has happened twice this week in the hall of flags.... (the second one wasn't me;-)

Anyway.... I don't say this for sympathy,
a person can be told all kinds of good things about them self ,but you gotta feel and know it.

I'm feeling it.
I'm working on knowing it.

this is what my little nick nack says....

press on

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common
than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world if full of educated derelicts


Who ever made this Little nick nack........thanks.