MONTREAL -- If a Quebec company has its way, dirty diapers normally destined for landfills will soon be transformed into a cost-effective, synthetic diesel fuel.
Engineering and project management company Amec is working on behalf of an as yet unnamed client to build a facility in the Montreal area that would use a process known as pyrolysis to convert diapers to diesel.
The concept has been around for ages and is continually changing, said Luciano Piciacchia, an engineer and vice-president with Amec's Quebec office.
"But some of the issues that come up with (the process) is the consistency of the material you're putting through." Diapers are in plentiful supply in area hospitals and consistent in their composition. The company is considering a collection system to ensure it gets the volume it requires.
"If we try to take municipal waste and run it through a system like this, it would be too variable and you'd get all sorts of nasty surprises you'd have to deal with," Piciacchia said.
The preliminary economic analysis pegs the cost of the fuel at 50 cents per litre.
The so-called diaper diesel can be used in just about any industrial application, but probably won't be suitable for use in an automobile.