“This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing the US: more than 91% of the 34.5 million tons of plastic domestically produced each year is not recycled.”
US renewable energy development company Brightmark Energy is pushing forward with its plans to develop what it claims is the US’ first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel facility. Last Friday, it announced that it had acquired a majority interest and invested $10m in Ohio-based technology company RES Polyflow, while committing an additional $47m investment to the first commercial-scale plant to utilise this technology.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to combat a major environmental ill and create positive economic incentives in the process,” said Bob Powell, president and CEO of Brightmark Energy. “We look forward to developing additional plastics conversion facilities both across the US and globally over the next several years.”
The facility will be located in Ashley, Indiana, US. It will convert 100,000 tons of plastic waste into 18 million gallons of low sulphur diesel fuel and naphtha blend stocks and five million gallons of wax per year. That’s more plastic than the weight of seven Brooklyn Bridges, according to Brightmark Energy (@BrightmarkE).
Brightmark Energy chief development officer Zeina El-Azzi said: “This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing the US: more than 91% of the 34.5 million tons of plastic domestically produced each year is not recycled.”
El-Azzi added: “These products end up sitting in landfills for thousands of years or littering communities and waterways. We’re excited to help bring an economically-viable solution to the marketplace.”
RES Polyflow’s plastics-to-fuel process sustainably recycles waste that has reached the end of its useful life – including items that cannot readily be recycled, like plastic film, flexible packing, and children’s toys – directly into “useful” products like fuels and wax.
Jay Schabel, president of Britghtmark’s new plastics-to-fuel development subsidiary BME Renewable Polyfuels, said: “Simply attaching a positive and predictable market value to this segment of the waste stream incentivises the use of materials that would otherwise end up in landfill or as litter.”
A total of 136 full time manufacturing jobs will be created in Northeast Indiana when all phases of the facility become operational, according to Brightmark. BP will purchase the fuels produced by the facility, which will be distributed in the regional petroleum market. The Ashley plant will also produce commercial-grade waxes for sale to the industrial wax market, which will be purchased by AM WAX.
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