Vadxx Energy LLC took a big step toward commercializing their first plastics-to-fuel plant on Feb. 9 when the firm installed a massive kiln at its site in Akron, Ohio.
The kiln is 80 feet long and weighs 175,000 pounds. It will be used to melt down scrap plastic that then will be converted via pyrolysis into transportation fuel.
With the kiln in place, Cleveland-based Vadxx now is ready to install a single-screw extruder that will blend the scrap prior to pyrolysis, supply and marketing vice president Russell Cooper said in a Feb. 19 phone interview. The extruder should be in place sometime next month, he said, and the plant is scheduled to open in June.
“We're very happy with the progress we've made, and we're looking forward to commercial scale proof of production,” Cooper added. “After that, we'll look for our next sites.”
The $20 million plant will cover 20,000 square feet and is being designed and built by Rockwell Automation. When fully operational, the plant will be able to take in 60 tons of waste plastic per day and convert that material into 300 barrels of fuel. The plant is majority-owned by private equity firm Liberation Capital of Charlotte, N.C.
Vadxx is sourcing all of its scrap plastic from post-industrial sites in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Cooper said the firm has long-term contracts in place with its scrap suppliers and with buyers of its fuel as well. The fuel produced by the Vadxx process is a mid-distillate diesel.
The firm originally had wanted to locate the plant in Cleveland, but complaints from area residents led Vadxx to move the project to the Akron site. Vadxx has operated a research lab in Akron for several years.