Technology turns waste plastic to diesel fuel
A process to turn mixed waste plastic into clean-burning Grade 1 diesel fuel has reached the commercialization stage, after 20 years of development work. The patented process, developed by Environment...
A process to turn mixed waste plastic into clean-burning Grade 1 diesel fuel has reached the commercialization stage, after 20 years of development work. The patented process, developed by Environmental Fuel Development Co., utilizes a high-temperature technology, Thermalysis, to convert plastic to fuel. Contamination and impurities are destroyed by temperatures over 800 F. Also, with few exceptions, mixed plastics products composed of most major resin grades can be used as a feedstock for the process.
The company, located in Kelso, WA, has sold two units to a company located in the same city. According to Christy Sutton, marketing manager with EFD, the units are being used to carry out final pilot-stage testing and fine-tune the process before launch of full-scale production and commercialization.
“The technology’s cut-and-dried; it’s something we’ve been working on for a long time,” says Sutton. “The only minor issues are things like how to best feed the plastic and how certain plastics may influence the type of fuel we generate.”
One class of plastics that appears to cause problems is polystyrene. Sutton says that polystyrene is usually segregated from other mixed plastic, and that the company is currently investigating another method to process it.
Fuel generated from the process is extremely low in sulfur and contains a minimum 10,000 BTU more energy per gallon than regular (grades 1 through 6) diesel fuel, according to company specification data. Potential buyers of the technology include hospitals currently incinerating or disposing plastic waste, chemical companies with contaminated plastic containers and waste disposal companies. Approximately 100,000 tons of waste plastic is produced per day in the U.S., enough to generate 28 million gallons of fuel.
EFD has purchasing commitments from parties in Australia and Japan, and is looking to sell the technology through licensed arrangements in North America.
Environmental Fuel Development Co. 360-423-3389