Bad Economy, Production Problems Gobble Turkey Diesel Company

biofuel turkey technology photo

Photo: Steve Voght via Flickr
Changing World Technologies, the maker of "turkey diesel," has filed for bankruptcy protection. Reasons cited include rising costs of commercializing its patented waste conversion methods, mounting debts and lack of financing. Brian Appel, chief executive, had made plans to take the company public but withdrew due to the unstable state of the markets. Diesel From Turkeys
CWT's Carthage, Missouri refinery used a thermal conversion process to convert 78,000 tons of animal and food processing waste into 4 to 9 million gallons of biofuel per year. The waste came from an adjacent Butterball turkey factory.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Turkey Diesel Manufacturers...
Running a turkey diesel refinery isn't all roses. It is, in fact, a dirty and smelly job. The facility was under a constant barrage of odor complaints. They were hit with a cease-and desist order and forced to retrofit their plant with odor-reducing technology. The company had to pay a $100,000 dollar fine for their offending stench.

The plant suffered from recurring shutdowns and never reached full operational capacity. And during those periods of inoperation, CWT had to pay to dispose of all the turkey parts that it wasn't converting into fuel.

Who do you call when you have to unload a stack of dewlaps?

CWT had planned to generate the majority of their heat on site, but that idea didn't came to fruition either. They relied heavily on natural gas, $900,000 worth--7% of the company's total goods sold.

The Future of the Turkey Diesel Company
Most of the workers at the Carthage, Missouri plant have been laid off. According to the Carthage papers, the refinery is all but closed.

Changing World Technologies plans to restructure and reorganize their company. They aim to get back on their feet through the creation of new debt and equity financing.

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