A young UK company called QM Recycled Energy sought to develop a new approach to plastic waste recycling: one that would turn unusable waste into a desirable resource that could serve as a feedstock or fuel for further use.
Following an extensive period of research, Tim St.Clair-Pearce and Dave Garbett, the driving forces behind QMRE, became convinced that pyrolysis was the technology they needed.
Pyrolysis is a proven technology, and one already being applied by ‘competitor companies such as Recycling Technologies and Renew ELP’, says QMRE. The difference is in the method of production – while most other companies have opted for batch processing, QMRE says that continuous production processing is a more efficient and ‘ultimately far more profitable method of operation.’
The company was able to locate two manufacturers of the technology needed to build a pyrolysis-based plastic waste-to-fuel continuous processing module. Geographical and other considerations led St.Clair-Pearce and Garbett to approach Biofabrik, a company active in the sustainable management of energy, nutrition and waste problems located in Dresden, Germany.
Biofabrik has developed what it calls the WASTX Plastic P range of plastic waste-to-fuel units. The container-sized, fully-automated Biofabrik WASTX Plastic P-1000 module is able to cost-effectively convert up to 1000 litres of plastic waste per day into usable raw materials or fuel. The range is scalable with the P-2000 and P-5000 converting up to 2000 and 5000 litres of oil per day respectively.
The plastic waste is first shredded. The material is drawn into a processor where it undergoes pyrolysis, which shortens the long hydrocarbon chains and creates an oil vapour which flows into the condensation chamber. Waxy components can be re-melted at low temperatures. The oil is stored in heatable tanks for use locally or remotely.
QMRE has now become the sole distributor for Biofabrik’s plastic waste-to-fuel range of plants for the UK and Eire.
The company introduced the technology to the UK market at the RWM - the UK's largest event for the Resources and Waste Management Industry - in September 2019, where it proved a major success according to Tim St.Clair-Pearce.
QMRE can deliver systems nationwide to private and public sector companies and are discussing accelerating the process with venture capital.
“We can make use of end of life plastic, close the loop and make it do something positive for the population,” it said. The next step will be the installation of a demonstration plant at Dover in Kent in co-operation with Kent County Council.