8 November 2010

SITA signs deal to develop plastics-to-fuel plants

SITA UK has signed a deal with an Irish-based technology company which it says will enable it to build 10 facilities around the UK aimed at turning a total of 60,000 tonnes-a-year of waste mixed plastics into diesel fuel, writes Nick Mann.

Cynar

SITA UK has signed an agreement with Irish firm Cynar which has developed plants in the Republic of Ireland to turn waste mixed plastic into diesel fuel

The French-owned waste management company today (November 8) revealed that, under its “exclusive agreement” to use Cynar Plc plastics-to-fuel conversion technology, it aimed to commission the first of the plants by the end of 2011 in the Greater London area.

And, it then plants to construct the remainder of the facilities at the rate of two or three a year, depending on planning issues.

Each plant is expected to treat around 6,000 tonnes of waste mixed plastics a year, specifically targeting material diverted from landfill, and producing more than four million litres a year of ‘End of Life Plastic Diesel’ specification diesel fuel.

Cynar, opened a £5 million facility in Leinster, in the Republic of Ireland, in March 2010 (see letsrecycle.com story), using pyrolysis to break down plastic feedstock into synthetic fuel.

Outlining its reasons for pursuing the project, SITA UK highlighted the one and a half million tonnes of mixed plastics that is not recycled every year in the UK.

It also claimed that the fuel produced by the plastics-to-fuel process was expected to cost less to produce than normal diesel, and have a lower carbon footprint, while having fuel qualities “on a par” with conventional diesel without any further refining – making it suitable for commercial use.

Landmark agreement

SITA UK’s chief executive, David Palmer-Jones, said: “We are delighted to announce this landmark agreement with Cynar which will see us provide a commercial solution to the environmental challenge of treating waste plastic that can not be recycled.

“We aim to build around ten facilities in the first tranche of development that will convert waste plastic into diesel fuel known as End of Life Plastic Diesel.”

Michael Murray, chief executive of Cynar Plc, said he was “excited” about seeing the company’s technology enter the mainstream under the deal with SITA UK.

And, he added: “We believe Cynar has found an entrepreneurial partner in SITA UK who can help us ensure that the years of our research will be realised in the near future with vehicles running on plastic-derived diesel, and ensuring that there is a practical commercial benefit derived from dealing with Britain’s growing mixed waste plastic mountain.”

The Blue Orange venture fund which is run by SITA UK’ s parent company Suez Environnement is contributing to the financing of the project, alongside SITA itself. However, a spokeswoman for SITA UK could not reveal details of the amount of money involved in the scheme.

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