HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
News
Materials & Assembly

Dow Plans North American Plastic Waste Recovery Facilities

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Good to see this happening
Elizabeth M   1/28/2013 4:34:12 PM
NO RATINGS
I am really happy to see this kind of effort happening and the reality of true plastic recovery facilities. Most people don't realize that plastic can only be recycled once and then downcycled...but that it ultimately ends up in a landfill or in the ocean. I am a surfer, so I see the result of the latter on beaches and in the sea all the time. It also ends up choking marine life, which eat plastic bags or rings and end up dying as a result. It is really an important step for a big company like Dow to do something to help not only mitigate the plastic problem but also turn it into something truly reuseable and beneficial. Thanks for covering this, Ann. I will keep my eye on this space.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good to see this happening
Ann R. Thryft   1/29/2013 12:43:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Elizabeth, plastic can also be upcycled--it's not easy to do but a few companies, including SABIC, have figured that out: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=242634&image_number=9 Then there's the recycled bottles that get upcycled into weight-bearing bridge beams: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=237384

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good to see this happening
Elizabeth M   1/29/2013 1:09:52 PM
NO RATINGS
Wow, great, I didn't know that! See, even someone as informed as me about this isn't aware of what is happening in the plastic world...I still think finding alternatives to plastic is the way forward, but all of these recyclable and reuseable options for the plastic already out there are good ones for sure.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good to see this happening
Ann R. Thryft   1/29/2013 3:03:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Hey, I wasn't either--the bridge, in particular, blew the minds of all of us staff and the readers, with few exceptions. That one was a real motivator to me to find other leading-edge technologies in recycled plastics.



Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good to see this happening
Elizabeth M   1/29/2013 3:18:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Just read that bridge story...yes that is pretty impressive! I am really enjoying your stories about this topic, look forward to more. It's an important space to cover not just technologically, but also ecologically and, on some levels, ethically.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Great application
Tim   1/28/2013 8:38:16 PM
NO RATINGS
This a great application of this technology. Are there any hazardous bi-products to this process? Do some plastics produce more oil than others?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Great application
Ann R. Thryft   1/29/2013 12:43:03 PM
NO RATINGS
Tim, the short answers are "it depends, but they're dealt with" and "Yes." Longer answers to your questions would require a few more articles: check out the links given in this article to the ACC-sponsored study, and to this DN story: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=242808 as well as "Related posts" at the end of this article.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Great application
Tim   1/29/2013 7:10:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for the information. I will be sure to check out the other articles. This is a fascinating recycling option.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Great application
NadineJ   1/29/2013 6:44:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Good questions.  I wondered that too.

And, what about the burn off from the fuel when it's used?  Most of the pollution we produce is from using fuel, in cars, factories, etc.  This process is a good step forward but what about the next step?

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Good Move
Greg M. Jung   1/28/2013 10:49:18 PM
NO RATINGS
Great to see a common-sense and economically proven solution in the area of plastic recycling.  Hope that companies who invest in this are also given tax incentives to make it a more attractive investment.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Process description
Dave Palmer   1/29/2013 2:32:54 PM
NO RATINGS
This is a very interesting development.  However, the process description is a little difficult to follow. (This may be because Klean Industry's processes are proprietary).

The article says "most commercial gasification processes [...] don't use oxygen." I don't know much about gasification of plastic waste, but coal gasification definitely does use oxygen.  Gasification essentially means reacting carbon (coal -- or, presumably, pyrolized plastic waste) with oxygen and steam, to produce a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas).

I'm also not quite sure what to make of the statement that "syngas, when mixed with air, can be used with minimal modifications to gasoline or diesel engines." Syngas, as the name implies, is a gas, not a liquid.  I think it would take more than just minimal modifications to make an engine (designed to run on liquid fuel) capable of running on a gaseous fuel.

It's possible to produce liquid hydrocarbons from syngas by the Fischer-Tropsch process.  Maybe this is what is being referred to, but it involves a lot more than just mixing syngas with air.

Anyway, it's interesting that Dow is investing in this technology, and it will be interesting to see how environmentalists react.  I suspect they will be skeptical, since they have opposed waste-to-energy plants in the past.  Still, in my opinion, anything that minimizes waste is a good thing.

Gorski
User Rank
Platinum
Dow and plastic waste recovery
Gorski   2/5/2013 5:24:18 PM
NO RATINGS
While this sounds like a grreat way to eliminate a lot of plasice waste, what does it require in terms of energy input? I am thinking of ethanol. It cost more to make than it returns in lower energy fuel. Will Dow become teh new ADM?

GORSKI PE

Gorski
User Rank
Platinum
Dow and plastic waste recovery
Gorski   2/5/2013 5:24:19 PM
NO RATINGS
While this sounds like a grreat way to eliminate a lot of plasice waste, what does it require in terms of energy input? I am thinking of ethanol. It cost more to make than it returns in lower energy fuel. Will Dow become teh new ADM?

GORSKI PE

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Dow and plastic waste recovery
Ann R. Thryft   2/11/2013 8:07:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Gorski, many of the systems designed with these technologies--gasification, pyrolysis--are devised to capture and reuse the various forms of "waste" energy (steam, gases, etc.) to power the plant itself, or to sell that "waste" energy to other plants nearby making other things, such as cement kilns. Obviously, this requires locating infrastructure with such uses in mind. The vast majority of plastic-to-fuel energy recovery methods have been designed specifically to be profitable enterprises.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
RECOVERY FACILITIES
bobjengr   2/17/2013 2:09:26 PM
NO RATINGS
 I think with Dow Chemical and Klean Industries coming forward with this joint effort, other companies will realize that recycling is a great approach to aiding our environment and keeping the planet "green".  Both have excellent track records using this proven technology.    The fact there is a positive economic element to recycling should prove that an ROI is possible if enough development is done in finding the right processes.   I certainly applaud their efforts. 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: RECOVERY FACILITIES
Ann R. Thryft   2/19/2013 3:24:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for the vote of confidence, bobjengr. I agree---sometimes all it takes to get an industry moving is one major player making the effort to show others it's possible.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Self-Sustaining
tekochip   2/19/2013 4:33:41 PM
NO RATINGS
The article mentions that the oil was used as fuel for the incinerator but didn't give any details about how much energy was recovered vs. how much energy is used.  Wouldn't it be great if it was self-sustaining.


Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Self-Sustaining
Ann R. Thryft   2/19/2013 4:43:27 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree in principle, tekochip. Many of these alternative fuel facilities are being planned to take advantage of "waste" energy of various kinds produced onsite. But whether the fuel being produce can be used to power the site depends on the value of it as sold vs its value to power the plant. Often, as in pyrolysis, there are several products, one of which is sold for a profit, and others--such as escaped steam or some residues--that can be used inhouse to power the plant, or that can be sold externally as other forms of fuel.

Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Watch BMW's newest electric car, the i3, being charged with an everyday Home Depot-rented, gas-powered generator.
Asking yourself the simple question, “Is this a strength problem or a stiffness problem?” can prevent many design mistakes.
New manufacturing is changing more than just the plant floor. It's changing how manufacturers do business.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Venture capital guru Steve Vassallo looks for companies that think about design, not just technology for technology's sake.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 22 - 26, MCU Software Development – A Step-by-Step Guide (Using a Real Eval Board)
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service