A pioneering installation to power plastics recycling with a combined heat and power (CHP) engine run on landfill plastics is now underway.

After winning project finance from Wroxall Investors Group (WIG), Recycling Technologies is now installing a 3 MWe engine at a UK plastic recycling facility, Managing Director Adrian Griffiths told COSPP.

Recycling Technologies CHP concept

‘The details of the installation are under wraps but we are very pleased to have raised the equity financing to ramp up the team to deliver the deal.’

Recycling Technologies, a spin off from the UK’s Warwick University, applies pyrolysis technology to use the entire plastic waste stream from homes, vaporizing unrecycleable plastics to deliver heat and power for recycling HDPE and PET.

‘Plastics recycling generally relies on power from fossil fuels. We’re using stuff that generally goes to landfill. We can use all the energy for recycling and also expect to export electricity to the grid.’

Griffiths claims this cogeneration approach makes plastics recycling affordable and efficient. Steam from the process replaces gas for washing and drying bottles for recycling. The localized approach also trumps large-scale CHP for district heating by avoiding ‘a lot of truck movement’, he added.

Through refining pyrolysis to suit a variable plastics input, Recycling Technologies can also deliver dispatchable power to balance intermittent renewables, he added.

‘Our pyrolysis process can continue but we can put fuel in a tank and turn the engine on and off,’ he said.

The initial installation will consume 1 tonne of plastics per hour. The UK currently sends to landfill 2.5 million tonnes of plastics, enough to generate 7000 GWh per year, according to Griffiths.

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