Plastic waste is ideal for energy recovery.
Plastics are energy-dense and based on petroleum. This makes them the ideal fuel for diesel engines.
Currently, there are many considerations on how plastic waste could be used commercially for the production of fuels, since plastic is made from crude oil and therefore has a high calorific value. Compared to household waste, which is a mixture of paper, cardboard, organic material and plastic, plastic has a higher calorific value. Household waste is also suitable for the production of fuels, but the problem here is that the material is not sufficiently homogeneous, its composition varies considerably, there are often impurities, and the chemical composition of the material is different depending on the origin of the material.
2. The plastic waste market varies from country to country because governments favor different disposal solutions.
Of course, the prices of plastic waste vary from place to place. In some cities, the market prices for plastic differ significantly from the prices in rural areas. Furthermore, national legislation has a significant influence on the usefulness of sorting plastic waste from household waste instead of incinerating it in incinerators. National legislation deliberately encourages or hinders certain disposal solutions through regulations, subsidies and guidelines. Waste incineration is not approved in all countries, for example in Italy, where there is strong opposition to the construction of new waste incineration plants in the city of Rome.
However, one must also ask whether it is still desirable to make plastic waste available to waste incineration plants. It is interesting to note that the high calorific value of plastic waste co-incinerated in household waste fractions leads to lower energy efficiency, and in grate cooking installations, a high plastic content leads to more incineration. fast waste on the grid. The waste must therefore be transported quickly through the tree, which leads to fluctuation in energy production and irregularity in the combustion process.
Depending on the characteristics of the waste, the throughput of the incinerator varies. Household waste with a high plastic content is mixed with other household waste fractions in the garbage bin to achieve a uniform calorific value. This gives a more uniform calorific value and at the same time the calorific value of the material. It also explains why the plastic content of household waste should not be too high and why waste incinerators can only burn a very large part of the plastic to a limited extent.
3. Turning plastics into fuel is a smart alternative to conventional recycling of plastic waste.
However, recycling materials and returning them to the recycling economy is not always an ideal solution. It is possible that in some countries of the European Union, without subsidizing the price of plastic, the pre-treatment and sorting of some plastic waste is not worth the price. This brings us to the real question: what can we do with plastic waste? A very sensible way to use plastic waste is to turn it into fuel, in plastic-to-fuel plants, where some plastic waste is turned into liquid at high temperature and the residual material is disposed of. Some studies from the automotive industry have shown that the fuel produced by factories that transform plastics into fuel is excellent for diesel engines. Fuel from Plastics-to-Fuel plants is in many cases better for diesel engines in terms of a car’s driving characteristics than diesel obtained directly from crude oil. The big problem with factories that transform plastics into fuel is that no European infrastructure has yet been put in place for these factories.
4. European governments are likely to initiate a tidal shift in waste management as diesel from plastic waste becomes increasingly important for transportation.
It is very likely that European governments will sooner or later recognize the value of the processes of turning plastics into fuel and that from then on at the latest, European governments will regard plastic waste as a resource. Because it makes more sense to use plastic waste as fuel than to incinerate it as in the case of waste incineration plants without remote heat extraction in order to produce electricity that can be produced anyway from renewable energies. It should be taken into account that waste incineration plants with combined heat and power generation have a high energy efficiency. It should also be borne in mind that selling plastic waste to factories that transform plastic into fuel is in many cases a lucrative alternative for disposal companies, as they had to pay to get rid of plastic waste. But if plastic waste is a raw material from which fuel is extracted, then plastic waste will be paid for.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that the price of crude oil will continue to rise in the long run due to the growing demand for crude oil in China and East Asia, as well as peak oil, this which means that the high demand is offset by an increasingly low and expensive supply of crude oil, hence the growing difficulty in developing profitable sources of oil with matching costs and customers willing to pay the price of diesel . Diesel produced from plastic waste will be in high demand.
5. Interest in diesel plastic fuels is particularly strong among airlines, which use them to improve their CO2 balance.
Currently, airlines, in particular, are showing great interest in adding fuel to their kerosene to improve their CO2 balance. In the long run, the price will also become more competitive, giving disposal companies more incentive to sell their plastic waste to fuel producers from plants that transform plastics into fuel. The trend in the aviation industry seems uninterrupted, 10-year contracts have already been signed. The future is upon us, waste management must become one of the pillars of the energy policy of the 21st century.
Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!