Adult Diapers, alternative energy source

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Ganado, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Adult Diapers - An Unusual Alternative Energy Source
    Diapers: An Unusual Alternative Energy Source
    When you think of alternative energy, the first thought that typically comes to mind is wind and solar. However, there’s a slightly more unusual alternative source of energy out there that several businesses are starting to capitalize on. It turns out that elderly individuals who deal with incontinence have the ability to provide an all new source of energy. And that new energy source is adult diapers.

    This is what the Japanese automation firm Super Faiths firmly believes. Adult diapers are a growing industry, and Super Faiths has capitalized upon this growth by developing a series of recycling machines that transform adult diapers into fuel for biomass stoves and boilers.

    Super Faiths recognized the fact that adult diapers from hospitals and nursing homes were occupying significant amounts of space in local landfills. Now the company’s SFD Recycle System machine provides a solution for that issue.

    This is how it works—a diaper is dropped into the SFD Recycle System machine where it is shredded, dried, and sterilized. The result is a bacteria-free material that can be used for producing fuel pellets.

    Super Faiths installed two SFD machines at a hospital located in Tokyo’s Machida area where it takes in an astounding 1,400 pounds of used adult diapers per day. During the conversion process, bundles of diapers are wrapped in a plastic bag before being loaded into the machine. After the processing period (about a day) material for the fuel pellets are produced.

    The processed diapers transform into a truly unique material. In terms of dimensions, the new fibrous material is around one-third the weight and volume of the original bag of diapers. When the material has been separated and processed it can be used to heat home interiors, water, and roads.

    As of this time, Super Faiths offers three SFD models that can handle various capacities—330lbs, 661lbs, and 1,102lbs respectively.

    Super Faiths offers a revolutionary service for the country of Japan because recent birthrates have been extraordinarily low. The production of baby diapers has dropped by almost 2% since 2008. On the other hand, adult diaper sales have increased by nearly 7% in the same amount of time.


    LifeCycle launched in West Bromwich, right outside of Birmingham. The machine uses a combination of mechanical separation and chemical treatment to convert adult diapers, amongst other absorbent hygiene waste products, into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). This new product is then distributed throughout the U.K. and Europe to be used as an alternative fuel source. RDF is commonly burned in biomass plants to produce hot water and electricity for the National Grid, private companies, and municipal power systems.

    LifeCycle was launched because PHS group was aware of the fact a large number of adult diapers were being sent to landfills. They also recognized that this was more than a UK problem; it was a worldwide problem.

    PHS Group is the largest company in the U.K. that gathers absorbent waste, and they’ve been doing it for more than eight years. In the beginning, PHS Group simply picked up diapers and other waste products as a standard part of their service, but over time they realized they could do more than just dump their waste into landfills. PHS serves over 90,000 customers and covers over 300,000 locations across England and Ireland. Their customer base includes nursing homes, baby nurseries, movie theaters, office buildings, small businesses, and pubs.

    To take on this massive job, PHS employs an arsenal of 700 large waste collection vehicles to collect sanitary bins from the various locations they service. When the bins have been picked up and loaded into the waste collection vehicles, they’re taken to a waste transfer station and emptied. From there the waste is bulked together into bags and shipped off to the LifeCycle plant.

    The waste products are then shredded, and all liquid and other content within the diapers are drained away into the normal sewage system. The remaining plastic and paper material are then converted into RDF which is then shipped off to be used as energy.

    Once this process was refined and proven to work, PHS Group has teamed up with the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences located at the University of Birmingham to improve upon the process even more. PHS has made has made it their mission to be as transparent as possible to convince customers their waste is truly being put to use.

    Many of PHS Group’s customer base are genuinely concerned their waste products are having a negative impact on the environment. With the solution of converting diapers and other absorbent waste products into RDF, not only is PHS Group minimizing the negative impact on the environment, but they’re also helping their clients achieve their own environmental targets.

    Super Faiths in Japan and PHS Group in the United Kingdom aren’t the only companies out there that recognize the potential of used diapers. Though unusual, adult diapers have indeed found a unique use as an alternative energy source. The process
  2. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    "Science" at work

    Super-absorbent polymers similar to sodium polyacrylate were developed in the 1960s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture[3]. Before the development of these substances, the best water absorbing materials were cellulosic or fiber-based like tissue paper, sponge, cotton, or fluff pulp. These materials can only retain 20 times their weight in water, whereas sodium polyacrylate can retain hundreds of times its own weight in water. The USDA was interested in developing this technology because they wanted to find materials that could improve water conservation in soil. Through extensive research, they found that the gels they created did not expel water as fiber-based materials would. Early adopters of this technology were Dow Chemical, Hercules, General Mills Chemical, and DuPont. Ultra-thin baby diapers were some of the first hygiene products to be developed which uses only a fraction of the material compared to fluff pulp diapers. Super-absorbent technology is in high demand in the disposable hygiene industry for products like diapers and sanitary napkins. SAPs used in hygiene products are typically sodium neutralized whereas SAPs used in agricultural applications are potassium neutralized.

    and Polyacrylate 0043.pdf
    Ganado, HK_User, duane and 1 other person like this.
  3. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    If I remember right from chem many years ago, it absorbs much more distilled water than tap water or body fluids as it is tied into the sodium atoms and linkages. This would seem to indicate that adding a little salt water would cause much of the retained water to be removed.. That would make it easier to dry and concentrate for a fuel.

    While it might be a niche area, seems a lot better than filling the dumps with materials that will not biodegrade and may well be a serious bio hazard for many years. Always been hard to understand our present system, spend billions on sewage systems and treatment systems to remove the pound or so of solids that are suspended in a couple hundred pound of water that is flushed down your toilet, come from your sink or shower, or is used in your dishwasher and washing machines.
    HK_User likes this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    To be honest, after a few years in designing and building water and waste water plants and treatment systems, I don't see a lot of difference between treating adult diapers as a different source stream than taking poop (and other cruddly stuff) out of the sewer stream and treating it separately from the water. Either way, you wind up with biosolids that can be used in several different ways, from fuel to fertilizer. The one advantage I can see is knowing what's in the source that has to be taken out. That alone MAY economically justify the equipment. All that together, and unless there's more to it than above, the ability to collect and use methane from the solids digestion process is lost.

    Unique enough, but looks useful only if first world countries. And yep, landfills are filling up. If it reduces land use, makes good sense to me.
    HK_User likes this.
  5. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    First thing that comes to mind is fire wood, since it still provides more energy than solar panels or wind turbines.
    HK_User likes this.
  6. Big Ron

    Big Ron Monkey++

    Our country really needs to take whatever useful energy sources we have and use them all to compliment each other.
  7. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    pretty fresh

    way back in the day - the Original Green energy. Smokeless, odorless and clean burning.
    put the ashes on your garden.
    Tempstar and Ganado like this.
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