Recycling technology firm Polyflow LLC has attracted new investors and now is confident it will break ground on its first commercial-scale plant in 2010.
Akron, Ohio-based Polyflow also said Nov. 11 that it's working with two other northeast Ohio firms Chemstress Consultant Co. of Akron and Niagara Systems of Perry to design and build the plant. Polyflow has narrowed down its search to two sites in the Cleveland-Akron metro area and will make a final decision by year's end, Polyflow Chairman Joe Hensel said by phone Nov. 13.
This the right time for this idea, Hensel said. It's an opportunity to reduce our dependence on crude oil.
He would not identify Polyflow's new investors, but said that he is much more confident about the new plant than he was earlier in the year. The recession had reduced investment in the firm this year, after it had drawn $1 million from angel investors in 2008.
Hensel also declined to specify the two remaining sites being considered for the plant, citing ongoing negotiations with state officials for tax credits. The plant would be able to process up to 5,000 pounds of plastics and rubber waster per hour via a continuous-feed commercial processor.
Polyflow uses pyrolysis technology developed in the late 1970s by Charles Grispin, an Akron-area inventor who is the firm's chief information officer. In the process, scrap is placed in a tank and cooked at nearly 1,000° F until vaporized. The vapor is then condensed; the resulting liquid contains aromatic chemicals including styrene and benzene.
Only 6 percent of the waste items used by Polyflow currently are recycled; the remaining 94 percent otherwise would end up in landfills, Hensel said. Since scrap used in Polyflow's process is melted down, contamination is not a factor. Items processed at the Akron pilot plant include carpet, tires, toys, leftover plastic compounds and polystyrene foam. Chemicals refined from the slurry liquid can be reused by petrochemical firms or used in paints, coatings and solvents.
In addition to the pilot plant, Polyflow has plastic waste supply agreements in place with the city of Stow, Ohio, and with Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.
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