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Waste Plastic-to-Energy System Unveiled

Waste plastic cups

(meineresterampe, Pixabay)

17 Feb. 2020. A company developing waste-to-energy conversion systems revealed a version of its product that converts waste plastic to heat and electric power. Enexor BioEnergy in Franklin, Tennessee unveiled yesterday its PTE-200 system that combines chemical processing with high pressure and temperatures in a self-contained unit resembling a shipping container.

Enexor BioEnergy says its PTE-200 system diverts non-recyclable plastic waste from landfills and microplastics into usable energy. According to the U.N. Environmental Program, humans produce about 300 million metric tons of plastic waste each year, nearly as much as the weight of the entire human population on earth. Since he 1950s, says the U.N. agency, the world produced some 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, about 60 percent of which ended up in landfills, and nearly all of which  is derived form fossil fuels. And as reported by Science & Enterprise in June 2018, China plans by 2030 to stop importing waste plastic, accounting for more than 72 percent of the world’s trade in this material.

The company says its technology, called Bio-CHP, can process many kinds of organic bio-waste — wood chips, saw dust, agricultural residues, food waste, animal waste, disposed cardboard and paper — as well as plastics. The raw waste is oxidized under high heat and pressure that break down the organic materials. At the same time, the process filters out and stores non-organic particulates for later disposal. Enexor does not indicate the volume of inorganic materials produced by its process.

The hot pressurized gas produced by the process heats ambient air sent through a self-contained turbine that produces electrical power. In addition, this exhaust gas can be sent through a heat exchanger to generate hot water or steam.

The company says its units generate 75 kilowatts of electrical power and the equivalent of 125 kilowatts of thermal energy, sufficient to power more than 100 standard homes. The units can also be sited at hospitals, telecommunications towers, water pumping systems, or shopping centers, and integrated into local microgrids to supplement renewable energy sources. Enexor offers operating plans for customers to avoid high upfront costs, where the company manages the systems remotely and charges only for energy produced by its units.

The PTE-200 system for converting plastics is a variation of Enexor’s multiple-feedstock Bio-200 system announced earlier this month. The company plans to market the PTE-200 low-resource regions for communities with both mounting waste plastic stockpiles and a lack of reliable energy sources, starting in Latin America and Asia.

“The majority of the world’s plastic pollution is located where the most disadvantaged people in the world live,” says Lee Jestings, Exenor’s founder and CEO in a company statement. “These areas are also the most energy-deprived. Our PTE-200 systems can be installed where they are needed the most, at the convergence of plastic waste and energy impoverished communities.”

Exenor BioEnergy is a five year-old company that, according to Crunchbase, raised $5 million in seed-round funding in July 2019.

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