One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Synthetic Crude Oil
by Bill Hagstrand (Crain’s Cleveland Business) Do you know your trashcan probably contains materials that can be converted into crude oil? Or that a couple of trailblazing companies in Northeast Ohio are creating energy from discarded plastics and old rubber tires?
Akron-based RES Polyflow and Cleveland-based Vadxx Energy are commercializing a technology called thermal depolymerization. The process is used on post-consumer and post-industrial end of life plastics and general polymer based materials to produce a basic liquid hydrocarbon commonly known as crude oil.
In 2010 only 8.2 percent of plastic generated as municipal waste was recovered or recycled, and only 15.5 percent of rubber or leather was recovered, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rest is going into landfills or incinerators. Thermal depolymerization offers a sustainable alternative.
…Vadxx’s business plan for the next five years could result in the construction and operation of 100 thermal depolymerization units. Each unit could handle 60 tons of waste per day and afford a production of 250 barrels of crude oil per day per vessel. Sites are capable of multiple vessel configurations to accommodate larger streams of feedstock.
…The feedstocks, or raw materials, that can be used to make fuels under the RFS2 are defined in the law. Although waste polymers and plastics, such as those used by Vadxx and RES Polyflow, are currently excluded by the definitions, the inclusion of these in the future could benefit the RFS2 by creating more options to meet the mandate. READ MORE