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I would never discourage research, learning, innovation or human-desire to investigate, but on the matter of developing a process to utilise pyrolysis oil from NRP, I may have to dampen your spirit.
We have been involved in extracting energy from human waste streams, including wood and plastic for more than 20 years and in that time we have collaborated with hundreds of engineers from all over the world. We have worked through several top universities in the UK, Europe, USA, China and India, and to this day we have yet to see the development of an appropriately scaled system that can produce a high-grade oil that can be utilised efficiently.
In that time I would think that $Millions have been invested into projects that start off with a lot of enthusiasm only to end up in a yard full of plastic containers that are full of various grades of oil that nobody can do anything with.
I would be pretty confident to suggest that the Plas-Pod unit and Dan’s (@lwfbiochar) unit are about as good as we are going to get with regard to appropriately-scaled technology for dealing with NRP to energy. Burning NRP is not ideal but when it replaces virgin fossil fuels there are benefits.
As previous, I would not want to deter you from your path of exploration, but just remember that if it was possible to convert plastic into oil then I am pretty sure that the oil-industry would have built the machines to do this. And they would be buying back all the waste plastic on the planet to do it….
Precious Plastic has created a unique model that allows plastic to be re-purposed on scales that are beneficial to both society and ecology. That fact is an important driver!
The collective aim here should be to bolster and enhance that model with the addition of beneficial technologies (micro-scaled) that can support and sustain the development of social enterprise at community scales.
The images that follow have been taken from a ‘work in progress’ document. This document details the levels of energy used to collect and recycle certain types of plastic via current industrial processes (UK model). It also details an alternative community-based model, built around PP machines and Plas-Pod. This model does not include the production and use of pyrolysis oils and still achieves zero-waste.
We have determined the value of the waste to the community in terms of energy generated from non-recyclable plastics. We will endeavour to determine the carbon footprint of this model for comparison but would be confident to suggest that it will be more efficient than the industrial status quo.
Determining value to the community via the production of products will be more challenging. Selling high-grade plastic on to recycling companies has been included here as one option: other options, including manufacturing products that can embedded into the community will be added as the work progresses. The opportunity to develop a cashless economy is exciting but requires careful planning.
We need to ensure that the energy that we generate from non-recyclable plastic is used wisely (restricting waste). We can do this by producing electricity that we need to run the PP machines and we can generate the energy needed to heat the workplace over winter using the same process. This makes sense because it is the most efficient way to produce and utilise energy – at the point of use. Theoretically, this plastic becomes embedded into the community as well.
Added to this, we have made the Plas-Pod mobile, hoping that we can take it to various locations within the community to generate energy that can be fed straight into existing water heating systems: this would work well in schools, where reasonable volumes of waste plastic are generated. Reducing the energy costs for the community offers benefits to everyone in that community.
Key for us has been to develop smarter methods of heating and storing water. We are currently working with a team of engineers from Romania (where it can get very cold!) to develop a low-cost boiler which can run directly from the Plas-Pod machine. We don’t want to reveal the entire design until we are confident that it meets expectations, but you can see the test here –https://youtu.be/IHlxDLldnzw
The reason that we have tested to steam-point is because we have been working with a company in Holland (Green Turbine) to develop a unit that can produce super-heated steam to drive their micro-turbine to produce between 1.5 – 15kWhe.
We have more than 20yrs experience of producing pyrolysis oils, both as a primary product, via the Biogreen Technology (http://www.biogreen-energy.com) and as a co-product via several other methods of pyrolysis. As Dan suggests, we are also yet to see anyone making anything useful from these oils.
Our experience would be to steer others away from pyro-oils to focus purely on more efficient conversions to energy from non-recyclable plastic.
Respectfully – @plaspod
Cool – that flyer was produced by a community group nearby who were going to manufacture the stove under licence. The brochure has not been proof-read (until now) and should’not have been posted (should have checked!). Will take it down.
That should not detract from what is still a very good stove designed by very good engineers.
Pity about the unit errors in the advert text, though
World’s first pellet-based thermal-mass stove:
Problem with ‘Rocket Stoves’ vertical sticks burn to a point – patent developed to overcome that
Something that we have been working on for some time (put it on the back-burner while developing Plas-Pod). First effort was to improve the basic rocket stove, which work fine for 15minutes on Youtube videos. We took the basic concept, improved the combustion process, patented a process that avoids the sticks being burned to a point and then spent a long time fitting it all into EU directives. Image attached is STICK STOVE.
Been aware of thermal mass stoves and principles for many years. Turned our attention to developing smarter (and more affordable) thermal mass stoves about 4 years ago – TM1 attached. Got to move Plas-Pod concept forward before returning to these 2 stoves, which sit among the most efficient ever built.
Works out at about 100Euros per Plas-Pod, which is a price worth paying given the improvements. We have been paying 300Euros per Kg, but that may change when the lunatics have their way with Brexit….
We have options to manufacture products in EU countries if Brexit fails, as most expect.
Did look into this beforehand. Palladium in CAT are usually placed into pretty-poor filters, which do release palladium particles. We use the big old shavings, which are stable and work really well.
There are possibly 150-200 biomass-based gasifiers (Spanner, Entrade, Ankur, etc) in operation throughout the UK, producing between 25 – 750kWhe. They all pass EU regs relating to emissions.Plas-Pod produces a rich syngas with a composition (variable) of 20% H2 (Hydrogen), 20% CO (Carbon monoxide) and 5% CH4 (Methan). Inert gases are 47% N2 (Nitrogen), 8% CO2 (Carbon dioxide).Emissions from the generator or water boiler are below those for biomass and are being improved all the time. We are currently utilising waste Palladium shavings from a company in Netherlands that build catalytic converters for cars which are effective at catching particulates below <2.5PPM – the ones that are killing us all.
Plas-Pod was designed under contract from FEMA. The design remit was for a flexi-fuel system (plastic, biomass, food waste, animal and human poo!) that would accommodate rapid-deployment in disaster and war-zones.
The prototype was built on a pull-cart frame so that it could be moved between buildings that required heat and energy – hospitals and crisis command buildings, etc. A batch-load system was seen to be the best solution for that requirement. Larger, static generators are used in other buildings that demand constant heat and power.
The prototype was designed to operate on charcoal, because charcoal was seen to be widely available and easy to produce. The later models have been tested with torrefied biomass because the mass-balance is more favourable, less wasteful and less polluting than charcoal production.
We are currently preparing drawings so that we can free-source the torrefaction reactor, which will run most efficiently when challenging plastics (beach and non-recyclable) are used, via Plas-Pod, to provide the energy needed to manufacture torrefied biomass.
The carbon cost of producing torrefied biomass is off-set when that biomass is harvested from short-rotation energy crops or from woodlands where coppice management regimes exist. Similarly, waste-wood that cannot be upcycled can be used, though in Europe there is legislation relating to the contamination that such waste could carry.
The ratio of plastic to torrefied fuel fluctuates with the type of plastic used and how that plastic is loaded into the chamber. As a rule of thumb 2-3kg of torrefied will process between 4-8kg of plastic. As suggested previously, if we can produce pellets from the Precious Plastic extrusion machine (which DH has detailed in one of his videos) then this would allow us to increase the volume of plastic (as a guess) to more than 10kg. The only issue with pellets is that we may need to add a method of agitation to ensure that all pellets are processed – this is all theoretical at the moment.
Plastics carry an average calorific value of 35Mj/kg, which equates to 9720kWh per tonne (wood pellets are about 4600kWh per tonne). It takes 11.6kWh to heat 1000litres of water by 10degrees. You can play with those figures to produce your own conclusions and models.
Plas-Pod is being described as ‘an improved pyrolytic gasification unit.’ The current model has 2 chambers: one to hold and burn the torrefied fuel and the other to hold the plastic. We had to change the design because FEMA would not allow us to use their patent (which they paid us to develop) – we knew this would happen so designed accordingly.
New process, which we are still very protective of, takes place under conditions well above incineration at 1000C in an oxygen-deprived environment, which means that toxic dioxins and furans do not form. Resulting gas (flue gas) is rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide (40-45%). We work with Babcock & Wilcox Volund (Prof Sven Andersson) to ensure that entire process exceeds all legislation relating to emissions. Emissions are lower than 95% of all biomass/wood burning appliances. That can only be achieved when technology is built at human/appropriate-scale!
Trials have been undertaken using beach plastic and PETE, HDPE, LDPE, PP & PS. All produce good syngas for power production via ITC engines and converted NGas generators.
With regard to legislation: this from EU in BrusselsPlease note that Directive 2000/76/EC has been replaced by Directive 2010/75/EU (Industrial Emissions Directive – IED). This Directive regulates waste incineration plants of all throughput. In its Article 42 it lists certain exclusions from the scope of its provisions on waste incineration.
In particular in Article 42(2) it states:This Chapter shall not apply to the following plants:
(b) experimental plants used for research, development and testing in order to improve the incineration process and which treat less than 50 tonnes of waste per year
Therefore, in this regard plants satisfying simultaneously the following two conditions are excluded:
they are used used for research, development and testing in order to improve the incineration process, andthey treat less than 50 tonnes of waste per year.In view of this, once commercialised, your solution would no longer fall under the first condition and therefore it would be subject to the provisions of the IED chapter IV.
It appears from the existence on your website of a sales brochure, that the product is already on sale. In view of this, the exclusion under Article 42(2) would not apply. However, Article 42(1) also contains an exclusion which states:
This Chapter shall not apply to gasification or pyrolysis plants, if the gases resulting from this thermal treatment of waste are purified to such an extent that they are no longer a waste prior to their incineration and they can cause emissions no higher than those resulting from the burning of natural gas.
In view of this, you should consult with the relevant Competent Authority to assess how your product would need to be permitted.
Plas-Pod can process beach-plastic into heat and power. There would need to be some minor processing to convert that plastic into a feedstock that will allow consistent operation: cutting waste into manageable pieces (20-60cm). Similarly, it might be possible to produce pellets from the Precious Plastic extrusion machine – which we will research in the future.
Plas-Pod was not designed to process large volumes of waste plastic because we don’t want it to take the focus away from the more important process of upcycling plastic into products that permanently embed the carbon.
Most plastics carry a high calorific value, which means that that you don’t have to process much to generate a lot of heat and power. The current version will process between between 4-8kg of plastic, which will generate up to 10kWhe and up to 60kWh for heat.
An ideal use would be to use that power to run the Precious Plastic machines!
Because Plas-Pod is mobile, the unit can, in theory be moved from building to building. In theory, with the appropriate battery-storage system in place, Plas-Pod could generate up to 80kWhe a day. The best way to store the heat would be to utilise an efficient system built round large-volume buffer tanks – pic below.
If you know the cost of power and heat already being paid then a business could be developed from providing replacements from plastic waste, but that should not replace energy from renewable sources that may already exist.
we are working with a guy in west Ireland who has good community energy/recycling contacts. Will send him your contact details.
He is Barry Clarke