Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Waste Plastic to Fuel Ratcheting Up

JBI, Inc. has entered into an agreement with Rock-Tenn Company to convert mill by-product waste into fuel using JBI’s Plastic2Oil technology. The products of the P2O process are naphtha, fuel oil, and an off-gas similar to natural gas. Naphtha is similar in many respects to gasoline, and fuel oil is similar in many respects to diesel fuel.

...RockTenn’s paper mills and MRFs currently produce thousands of tons of plastic per day. To handle the plastic waste stream, RockTenn has been storing this by-product in company-owned plastic-only monofill sites for several years. The agreement gives JBI the exclusive rights to mine plastic from these sites. _GCC
Rather than looking at used plastics as garbage, an increasing number of industrial companies are beginning to look at waste plastic as the starting point for producing valuable fuels and chemicals. JBI's process is said to be clean and economical, and time will tell.
JBI’s P2O process converts waste plastic into fuel without the need of further refinement. JBI scaled a 1kg process to a 20MT commercial processor in less than one year...The Plastic2Oil conversion process is similar to pyrolysis, and involves the cracking of plastic hydrocarbon chains at ambient pressure and low temperature using a reusable catalyst.

In addition to liquid fuel, the P2O process produces off-gas, which is similar to natural gas. In order to avoid having to flare the off-gas, JBI uses a gas compression system that buffers and regulates the off-gas and then feeds the off-gas into the P2O processor’s furnace, creating a closed loop operating system.

Excess off-gas is stored in mobile tanks and can be sold or used to cold-start the P2O processor’s furnace. In other words, the P2O process requires minimal external energy to operate since the processor can operate on its own captured and stored off-gas, according to JBI.

To most efficiently load the P2O processor, the plastic feedstock is passed through a shredder and granulator. A hopper is loaded with approximately 1,800 pounds of waste plastic using a forklift. 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, plastic hydrocarbons are cracked into various shorter hydrocarbon chains and exit in a gaseous state. Any residue or non-usable substances remain in the processor chamber and must be removed periodically. From the processor, the gasses containing fuel oil and naphtha are condensed and separated, then proceed into temporary fuel tanks.

...A 20 MT capacity P2O processor at the Niagara Falls Facility resides in an approximately 10,000 square foot building and is about 24 feet high at its highest point. Operations and general maintenance for this processor requires approximately 3,000 square feet of space. The process is automated, and the machine is equipped with 63 different sensors. General operations involve monitoring the display screen to track the machine’s operating parameters, and the loading of plastic onto the machine’s in-feed system. _GCC
Waste plastics can be high value feedstocks for producing fuels, chemicals, and other products if industrial engineers are clever enough. Once clean and efficient processes are developed, the key for economical reclamation of wastes is a strong cooperation between the producers of waste plastics and the industrial consumers of those waste plastics.



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