Squeeze oil and gas from junk using microwaves
Everything that goes into Frank Pringleâ€™s recycling machineâ€”a piece of tire, a rock, a plastic cupâ€”turns to oil and natural gas seconds later. â€œIâ€™ve been told the oil companies might try to assassinate me,â€? Pringle says without sarcasm.
The machine is a microwave emitter that extracts the petroleum and gas hidden inside everyday objectsâ€”or at least anything made with hydrocarbons, which, it turns out, is most of whatâ€™s around you. Every hour, the first commercial version will turn 10 tons of auto wasteâ€”tires, plastic, vinylâ€”into enough natural gas to produce 17 million BTUs of energy (it will use 956,000 of those BTUs to keep itself running).