NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 14, 2005

In 2003, Changing World Technologies predicted that its Renewable Environmental Solutions (RES) plant in Carthage, Mo., would create alternative energy sources by turning turkey feces and carcasses into crude oil.

RES had a projected construction cost of $15 million while proponents claimed it would produce oil for $15 per barrel. Moreover, it had the support of environmental activists and a $5 million federal grant.

But now, just two years later, the project is $25 million over-budget and its plan to turn fowl waste into crude oil has run afoul of financial and chemical realities, says Greg McConnell (Heartland Institute):

  • The new facility cost about $40 million to build, more than twice the original estimate.
  • Then the plant went far over its targeted production costs, with the product coming in at $80 per barrel -- five times higher than originally estimated and twice the market price for crude oil.
  • The plant continues to run up operating losses.
  • The plant is releasing a stench that bothers nearby residents.

In 2003, Carthage residents were promised that the "green" RES plant would be odor-free, but now the town is enveloped by the rank odor of turkey by-products. In response to complaints, Changing World Technologies has obtained another federal grant -- this one for $12 million -- to install odor scrubbers; it is not yet known whether the scrubbers will reduce or eliminate the odor.

Even though this not the first time "green" energy proposals have failed to live up to their promises, RES is still receiving federal funding and Missouri Senators and Representatives still support the technology, says McConnell.

Source: Greg McConnell, "Turkey-to-Oil Plant Failing to Live Up to Promises," Heartland Institute, June 1, 2005.


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