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One company's fascination with hydrocarbons

My high-school chemistry team never prepared me for this sort of stuff. The folks at Global Resource probably despaired of me ever posting this item.

My high-school chemistry team never prepared me for this sort of stuff. The folks at Global Resource probably despaired of me ever posting this item. But, frankly, it has taken me this long to stop my head from spinning so I could pull together some coherent thoughts about what they’re doing. That’s because it’s really hard to summarize all the different things that the company’s ambitious CEO Frank Pringle is experimenting with in what the field of alternative renewable energy.

Global Resource, based in my home state of New Jersey in West Berlin, is working on all sorts of devices that it hopes will help people reclaim fuel. Potential sources of that fuel included everything from oil shale fields to contaminated sediment to old tires.

Its best-known invention is a patent-pending microwave device that extracts gas and oil out of just about anything made out of hydrocarbons. The technology is described in this article from Popular Science magazine.

Global Resource divides its business into two types of activities: those centered on recovering hydrocarbons out of the rubber, plastic and tire material found in automotive shredder residue (aka the scintillating acronym ASR); and those that pull the same sorts of gasses out of oil shale or silt (such as that being sucked up in its Delaware River dredge project).

The company’s oil shale aspirations are growing broader, Pringle admits. “We’re working on equipment to make oil well exploration more efficient,” he says.

Global Resources even has drawn the attention of the Department of Energy, which is researching oil shale recovery. Just this week, the company signed a deal with a professor at Penn State University to explore how its technology can be best commercialized. And it recently earned some props in Time, which named Global Resource among those companies producing the Best Inventions of 2007.

With all the debate about ethanol and whether using corn for energy depletes the nation’s feed stock, Pringle’s team also is looking at whether using corn stalks and other organic cuttings can provide a compromise.

“All of these things can be converted back into energy,” Pringle says.

Put that in your corn cob pipe and smoke it.