JBI of Thorold, Ontario Canada has entered into an agreement with Rock-Tenn Company to convert Rock-Tenn’s mill by-product waste into petroleum products using JBI’s Plastic2Oil™ technology.
JBI’s Plastic2Oil™ can use unwashed, mixed waste plastics. JBI developed and scaled up the original processor, then enhanced and commercialized a process that converts difficult to recycle waste plastics into separated, refined fuels. The current model processor runs continuously, currently at 20 metric tons per day with a footprint of about 3000 square feet.
There are several processes that can convert plastic and other hydrocarbon materials into products for use in the production of fuels, chemicals and recycled items. The list includes pyrolysis; catalytic conversion; depolymerization; and gasification. The Plastic2Oil conversion process is most similar to pyrolysis, and involves the cracking of plastic hydrocarbon chains at ambient pressure and low temperature using a reusable catalyst.
The processor installation uses its own off-gas as fuel from about 8% of the feedstock, making for very low operating costs: 67kWh electricity for motors and pumps, and approximately $7/hr for a cold start using natural gas is all the outside energy required.
A curious aspect of the emissions is the releases are less than a natural gas furnace, and the process releases about 14% oxygen back into the air. For New York State installations emissions monitoring and scrubbers on the stack are not required.
JBI’s process accepts mixed sources of non-recyclable plastic. Although many sources of feedstock are available, JBI is focusing initially on post-commercial and industrial sources, since these are readily available in large supply, and present a cost-effective solution for companies who currently have to pay to dispose of this plastic waste. It’s the sensible case of going to where the mountain already exists and gets built more each day.
The payoff is each 2.2 pounds (1kg) of plastic yields about a liter, a bit more than a quart of oil products in the form of fuels.
The raw plastic feedstock is first treated to a shredding and then granulated. A hopper is loaded with about 1,800 pounds of the plastic granules. The plastic is loaded into the processor by a continuous conveyor belt between the hopper and reactor. The plastic is then fed into the processor chamber where it is heated by burning off-gas produced from the conversion process.
In the reactor, the plastic hydrocarbons are cracked into various shorter hydrocarbon chains and exit in a gaseous state. JBI’s proprietary catalyst and unique process engineering enables capturing nearly 90% of the hydrocarbon content from the plastic. Any residue or non-usable substances (about 2%) remain in the processor chamber and are automatically removed while operating.
From the processor, the gasses containing gasoline and diesel are condensed and separated, then proceed into temporary fuel tanks. All of the gaseous “light fractions” (off-gas), such as methane, ethane, butane and propane, exit the temporary fuel storage tank and are compressed and stored. Butane and propane liquefy when compressed and can be stored and sold separately. Methane can be sold into the natural gas grid and ethane can be resold back into the chemical market.
An entire cycle for one 1800-pound load takes less than one hour to process into fuel for a little over 200 gallons of recycled fuel products. At $2 per wholesale gallon a reactor will earn $400 – nearly $10,000 per day.
The agreement announcement follows developments made by John Bordynuik earlier this year. Now the Plastic2Oil processor has two columns supporting 4 catalyst trays. Quality control includes two columns for control and specificity of fuel fractions, a cyclone (for particulate removal in vapor), fuel filters (for particulate removal in liquid), and a centrifuge (for additional redundant particulate trapping), as well as column enhancements to guarantee particulate free fuel.
Fuel additives are injected inline while fuel is being produced to increase their effectiveness on both heavy and light fuel condensing systems.
That 2% of residuals compounds that don’t make it into products is inert enough after processing to be simply sent to a landfill. This makes a 50-fold reduction in waste. That in turn makes one more feature extremely attractive. The new residue removal system works while the processor is running, so the reactor does not have to be cooled down or stopped to remove residue. Plastic recycling is now a continuous process instead of a batch operation. That explains the attractiveness in a major way.
Mr. Bordynuik, JBI’s CEO and primary engineer, deserves great credit for coming this far. The competitive note is the catalyst is a trade secret, and justifiably so, delivering a very short reaction time and impressive yields.
The point that consumers might note is that 2.2 pounds of many plastics are worth about $2.00. While the demand isn’t there yet for widespread reactor installations, it will come. It will be great to use the plastic and then use the oil within again.
Got a big pile of plastic waste? Back in 2009 JBI engaged IsleChem, an independent chemical firm providing contract R&D, contract manufacturing and scale-up services to validate the P2O process and provide engineering support so that JBI could apply for an Air Permit for the Niagara Falls Facility. IsleChem performed more than 60 small-scale runs of various types of multicolored, mixed plastic feedstock. After analyzing the energy consumption, residue, off-gas, and material balance, IsleChem determined that our P2O process is repeatable and scalable.
Contact info is on the JBL website. Better get in line.