The new UK facility will test and improve the quality of Tacoil, a liquid raw material derived through a pyrolysis process from post-consumer waste plastics which is as an alternative to fossil-based crude.
The facility will produce Tacoil through Plastic Energy’s patented recycling technology, called Thermal Anaerobic Conversion (TAC). Developed over the past 10 years, the technology allows previously unrecyclable plastics to be effectively diverted from landfill or from being incinerated and instead to be recycled into a feedstock that can be used in petrochemical plants to make ethylene and propylene. According to the company, for every metric ton of end-of-life plastic waste processed, 850 litres of Tacoil are produced.
Due to its small scale, it will be easier to make adjustments within in the pilot plant than in larger plants, thereby helping to optimise the efficiency and design of Plastic Energy’s new projects going forward. The company is also developing a digital twin of the pilot plant, which will gather data on the performance of recycling plants currently under construction.
“Commissioning our first ever pilot plant at our R&D labs in Loughborough is an important milestone for the company,” said David McNamara, Chief Technology Officer at Plastic Energy. “As Plastic Energy continues to expand globally, the pilot plant will be instrumental in helping Plastic Energy to test new feedstocks, further scale up its process and optimise our chemical recycling technology.”
Plastic Energy and Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe first announced plans to trial the use of Tacoil back in 2021. The manufacturer operates two chemical recycling plants in Almeria and Seville, Spain, operational since 2016 and 2017 respectively.