Personal plastic to fuel conversion system

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by Green Prometheus, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. woodworm

    woodworm Member

    Thetford Norfolk
    I would imagine you are at least 2 years away from selling these yet, but it sounds very interesting
  2. I am really surprised this isn't mainstream here in UK. Makes me paranoid thinking that there is a catch, but the more I learn the more it looks viable.

    Yes, we will need to do field testing. We haven't thought out how we will be doing that. Possibly taking some samples, testing them in the lab and then eventually doing a field test at one or two farms for an extended period of time
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    yellowbelly likes this.
  3. It sounds like painfully realistic prediction. You might be right though. This is my first start-up and I may not be selling this at all depending on how it goes. I am not planning on taking this slow. Big fan of Elon Musk here, so I am really going to give this one my best. Farms first, then the whole world
    wilber, Grassman and phillipe like this.
  4. This process/technology is well established. Unfortunately it won't be economic even with oil at $100 a barrel.

    If you want a way of doing something environmentally friendly, don't do it using plastics, do it using tyres and then act as a disposal service for what is otherwise a serious PITA waste.

    Also there is a lot more to taking polythene bale wrap and turning it into cherry. Ever seen how big an oil refinery is? Yep. It's complex. Taking big chain hydrocarbons (which are naturally going to be full of all kinds of crud) and then breaking them to make oil is barely half the steps required to make fuel.

    If you ask me I would go on dragons den asking for funding to start up a plasma incinerator which will create energy from nearly any feed stock. Council provides feed stock for me to sell energy to the grid? Right on.
  5. I disagree. I think it will be economic. More so than the current plastic to new plastic recycling which is bankrupting companies due to low oil prices and reduced exports to China and other countries. It requires approximately 1 unit of energy to get 40 out (theoretical limit), so this technology could power itself if done right.

    Tyres have their own issues and benefits. It will not be the focus of this company.

    Plastic to oil refineries vary in range. The bigger it is, the more benefit you get from the increased tonnage of recycled plastic. A lot of that space is due to processes required for a continuous system. We will be producing a semi-batch system.

    Incinerator based recycling companies have been known to be shut down due to environmental issues involved in high emissions of toxins. It requires expensive filtering equipment. They also suffer from being stuck to one location
  6. If you believe you can produce oil for $50 a barrel then I can only wish you good luck with it.

    Plasma based incinerators do not produce any toxins. They burn waste at up to 25,000 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point all molecular bonds are instantly destroyed.
  7. Interesting. I guess plasma incineration is much better than standard then!

    Cheap fuel is not the main goal here. Removal of plastic is. Which on it's own costs money and time etc. Fuel byproduct is the cherry on the top
  8. Who exactly is going to pay you to remove and dispose of plastic? The way I see it, you are entering a crowded marketplace, which is already catered for by:

    Conventional plastic recyclers
    Waste Incinerators
    Landfill operators

    Farmers already use mostly conventional recyclers who collect the waste and recycle it into other plastic products (unfortunately low grade ones). The effort required on the part of the farmer is minimal.

    For anyone who is interested there is a comparable technology that can produce a hydrocarbon substance which is basically oil, the process is called thermal depolymerisation and can create oil from nearly any organic matter, even sewage sludge I believe.
    Pheasant Surprise likes this.
  9. Farmers would pay and own their own recycling system. It could be bought by several farmers living nearby to be shared. They would do all the disposing themselves and they would keep the fuel to power their equipment.

    I thought farmers had to spend some effort to recycle plastic. I heard of cleaning, separating and drying of plastic waste before disposal. Also the use of baler if the collecting company doesn't provide one. Is this a rarity?

    Yeah, it is possible to make biofuel out food, but then you are replacing your farm with stuff to make fuel instead of whatever it was growing before.
    moo likes this.
  10. tepapa

    tepapa Member

    North Wales
    Is there any ash type waste/residue? And will this be classed as toxic and require some form of expensive disposal?
    pine_guy likes this.
  11. croppers

    croppers Member

    Scottish Borders
    What's your definition of mixed plastic? HDPE PVC PETE? All in the same pot?
  12. bobk

    bobk Member

    The Germans have second generation gasification that produces fuel from grass , but at the mo they aren't using it. just for a little quiet on the eastern front .
  13. Yes, normally <1% of input mass will become char. It will be 90% carbon, ~6% oxygen , ~1% calcium and tiny fraction of other elements non toxic elements.

    PVC plastics char byproduct will contain a high amount toxins. We are considering two solutions. Suggest people not recycle PVC or neutralize the char (which can be done)

    The other thing to consider would be other chemical contaminants. This is one thing we will need to find out, what kind of chemicals are plastics polluted in these environments.

    We want to make sure there is no need for expensive or difficult removal of toxins, otherwise other ways of plastic recycling would be easier
  14. All those in one pot. PVC is the one causing most problems
  15. woodworm

    woodworm Member

    Thetford Norfolk
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  16. Goweresque

    Goweresque Member

    North Wilts
    If it stacks up financially, why is the market for recycled plastic on the floor and yards full of bales of plastic mysteriously going up in smoke every few months?

    The 2500l production/use exemption is for biofuels only, not fuels produced from fossil fuel derived products. Hence all fuel produced would have to pay 58p/l fuel tax, plus VAT, just like the stuff you buy at the pumps. You would also have to register as a producer of fuel with HMRC.

    Then there's the environmental legislation to consider (the waste products would undoubtedly be considered toxic waste), which is a whole new can of worms, plus Health and safety requirements for a high temperature process.

    The likelihood that small scale producers are going to be able to jump through the regulatory hoops and it still be viable financially are vanishingly small.

    If you are seriously considering attempting to market this process, the first thing you need to understand from top to bottom is the relevant regulatory framework in the EU/UK, and whether your process can fit into that. Whether it works in practical terms is irrelevant if no-one is allowed to use it, or its prohibitively expensive to get the right permits.
  17. Yes...that is going to be interesting. My guess is the reason not many people are doing this is exactly the issues you pointed out. Oh, by the way these guys are rolling their system out soon

    You can can't use it for machinery without paying tax, but you can use it for heating. (*update* you are still taxed but only £0.1/l) Also, looks like horticultural producers don't have to pay.

    Thanks for the heads up. I have not spent enough time on legislation to get a good idea how much of a mess it will be. Will focus on figuring it out now
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  18. ladycrofter

    ladycrofter Member

    Sounds really good. In our are with a lot of crofts, seems like the kind of thing a machinery ring could buy, possibly free disposal of bale wrap and they keep the fuel? That would work with me, not enough wrap to make any significant quantity of fuel, but need rid of it.
    Green Prometheus likes this.
  19. Walton2

    Walton2 Member

    HMRC will never allow a large number of producers of fuels that usually have a duty payable on them....for certain. They need to be able to police the system as cheaply as thoughts to's all about the money.Hard lines !
    Green Prometheus likes this.

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