Rebirthing Oil

Drops of Oil

One of the most exciting developments to me, is the idea that a natural resource can be extracted, a product created from the processes of refining that resource and then, at some point later on, be transmuted again back into the basic natural resource. Talk about cradle to cradle – this is certainly that.

It isn’t all that different in concept from what we do when we take feedstocks of sorted and purified post-consumer recycled materials and create new products from those that can function as restroom partitions, countertops, cashwraps, flooring and other surfacing treatments. However, we are in that middle point and not taking product back to basic natural resource. In fact, our products do not actually begin at the basic natural resource stage but further along that processing line.

2014 RisingStars  cartoon by Rich Williams

2014 RisingStars
cartoon by Rich Williams

The Aug 11, 2014 issue of Plastics News featured a list of talented young entrepreneurs and environmentalists. One in particular caught my attention. Twenty-nine year old, Joe Shamatta of 3R Recycling Inc (founded in 2012) in Avon, MA. When asked “What emerging technology or market most interests you ?”, he replied in part – “The most fascinating emerging tech, to me, is being done by a company in New York and it involves turning plastic into oil. I think this technology is one of the most amazing in the past decade. I am looking forward to the progress made in this field.”

JBI Inc of Niagra Falls NY CEO John Bordynuik claims to have “invented a process that converts plastic into oil by rearranging its hydrocarbon chains”, in an interview conducted by Daniel Robison for NPR posted on March 19, 2012. According to tests by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, JBI’s patented Plastic2Oil (P2O) technology is efficient, with close to 90 percent of plastics coming out as fuel. “When there have been attempts in the past to make fuel from plastic, it’s been low-quality, low-flashpoint, kind of sludgy,” he says. “In this case here, we’re making a very highly refined, consistent product that’s within specifications of any standardized fuel.” If JBI has its way, plastics will become a significant source of domestic fuel that reduces the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

JBI Crayola ColorCycle

JBI is also a partner with Crayola to produce diesel and other liquid fuels using JBI’s Plastic2Oil® (“P2O”) process. This will be accomplished by utilizing participating K-12 schools and will encourage students to responsibly dispose of used Crayola markers through an in-school collection process. Markers will be sent to JBI, where they will be used as feedstock.

Agilyx

In that same issue of Plastics News, I found this article as well – “Oregon plant that converts waste-plastics-to-oil shuts down” by Jim Johnson. Agilyx Corp created the technology that operated in Portland OR, but Waste Management Inc actually owns that operation. Though Waste Management’s decision to idle the facility will have local impacts, Agilyx issued a statement that – “it’s moving forward with the sixth and next generation of its plastics-to-oil technology and plans to own and operate the new operation in Portland”.

Waste Management’s decision does not impact its continuing investment in Agilyx and it “is evaluating whether it wants to retrofit the shuttered site with the new generation of technology”. Waste Management’s spokeswoman Jackie Lang also issued a statement saying – “We know the technology works”. Another high profile investor in the process is forward thinking Richard Branson. The new facility is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015 and Agilyx issued a statement that “this will also mark the first Agilyx owned and operated facility, which will be open to commercial plastic generators and aggregators”.

Mining Dump Truck

Mining Dump Truck

Coincidentally, the same week that I was learning about these exciting new processes, a mass-mailing of “Tyre and Rubber Recycling”, a publication originating at Delmar Press in Nantwich Cheshire UK arrived in our mailbox. I might not have been all that interested in most of what is there (though one of our products Tire Veneer is recycled rubber buffings from used vehicle tires) but there was an article titled “Titan International Steps Up Interest in Titan Tire Reclamation”. I have been up close to these enormous dump trucks in Minnesota that the various mines there utilize. Those are some VERY BIG TIRES !!! And like all tires, they do wear out and must be disposed of.

The article describes a partnership with Suncor Energy of Ft McMurray Canada for the next 10 years, to operate a pyrolysis system developed by Green Carbon (a company related to Titan by familial bonds). The system uses 75% of gas from the tires in a special reactor that produces approx 500 gallons of oil, 4,000 lbs of carbon black and 2,000 lbs of steel. Oil companies will be buying the oil to process further into bio kerosene. This system is expected to be up and running by the summer of 2015.

~ Information Resources

“The next generation of leaders” by Jeannie Reall, posted Aug 12, 2014 at Plastics News – http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20140812/NEWS/140819983/the-next-generation-of-leaders

JBI Inc P20 – http://www.plastic2oil.com/site/home

“JBI Inc. and Crayola Partner to Launch ‘COLORCYCLE’ Program” posted Aug 1st, 2013 – http://www.plastic2oil.com/site/news-releases-master/2013/08/01/jbi-inc-and-crayola-partner-to-launch-colorcycle-program

“Startup Converts Plastic To Oil, And Finds A Niche” by Daniel Robison for NPR posted March 19, 2012 – http://www.npr.org/2012/03/19/147506525/startup-converts-plastic-to-oil-and-finds-a-niche

“Oregon plant that converts waste plastic to oil shuts down” by Jim Johnson, posted Aug 6, 2014 at Plastics News – http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20140806/NEWS/140809959/oregon-plant-that-converts-waste-plastic-to-oil-shuts-down

Agilyx Corp – http://www.agilyx.com/

“Tyre and Rubber Recycling” – http://www.tyreandrubberrecycling.com/

Titan International – http://www.titan-intl.com/

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Blog author ~ Deborah Hart Yemm is co-founder of
Yemm & Hart, a green materials producer

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