As plastic waste continues to be one of the most pressing environmental issues to be solved, a wide range of technologies has evolved designed to address the problem.
Nonetheless, a wide gap remains between the amount of waste generated and the volume of plastics that are actually reprocessed and recycled.
Moreover, in the first place not all plastics are suitable for indefinite recycling and reuse; secondly, sorting and separating waste plastics into homogenous streams remain a challenge, which consequently leads to non-reusable mixed fractions that are simply incinerated or disposed of in landfills.
BlueAlp, a company headquartered in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands has now developed a method to extract oils and fuel from these non-recyclable waste streams, which is suitable for use as feedstock for the chemical and petrochemical industries. The feedstock produced at the plants built by BlueAlp, working in close collaboration with its sister company Petrogas, is best characterised as gasoil with a low sulphur content, the company said.
Petrogas-BlueAlp have now designed, built and commissioned for RenaSci, located in Oostend, Belgium. The system is integrated in a durable and circular waste processing concept that converts the waste is completely into energy and raw materials, with no residuals.
The BlueAlp technology has been tested, demonstrated and successfully used in a test factory in Switzerland. According to Chris van der Ree, director of Petrogas and co-initiator of the project, one kilo of plastic, yields almost a litre of oil, which equals a yield of over 80%.
“In addition, CO₂ that is released is not emitted, but reused as raw material for the plant. The figures show that thanks to BlueAlp’s technology, 1,200 kilo CO₂ per tonne of processed plastic is not released in the environment, and that the production of a litre of oil has 68% less impact on the environment compared with the production of a litre of regular fossil fuel. The BlueAlp plant processes 21,000 tonnes of waste plastic on an annual basis,” he said.
A standard BlueAlp plant is equipped with a feedstock pre-treatment section where the feedstock is shredded, analysed, cleaned to filter out contaminants, dried and turned into a granulated starting material.
This granulate is melted by battenfeld-cincinnati high-speed extruders and degassed via vacuum zones. In this way, volatile foreign substances are extracted and pumped off separately. battenfeld-cincinnati specially developed a new processing unit and screw geometry for this application.
Downstream reactor units then split up the melt delivered by the extruder into its individual components.