A pair of companies are teaming up to create a plastic-to-synthetic diesel fuel plant in Canada that will harvest feedstock from trash.
PK Clean Technologies Inc. of Salt Lake City has a deal with Sustane Technologies Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is building a materials separation facility in nearby Chester, Nova Scotia, to capture the plastic feedstock.
Plans are to have the plastics-to-fuel plant finished by December with production scheduled for early next year, the companies said.
PK Clean said its approach toward pyrolysis brings down the cost of operating a unit, allowing the process still to be profitable in this lower oil price environment.
"It is designed to be a continuous process. They will be recycling the [municipal solid waste stream] continuously and we'll be taking their plastics from them continuously and we'll be producing both fuel and gas that comes off our process," said Priyanka Bakaya, CEO at PK Clean.
Using a continuous process, rather than a batch approach, saves costs. The PK Clean system also is more forgiving when it comes to the feedstock.
"We've developed a propriety way to really take any type of feedstock into our system. Those have been two challenges people have really struggled with. Both the continuous system and the feedstock issue," Bakaya said.
"As oil prices came down, a lot of people realized they couldn't make money at the lower price. We've developed a very automated system that really doesn't require a lot of labor. Labor is usually the biggest cost," she said. "It's a very efficient process."
PK Clean has been working to develop its system for about six years, making improvements along the way.
Success, the CEO said, comes by working "step by step. Literally we started with scissors and cutting plastics and diving into dumpsters.
"It's nice to look back and see how far it's come," she said.
"The main thing was not going to market before it was ready. We really took our time to perfect it," Bakaya said.
Along with using pyrolysis to create fuel from recovered plastics, Sustane also will make biomass energy pellets from the municipal waste stream. Gas produced by pyrolysis will be used to fuel the conversion process.
Sustane's operation will be able to process about 77,000 tons of waste per year, and PK Clean's plant will have a throughput of 3,850 tons per year. That will be enough to produce 3.15 million liters of fuel, the companies said.
PK Clean also has a demonstration plant at its headquarters in Salt Lake City.
The cost of the project was not released.