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13, 2011; 4:30 pm MST
JBI's Plastic2Oil Technology Turns Waste Into Fuel
The Ontario, Canada based company, JBI is actively using a technology called Plastic2Oil, which converts waste plastic into low sulfur fuels -- such as diesel, furnace oil, and fuel oil. Although it's not a panacea solution to the energy crisis, their technology addresses the issue of what to do with plastic waste.
by Hank Mills
Pure Energy Systems News
To continue surviving on this planet, our civilization needs radical, game changing energy technologies to enter the market place. Without such technologies, human civilization is going to collapse -- perhaps sooner than we think. However, in addition to truly exotic energy technologies, there are more mundane technologies that could help us deal with various issues we are facing. One big issue that mankind needs to sort out, is the massive amount of waste we produce. This is a huge problem, because the easiest solutions -- burying, dumping, or burning the waste, are not environmentally friendly.
JBI's Plastic2Oil technology may provide a solution of what to do with the huge amount of plastic waste we produce. As JBI points out on their website, plastic waste is one of the least recycled types of waste (with only 7% of plastic waste being recycled in 2009). It is also a type of waste that is constantly increasing. In fact, each year the USA produces 30 million tons of plastic waste. The Plastic2Oil technology can turn this huge amount of waste into a number of different low sulfur fuels, such as diesel, furnace oil, and fuel oil. It can do so in a very environmentally "green" way, while consuming relatively little energy.
The technology is not that complicated. As feedstock, it can accept a wide range of plastics, including those that are unsorted, unwashed, or difficult to recycle. The main source of plastic waste the company is using at this time is from industrial sources that produce huge amounts of waste annually. In fact, some of these companies send the waste to plastic only landfills that can be mined to obtain the needed feedstock. Once the material is obtained, it can be cut up into small chunks before it is utilized, but recent advancements have led to the ability of putting larger pieces of plastic directly into the system.
To start the process, 1800 pounds of waste is loaded into a hopper with a forklift. Examples of the materials being loaded can include plastic fuel tanks, car bumpers, component holders, product packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, and agricultural film. Once the hopper is in the reactor, natural gas is burned to generate heat and get the process started. At this point a catalyst helps break the plastic hydrocarbons into shorter chain of molecules. The off-gases that are not going to be collected as fuel are used to produce heat and keep the process going. This limits the external energy required to only 67 kilowatts, which is used to operate pumps and fans. As the process continues, the fuel oil and diesel are condensed from a gaseous state into a liquid state, and are collected. They are placed into temporary fuel tanks. During the process an automated system controls everything.
It only takes less than one hour for the system to process 1,800 pounds of plastic waste. Over 90% of the hydrocarbons in the plastic are recovered, and turned into fuel. For every 8.3 pounds of waste that entered the system about one gallon of fuel is produced. The fuel is considered to be high quality, because it contains little sulfur. Only 2% of the weight of the plastic remains as solid waste in the form of carbon. This carbon can actually be burned, and has a heating value of 10,600 BTU/lb.
The whole Plastic2Oil process is also green in that emits very little pollution into the atmosphere -- about as much as a natural gas furnace of the same size. In fact, 14.87% of the gas emitted into the atmosphere is oxygen. Due to the minimum harmful emissions released, filters and scrubbers are not needed. Although some small amount of pollution is being emitted, it is far less pollution than if the plastic was shipped off to China to be burned.
An entire Plastic2Oil plant is stated to only be 2,000 square foot in size, and requires 3,000 square foot of operating space. There is a height requirement of 24 foot.
Perhaps the only negative I see is that the company does not have a positive cash flow, according to their website. I find this odd, due to the fact they get the plastic feedstock for free. It makes me think the process may be expensive. Also, they are charging a customer $109.80 dollars a barrel for their fuel. This does not seem like a cheap price. However, there may be other issues we are not aware of that is preventing them from having a positive cash flow. Perhaps one answer might be they are investing a lot of money into expansion. This could be the case, because the website claims their current priority is to install two more processing plants at their Niagara Falls facility, and three more at another site.
I think a technology like this one has promise, both now and in the future. Even after exotic energy technologies like cold fusion have entered the marketplace, we will be using oil as fuel for a number of years. Even after we stop using fossil fuels, we will still need oil to make fertilizer and plastics.
Maybe with cold fusion or other exotic energy technologies bringing the cost of energy down to near zero, a company like this one could sell their product at a lower cost. With near zero cost energy, mining landfills for plastic would be cheaper, and transporting the plastic to the site would also cost less.
More immediately, I think they could benefit from buying a few E-Cats from Leonardo Corporation to supply heat to start off the process, instead of using natural gas.
Regardless as to the cost of this technology, I like the idea of removing plastic from landfills. I think it would be great if we could combine robotics technology with free energy technologies, and sort all the different recyclable materials -- metal, glass, plastic, etc. If free energy technologies proliferate and keep civilization advancing (instead of crashing), I'm sure that this will take place.
With billions of people on this planet, we need to learn to start doing something with the waste we do not recycle, other than burying it or burning it. Now we have an answer about what to do with the plastic waste we produce.
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This story is published at BeforeItsNews.
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