Brian Appel, CEO of Changing World Technologies

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, July 30, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: What if I said your everyday household garbage could be converted into oil? Sound crazy?

Well, one Pennsylvania company is trying to revolutionize the energy process with items really right out of your trash, like soda bottles and scraps of food, rubber tires, even old stereo equipment.

As we look for ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (search), is this guy on to something or just on something?

He’s Brian Appel. He’s the CEO of Changing World Technologies.

Brian, good to have you.


CAVUTO: How does this work?

APPEL: It’s really simple. We just take the garbage, and we heat it in water, subject it to temperatures and pressures, and we convert it into oil, gas, and fertilizer.

CAVUTO: All right. Now how much garbage does it take to make oil or gas.

APPEL: Well, that depends on what’s going in. If it was plastics or tires, it would take much less than, say, if it was an animal or a plant because an animal or plant have 50-percent water, say, so you’re going to have to deal with the water issue.

But if we take the Butterball turkey plant that we’re hooking up next week, at 200 tons a day of waste, that will make over 500 barrels of a gasoline diesel weight oil every day.

CAVUTO: All right. So 500 barrels. Are we talking the same barrels of oil in equivalent size that we get from OPEC?

APPEL: We’re talking 42 gallons in a barrel. We are talking the same barrels that you get from OPEC.

CAVUTO: If you’re right and we have this ability, you could wipe out your dependence on OPEC overnight.

APPEL: You could eventually wipe out your dependence from OPEC, but it’s going to take years to build these plants. But just theoretically, if you took all the agricultural waste that’s produced in the United States, on a conservative basis, you’d be able to produce four-billion barrels of a light condensable oil that’s already been refined out of the agricultural waste.

CAVUTO: How much do you do right now in equivalent barrels per day?

APPEL: Right now, the first plant will be on line in a couple weeks. We’ll do 500 barrels a day. But that’s our first-out plant, and that first-out plant already is competitive with a small exploration and production company’s prices after a hundred years of establishing a petroleum market, and, once you build bigger plants, your barrel of oil equivalent will be below a large oil and exploration production company.

CAVUTO: All right. Now we should stress that with OPEC we’re looking at, what, 23-million barrels per day. So we have, obviously, quite a bit of a gap to get to. But bottom line, if this develops, you could be on to something big. You’re not publicly traded, right?

APPEL: No, we’re not publicly traded.

CAVUTO: Are you looking to do so?

APPEL: No, we’re not looking to go public. We’ve been fortunate. We have great investors. ConAgra Foods has been a great partner in the agricultural arena.

CAVUTO: If ConAgra is on to something with you, you could be huge.

APPEL: It can be huge. But we also have other great partners, the Sterling Equity Group, the Finkelsteins. We put about $70 million into this company to develop this technology. So these are significant investments that we made because we know it works.

CAVUTO: All right. Brian Appel, we’ll see where all of this goes, but you could be on to something very, very big here. We’re going to keep a close eye on you.

APPEL: I appreciate that.

CAVUTO: Brian Appel, Changing World Technologies. This could be the way we say “ta-ta” to OPEC, but we’ll see.

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