Wroclaw, 26 February 2014
Even before the advent of the 3D printer and more than 30 years ago Poland had several plants which evaporated plastics and to ensure their reuse as fuel additives. Today as the first affordable 3D printers become readily available and set to change the way we manufacture to Cottage Industry, suddenly waste plastics have a surprisingly high potential value as “Filament” with the ability to remaining in the value chain being profitably recycled into something else.
Poland And The History of Soft Plastics For Fuel Recycling
Poland’s organic chemists have quite a history of creating breakthrough technology in the fuel, plasma and related sciences. Many synthetic fuels have been developed in Poland or through Polish innovation which originated in Poland. Polish scientists in the 1980’s demonstrated why landfill, burning and even gasification of plastics was nonsense.
During the early 1980’s four plastic recycling plants were operated in Poland, these plants were built to process soft plastics into fuel additives on an industrial scale. The first of these plants near Wroclaw became fully operational in 1982. Polish scientists developed a low temperature evaporation technique which produced a liquid fuel additive from a solid soft plastics to enhance the performance of regular motor gas “MOGAS” and aviation fuel “AVGAS”.
Products from these four plants were blended with low cost imported Russian MOGAS to make fuel suitable for export to West Germany. A similar product was developed for AVGAS and even Jet fuels were enhanced to improve their performance and ultimately the safety of the Polish Aviation Industries. During the first half of the 1980’s Poland imported soft waste plastics and exported MOGAS fuels and both for hard cash.
During the Polish economic crises which emerged from 1984 the Polish “Plastic For Fuel Recycling Industry” was gradually taxed out of existence by the Polish Tax authorities. By 1986 the Polish taxman had created such economic conditions that all four plants were closed and decommissioned.
PowerCan®200 and plastics
PowerCan®200 is an off the shelf waste to energy, small scale gasification unit. It is movable energy solution which can be located and relocated as energy and waste streams demand. PowerCan®200 predecessors have an excellent track record, they have been connected to the grid and provided more than a decade of service converting wood-chip waste as a feedstock. Wood chip is gasified and the producer gas is cooled and reformed to power a proprietary gas engine on a perpetual basis.
PowerCan®200 produces 200kW of electricity 24 hours a day 365 days per year as needed the new generation produces a much higher constant quality of producer gas from a more varied feedstock.
Early version of PowerCan®200 predecessors to the new off the shelf units have been entirely automated having only feedstock deliveries and weekly planned maintenance visits. By introducing a strict feedstock diet of wood-chip a very reliable and safe renewable energy solution has emerged.
During product development of PowerCan®200 in 2014 and the introduction of the new PowerCan®200 family in 2015 with an innovative gas reform system we are not only able to vary the feedstock introducing bulk handled cellulose and other waste we are able to create a high quality of synthesis gas for Fischer Tropsche type fuels.
PowerCan®200 may be developed to use its hot water supply to create an enhanced plastics evaporation unit with the ability to create Filament from waste plastics. In any one day up to a kilometer of Plastic Filament could be produced from waste plastic produced by a typical fashion driven shopping centre and where typically the PowerCan®200 unit maybe located.
“Plastics have a very high calorific value they have the ability to be converted to produce much energy however almost always this energy is wasted. Gasification of plastics is nonsense because converting plastic by burning or gasifying produces heat of limited value”
Developing an evaporation unit for PowerCan®200 similar to the one demonstrated by the Filabot or the Filamaker [image at the top of this post] is very low cost. Such a device could mean a source of income for a shopping centres, office park or hospital because converting plastics to “Filament” is a value added process which creates a positive income.
The SME’s and home 3D printer market already kicked off, presently it offers Filament for around 30 Euro per kilo [or if you have a reasonable supply 30,000 Euro per ton]. Filament is the building block on which 3D printers produce their product. Amazon and other suppliers have recently reduced prices for 1.75 mm Filament even offering colour agents and other chemicals to sponsor the emerging home made Filament market rather than to compete with it with ready made materials.
Open source projects like Filabot demonstrate just how disruptive 3D printing could be and already is to a variety of supply chains. Through innovation we potentially have low cost, low entry game changing economics.
At SOLIDEA Group we are embracing 3D printers for many different projects including ContainerPonics® whose entire interior can be printed from waste plastics or AerialEVE® which can produce actual 3D IR images of buildings and dioramas to demonstrate heat loss and air tightness defects or the completeness of any given project.
Its not just companies, individuals already purchased printers for their homes and garages and there are literally thousands of product files online already. Filabot and Filamaker owners potentially take household plastics and create Filament for free [even saving tipping fees] and using only a token of the amount of energy which is embedded in such a product.
Because products like Filabot or Filamaker are potentially able to create high value Filament from many different types of waste plastics packaging awareness and the many different types of plastics used are becoming better known to more people. Plastic awareness is for sure going to change product suppliers packaging habits if it hasn’t already changed consumer ideals.
“We made a simple test taking a typical example; a plastic PET mineral water bottle and converted it to Filament. The results given were quite surprising and especially that the value of the filament from the bottle was three times that of the shelf face value of the bottle and the content combined. If recycling of more types of plastics to create filament for 3D printing could be unlocked we would have to potentially readdress the value of many products”
Packaging standards in the European Union are cracking down on mixed plastics and as more drinks and fluids are packed in PET bottles or HDPE its seems more local recycling will occur even at home. More plastics will be retained for 3D printing enthusiast, school projects and local charity recycling schemes.
Low cost 3D printing already makes us change the way we view the value of plastics it means we can simply download patterns of the things we want and print them in our homes, no distribution, no embedded CO2 no trip to the store and no time wasted.
As 3D printing comes of age it shows us the true value of all of the plastics we take for granted and have simply sent to landfill in the past. It demonstrates how plastics and 3D printing might truly impact the whole supply chain in future, how it has a true impact on all of us. We are pleased to add an evaporation unit to create Filament for our PowerCan®200 and for the benefif of EVE® clients
Certainly it shows us how large scale gasification of plastics is still absolute nonsense.
PowerCan®200 is manufactured and assembled at the Polish Ship Yards in Gdansk the New PowerCan®200 will be delivered in 2014 and rolled out worldwide in 2015
July 1 2015 Gdansk
The New PowerCan [right] seen here with the PowerCan 200 [left] is an Updraft Gasifier. “Whilst it comes as some surprise to the Industry Up draft Gasification provides more benefit
SOLIDEA, sp. z o.o. PowerCan200 Team has won a major national award for its environmental innovation. More than 400 candidates from some of Poland’s largest power and engineering companies competed to fund development of their new technologies under GEKON financial sponsorship, with full Polish government support. Good news for PowerCan clients
The production of the new PowerCan
Warsaw 28 February 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Organic Hydrogen Battery here on the left is a glass plant pot filled with wood-chips because that’s exactly what it is. With an Energy Industry desperate to find effective renewable means to store and distribute energy the SOLIDEA Group energy team has been focusing on… Read More