Making Oil from plastic

In a world where both an excess of plastic waste, and scarcity of fossil fuels are becoming sizeable concerns globally, Pyr-Oil comes up with an answer to turn these polluting trends around. Our specialty evolves around converting plastic waste to its original components: oil. Low in sulphur and thus of high quality.

This is done in accordance with the ancient ‘pyrolysis’ process. We managed to develop this process over the past eight years, and as a result we will be operating 24 hours a day within an economic profitable business model.

Pyr-Oil is, initially, exclusively active within the Netherlands, but we are keen on expanding internationally and turning our planet into a tidier place by collecting plastics.
We do this by giving ‘value’ to plastics, discarded after use by consumers, as worthless ‘trash’. To us, on the other hand, it’s feedstock that we transfer into a high-quality semi refined oil.

Giving value to a product inevitably turns it into a commodity and that is of interest to the market. It always motivates people to start collecting it, and selling it to the highest bidder.

We aim to convert plastic feedstock at our future plant in Moerdijk, the Netherlands. Plastics are the raw material for our production process, where we convert discarded ‘waste feedstock’ into a semi refined high-quality oil through the process of pyrolysis. This oil is very low in sulphur, a semi refined product that will be sold to regular oil refineries and oil dealers. These refineries turn it into the end-products: diesel, kerosene and gasoline.

Our research and development activities over the past eight years have led us to the opportunity to produce in a profitable manner, on an industrial scale and in an ‘around-the-clock’ pyrolysis process that turns plastics into oil. Our production processes (once fully operational) handles an annual amount of 150,000 tons of plastics and turns it into approximately 120,000 tons of oil.

How does pyrolysis work in practice?

Every physical product has two ‘tipping points’. One is the point at which solid mass transforms into liquid form, the second is the point at which liquid mass turns into vapor. In case of water, we all know that this happens at 0°C and at 100°C, respectively. Alcohol starts boiling when the temperature reaches 78.37°C. When liquid evaporates, you can obviously reverse the process by cooling down vapor in which it condenses into liquid. When heating wine or beer to 80°C, alcohol evaporates and leaves water residue. By cooling down alcohol, vapor turns back into liquid, resulting into alcohol (ethanol). This process, described in layman’s terms, is called distillation.

Plastics can equally be heated, turning liquid plastic into gasses. The plastic solid mass is heated to about 500°C. This is done in a sealed off circuit without the presence of oxygen, so that this mass does not ‘burn’, but evaporates. This process is basically an evaporation process through which the liquid plastics gasification are pushed into a condenser that cools the gaseous form, resulting in the production and collection of oil.

You will probably figure that anyone can do this, and that’s basically true. However, the pyrolysis process is executed ‘batch-wise’, which implies that the boiler has to be cooled down after each production batch, before it is refilled with the next batch.

This process takes place on a relatively small scale and we have come to the conclusion that, according to our calculations, it is not profitable to extract oil from plastics in this manner. The many current pyrolysis applications that have already been put into operation are motivated by the desire to cut costs. Incineration of plastics is an expensive practice and if you can save costs whilst creating oil in the process, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

Production on an industrial scale, that can be used around-the-clock, however, is revolutionary.

In the past eight years, extensive research on the processing as well as on its logistic challenges has been done by John Kuipers, resulting in a method in which plastics can be processed and can be transformed into sulphurlow oil through an ‘evaporation’-system: 24/7 and on a vast industrial scale. With a dozen industrial scale evaporation furnaces, we can annually process 150,000 tons of plastics into approximately 120,000 tons of oil. Each furnace of this size produces 1000 liters of oil per hour.

With today’s globally established oil price, it’s simple to make calculations and estimations that signify the earnings of Pyr-Oil Group B.V.

Even the challenge of processing PVC plastics, previously undesirable due to its high levels of chlorine, can be tackled, which means we can quite literally process all types of plastics available. This problem is solved by giving value to discarded plastics.

Before these plastics can be processed in the evaporating furnace, the bulk plastics are shredded in order to create dehydrated, small chips, and eventually transformed into oil.