Video: Our CTO Dr. Martin Schneider explains how WASTX Plastic works
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First lay the egg, then cackle: Why you haven’t heard from our WASTX Plastic for so long
It has been more than two years since we last reported on our heart project WASTX Plastic. In the past six years, since we started developing our WASTX Plastic, one could hear about functioning pyrolysis systems to solve the plastic problem of the world.
However, in the case of almost all systems, it turned out that they did not meet the requirements we consider necessary in terms of profitability, energy consumption, decentralisation and the processing of impure plastic flows.
And it is not without reason that plastic waste is still piled up on huge landfills all over the world. Unfortunately, these – in retrospect premature – publications have led to some skepticism towards “pyrolysis plants”, which is why we have decided not to comment on this subject again until we have scientifically proven all our core functions and target parameters over a long period of time.
And here we are now.
Video: WASTX Plastic Teaser
The WASTX Plastic: Our solution for non-recyclable plastic waste
More than 300 million tons of plastic waste are produced worldwide every year – and unfortunately the trend is still rising. More than 5 billion tonnes of plastic waste are already landfilled. However, when plastics are exposed to weather conditions such as sunlight or water over a longer period of time, this leads to a whole range of negative effects on flora and fauna, including the release of considerable amounts of greenhouse gases.
Furthermore, plastic looses its material properties and can therefore no longer be recycled economically or not at all. In addition, more and more composite plastics are being produced worldwide for which there are also no material recycling methods – for example, plastic packaging from the food industry that has been finely coated with aluminium, printed or combined from various materials.
There are currently no sensible sorting and recycling streams for this waste – apart from recycled fuel. In the innovative pyrolysis process of WASTX Plastic, the long-chain hydrocarbon compounds of the plastic waste are broken up by the influence of high temperatures under exclusion of oxygen. Short-chain and thus liquid compounds are formed. The plastic waste is converted into a fuel that can be used to drive combustion engines or be converted into electrical energy by generators or turbines.
Joint development with the oldest packaging manufacturer in the world
For a little over six years, large quantities of mental energy, sweat and tears flowed into the prototypes – and coffee into us. Groundbreaking breakthroughs and hard setbacks sometimes alternated daily. The number of different reactor concepts alone that have been tested and rejected cannot be counted on two hands. The greatest challenge was the handling of non-pure plastics, as is common in waste management.
2016 The Schur Star Systems GmbH participated in the development of WASTX Plastic. The aim was to recycle the residual materials from packaging production directly at the production site in Flensburg. Schur Star Systems provided us with the plastic waste and valuable feedback from the user’s point of view for the development and testing of the prototype.
Endurance test successful: WASTX Plastic enters series production
For two years, we have been fine-tuning the control system, finding optimal process parameters and automating the input and output system of the plant. In order for the plant to be operated economically, the following target values must be met:
- WASTX Plastic processes approximately 250 kg of plastic waste per module per day.
- Up to eight modules fit into a single sea container – the process is infinitely scalable – from 250 kilos to X tons per day
- 1 kg of plastic waste becomes 1 litre of fuel
- Each litre of fuel provides about 11 kW of potential energy and 3.5 kWh of electrical energy.
- For processing 1 kg of plastic waste, only a maximum of 1 kWh of energy is required.
- The system runs and supplies itself fully automatically
- The system can be operated without interruption
- It is delivered turnkey-ready to the customer and is immediately ready for operation.
- Fuel meets all standards to be tradable worldwide
- All German environmental and emission guidelines are permanently adhered to
It was clear to us that even after these target values had been reached, we would not reach our goal until the system was fully automatic. This is exactly what the WASTX Plastic had to proof in an endurance test. With the completion of the endurance test, our WASTX Plastic reached the market readiness and the production of the first series plant has begun.
In the next step, the first system will be delivered to our partner Schur Star in Northern Germany and international sales can begin so that we can finally counter the worldwide plastic madness with an thought-through, inexpensive, modular and decentralized solution.