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Engineering Materials
Fuel From Plastic Nears Commercialization
5/31/2012

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In February 2012 JBI launched its second Plastic2Oil processor, the prototype of the company's commercial rollout.   (Source: JBI)
In February 2012 JBI launched its second Plastic2Oil processor, the prototype of the company's commercial rollout.
(Source: JBI)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Links to studies
Ann R. Thryft   5/31/2012 12:00:18 PM
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For those interested, the 4R Sustainability research report mentioned in the article can be found here: http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Plastics-to-Oil

A more recent study, also funded by the ACC, is an environmental and economic analysis of four plastics-to-energy conversion technologies: pyrolysis, gasification, plasma arc, and anaerobic digestion. That one can be found here: http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Sustainability-Recycling/Energy-Recovery/Environmental-and-Economic-Analysis-of-Emerging-Plastics-Conversion-Technologies.pdf

Jerry dycus
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Re: Links to studies
Jerry dycus   5/31/2012 8:57:30 PM
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         Great article Ann. Especially all the numbers and links to explore really help.

          This tech should be a great money maker for equipment suppliers and small business using it to make fuel, thus money.  The price of gasoline, diesel will be $10-11/gal in just 5 yrs in today's $ because of 4B new oil users.

        Anyone know what plastic make what and exactly what is the problem with PET and about the 50% like it?

          I'd like to do a Plastics to fuel unit just for kicks plus I might need one in the future. My EV's are fine for transport only needing fuel for long trips.

         I'm amazed no comments about a tech that can about solve the plastics waste, pollution problem while helping solve others like fuel security.  This is really important tech in so many ways making 50k  jobs, helping energy security and nicely improving the quality of life, especially that in the water but ours too.

                                               Jerry Dycus

 like fuel security

GlennA
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Re: Links to studies
GlennA   6/1/2012 1:58:55 PM
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Jerry dycus;  One of the 'small' units produces 1 gallon of oil per hour.  Another 'small' unit consumes 22 lbs of plastic and produces 2.7 gallons of oil per hour.  How would you feed one of these ?  How much plastic waste do you think a household would generate ? And would it be the best 'grade' of plastic to feed one of theswe systems ?  I think this is a great concept, but I don't think it would be a good fit for household use, yet.  Also, I have looked into wind turbines, but not really seriously - the wind where I live is not enough to power one.  I like the idea of solar for household water heating.  I don't know if the efficiency of photovoltaic cost-justifies a single-home system.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Links to studies
Jerry dycus   6/1/2012 7:57:56 PM
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  Glenn , what do you think the solution is?  Isn't obvious?  One just collects the neighbors, local business plastic waste that they don't use.  They are already available in Japan for home use. 

PV has dropped a lot. You can get them for $1/wt until the trade war over them with China heats up and prices will go up some, 20-30% so if you want them, buy now.

But shop well and learn what it takes or you'll pay 2-3x's too much.  sunelec.com is a site to start and probably buy from as their prices are hard to beat though others match them.

 

 

jackiecox
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Re: Links to studies
jackiecox   6/1/2012 8:47:30 PM
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Many countries reuse virtually all paper, plastics glass, metal, and have no landfill. Thorium reactors more economical and safe are thorium reactors, by bombarding thorium compounds with neutrons it becomes radioactive parallel to unanium, when problems occur, shut off the wave resonant frequenct and amplitude of neutrons, and radioactivity ceases to exist, plus thorium is more abundent than uranium, using the reactors currently used to supply electricity---Gasoline from coal becomes cheaper to distill from liquified coal when petroleum reaches 34 dollars a barrel. Hitler fueled his armed forces with coal gasoline and diesel, politicians lobbies, cash bribes, manipulating the epa, prevents us from doing the right thnigs

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Links to studies
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 11:52:08 AM
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While the smallest Blest units may be "too large" for home use their capacity is about right for use by small groups of people in a neighborhood, or a strip mall of stores, as Jerry suggests and as is currently done in Japan. When the company finishes developing the solar-powered version for use on TOP's boats, that one might be small enough for home use.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Links to studies
Jerry dycus   6/4/2012 4:02:05 PM
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  One could use concentrated solar power which gives enough temp to drive the process.  

 The process is going to have enough waste gases that are hard to use, store and just use them to run the process and maybe cook dinner.

If you get to much light gases just run a generator to make, sell electricity. But the big money maker here is gasoline and diesel.

Changing heat, pressures and add  catalysts and you can make most any HC.

NadineJ
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Re: Links to studies
NadineJ   6/1/2012 11:19:59 AM
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Thanks for the additional links Ann.  I've been following JBI for the last year.  There's so much controversy around the way the comapny's being run, that it's interferring with the day-to-day progress.

It's a great idea given the world situation.  If they can get more gov't contracts, wider appeal and use will follow.

The old phrase "follow the money" applies here though.  I've noticed over the last few years, it seems to be in most industries and countries best interest to keep the price of oil high-even artificailly high.  That's quite a shift from previous decades.

No doubt that we need viable alternatives but, as usual, the "how" and not the "what" needs to be examined.

Tim
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High potential
Tim   5/31/2012 9:56:53 PM
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This process has great potential.  It would be great to have large scale plants that will process the plastic waste stream in an efficient manner. 

naperlou
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Re: High potential
naperlou   5/31/2012 10:42:22 PM
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I am supprised that this is not more widely used.  There is plenty of feedstock.  If the government wants to put its money into green energy, this is the place to do it.

Droid
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Re: High potential
Droid   6/1/2012 11:39:45 AM
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Personally - I wish we could get the government out of all this. The whole economics and marketplace interaction between various green and "non-green" technologies is confused by introducing government money and mandates into the mix.  Plus its picking winners and losers.  Solyndra comes to mind.

That said, this is interesting technology with high potential.  Right now, the company I work for ships all sorts of plastic scrap over to China.  Whatever we cannot recover and use internally goes there. I have no idea what they do with it.

My guess is the situation at my company is just a microcosm of the plastics industry and would be curious to know how many other plastics processors do the same.  Maybe at some point it would pay for processors to recover energy from their scrap - if reusing the plastic itself isn't feasible.

Jerry dycus
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Re: High potential
Jerry dycus   6/1/2012 7:49:47 PM
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  Where is the Gov in this Droid?    It doesn't need it at all.  From what I've researched and Ann's numbers it's clear it's profitable to do.

What I want is the huge subsidies to big oil, coal which are in the order of $500B/yr from health to oil war, etc costs.  If that we in them where it belongs, paid for by those who cause the problems, costs, then RE is clearly cheaper now in many cases and sites and needs no subsidies.

You need mandate to keep us from going off a cliff when oil spikes.  Just how much do you think an oil recession costs?  We've had 5 over 35 yrs or so.

We need to get millions of small energy producers, say 1 every 10-20 people to collect, convert the closest viable RE and sell it to the others instead of our money going to protect oil dictators and international oil companies that do their expensing here but keep profit overseas. What thanks for protecting them.  For 50% of that money we could be energy independent in 5-7 yrs.

I see many small 1-5 person businesses because collecting is the biggest cost, one must be close to the supply so must be kept small, making a nice profit.  Since oil will only go up over time, it only gets more profitable.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: High potential
Ann R. Thryft   6/1/2012 11:43:44 AM
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Tim and naperlou, these technologies, primarily pyrolysis, could not be widely used previously because they are just on the verge of scaling up. One of the reasons it's taken so long is because of widespread misunderstanding of what pyrolysis is and what it entails, on the part of both law-makers and citizens/voters. Much of this has been due to confusion about its name and what it means, and to confusing this technology with those that do, in fact, burn. However, even those that do, like WTE, are, by law, entirely closed-loop emission-contained systems.

Bunter
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To: naperlou
Bunter   6/1/2012 9:34:16 AM
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Hi Lou,

Doubt the govt would invest in this, even if it does make sense.  Green "investment" is, IMO, about securing the votes of a particular group.  This tech creates and burns (horrors) petroleum products.  Combustion of any kind will be anethema to them.

Very interesting though.

Dennis

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: To: naperlou
Ann R. Thryft   6/1/2012 11:44:46 AM
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Dennis, I'm not sure which technology you mean that "burns," but the main one mentioned in this article, pyrolysis, does not. Despite the Greek word for "fire" at the root of "pyrolysis," when applied to the chemical conversion of plastics the term doesn't mean burning or incineration. As the article states, "Pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of a material without the presence of air or oxygen." As just mentioned, even WTE, which does burn, is by law an entirely closed-loop emission-contained system. Today, this is a non-issue, at least in the US.

Bunter
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Re: To: naperlou
Bunter   6/4/2012 2:42:08 PM
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Hi Ann,

I wasn't thinking in terms of burning during pyrolysis itself but the burning of the fuel created by these recovery processes. This would bother many environmental groups, I believe.

I can see where confusion could result.  Did I understand you right this time?

Take care,

Dennis

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: To: naperlou
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 4:03:35 PM
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Dennis, thanks for clarifying the kind of burning you meant. That's entirely different from the fuels creation processes.

jackiecox
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fuel rom plastic nears commercialization
jackiecox   6/1/2012 9:01:54 PM
Joseph Stalin was said to have said " he who votes doesn't count, but, he who counts the votes counts " obama takes this seriously, by assigning ACORN spinter groups responsibility for census, which includes voter protocol, he plans to be relected by whatever method it takes, being in control of the country gives him the authority to investigate whomever he selects, and investigate, or not all compli]aints regarding election fraud, like the 2008 election where thousands of voter fraud compliants went uninvestigated by Holder His Attorney General. Our future looks bleak unless there is intervention to eliminate criminality from government---Palin was planning to end lobbie influence in law making, McCain planned to end affirmative action, or biggotry in he muticultural nation we are, micromanaged by affirmative administraitors assigned their jb because of color rather than job integrity, the significant variable of any position of authority. This mistake has caused chaos with uqualified personnel forcing their misinformed opinions on americas citizens, This should not be interpreted as racial, its simply doing he right things or doing the wrong things.

DoubleDog
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Re: fuel rom plastic nears commercialization
DoubleDog   10/19/2012 11:38:29 AM
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Your rambling\ranting and your comments do not seem to have much to do with the subject at hand other than your strong desire to stand on a soapbox and give everyone else your political views.  DNC

 

William K.
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Fuel from plastic: Burn baby burn????
William K.   6/1/2012 9:30:14 PM
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How about using the sun's energy directly to break apart the plastic molecules so that they can be reassembled into fuel. The benefit of directly driven solar decomposition is that it would not affect the power grid at all, and it would have fewer conversion losses. Just add enough energy to push the plastics back to the original petroleum stock, or something like that. After all, ultraviolet does break plastics bonds when we don't want it to, why not utilize that process when it could be useful.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Fuel from plastic: Burn baby burn????
Ann R. Thryft   6/4/2012 11:50:19 AM
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William, if you mean just letting plastic sit out in the sun without further treatment, the problems with that method of decomposition are: a) it takes way too long, and b) while it's taking way too long to decompose, particles get into the ecosystem and consumed by fish and birds, and poison water and soil. This is well-known by everyone involved in various forms of WTE and PTE. Or did you mean something else?

William K.
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Plastics to fuels
William K.   6/4/2012 11:20:18 PM
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Ann, No, the idea that I had was using solar energy, both light and heat at the same time, to break the large molecules up. Essentially a solar furnace with ultraviolet as well..

Leaving the plastic out in the sun does break it down, but it would be a very long time for anything useful to be created.

So the big deal is putting in the right amount of energy, to cause just enough decomposition. The process would indeed be a form of pyrolysis, but with the UV as well, it would be more effective, I think.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Plastics to fuels
Ann R. Thryft   6/5/2012 11:57:46 AM
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William, thanks for clarifying your statement. I haven't heard of this technology in any of the background information or the studies. What is it called? Can you give us some links?

William K.
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Plastics to fuels
William K.   6/5/2012 6:36:15 PM
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Ann, I am not aware of anyone using this method. It just popped into my head that since both heat and ultraviolet attack the bonds in polymers, that a combination should be even more effective. OThers are certainly welcome to use the concept as long as I get credit for coming up with it. It will be a nice addition to my resume, and it may be of some benefit to humanity as well.

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