Entry Motivation: 

Transport, transport and transport. Arguably one of the biggest hurdles to an efficient and viable recycling operation. At least this is the reality at Wildtrust and our recycling operations. The pyrolysis machine changed that.

Pyrolysis is nothing new and the idea that fuel can be made from plastic has been around for some time. However, making it work seems to be more challenging than initially thought. It seemed that cracking the plastic into a liquid is straight forward, turning it into a usable fuel not quite so easy.

This changed with a small-scale pyrolysis unit installed at our Midmar depot. After collection from post-consumer plastic, from wastepreneurs, recycling villages, residential and school collections as well beach clean-ups, the different waste streams are separated. The polypropylene stream is then taking to for another more detailed sort. A ‘pure’ stream of input material is needed to make the system work efficiently.

After the final screening and sort the polypropylene is shredded. The shredded material is then batch loaded into a reactor. The reactor is closed, and an automatic process started with the push of a button. 6 to 7 hours later the input material has made its way from the reactor into a small-scale refinery and been processed into vehicle grade fuel.

Currently we load approximately 250kg shredded polypropylene into the reactor with an estimated conversation rate of 60% into a diesel equivalent vehicle grade fuel. The Wildtrust recycling fleet is using this fuel to collect recycling from villages, schools and wastepreneurs replacing ‘normal’ diesel.

However, with a working prototype the R&D does not stop. In collaboration with Duncan Doo the current research investigates the possibility of cracking a wider variety of plastic streams into viable vehicle grade fuels and other by-products.

For the time being, polypropylene is being turned into vehicle grade fuel and is successfully used in operation and the running of a fleet.