New Process Converts Plastic into Synthetic Crude Oil

A U.S. startup says it has developed a process to convert plastic waste into synthetic crude oil, a system that company officials say will provide a new fuel alternative while also removing massive amounts of industrial and municipal waste from landfills each year.

Created by Oregon-based Agilyx, the process essentially heats plastics into a mixture of gases, which are then cooled and condensed into long-chain hydrocarbons that can be converted into diesel, jet fuel, or other substances.

The system, which Agilyx hopes to make available for commercial use within nine months, is capable of converting about 10 tons of plastic into 60 barrels of oil (2,400 gallons) per day. Currently, a single module, which would cost about $5 million, could create about 130 barrels of oil daily, Bob Schwarz, Agilyx’s chief financial officer, told the New York Times’ Green blog.

While refiners would ultimately process the landfill oil into a fuel, the system itself would likely be owned and operated by trash companies. The process is one of several emerging technologies targeting the recovery and reuse of roughly 2 trillion tons of plastic sitting in U.S. landfills. According to industry officials, the volume of plastics worldwide grows 7 to 9 percent annually.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

Skip to toolbar