Plastic2power concept is aimed at producing high calorific value alternative fuel from the non-recyclable fraction of commercial and industrial plastic waste. Plastics have become an integral part of the human activities with extensive and innumerable applications across multiple sectors. its production has surged in the past 50 years from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to 335 million tonnes in 2016. Its unrivalled functionalities (strength, durability, chemical and thermal resistance) and low cost have led to this enormous growth in their consumption, and it’s expected to double in the next 20 years.
The major concern with the extensive use of plastics is its disposal. Most plastic waste enters into the waste stream within a year of its manufacture causing not only logistics issue due to its low density but also environmental nuisance which has warranted global attention.
Africa is not an exception to this problem, in fact, Africa is the worst affected due to lack of proper waste management systems. This has resulted in environmental pollution and contamination of water from leached chemicals. In countries such as Nigeria, discarded waste plastics are a major eyesore. Often carried from open dumps by the wind, discarded plastic bags are often seen hanging in bushes, floating in lakes and rivers, flapping from fences, spoiling landscapes and choking innocent animals. Plastic waste has had a terrible impact on tourism, giving tourists the impression that Nigeria is a filthy country. Plastics are mockingly referred to as the “national flower”
Mechanical recycling which is the simplest and most prevalent method of plastic recycling cannot be employed to treat these plastics. This is because different plastics do not generally mix well, necessitating sorting of the waste plastics before processing - a time consuming and costly process and It also has inherently limited tolerance for contaminated plastics which are mostly found in Nigeria.
Plastics, been a by-product of the petroleum industry contains similar chemical properties as gasoline, diesel, e.t.c. We intend to use pyrolysis technology to chemically convert these waste plastics into high molecular weight liquid fuel which has similar energy content as conventional gasoline and diesel. These fuels will be used to generate decentralised, low-cost power for villages that consume little electricity - Each generator is aimed at generating a minimum of 250Kwof electricity. The by-product of this process is “pyrolysis wax” that will be further refined into a wax similar to paraffin wax, which can be used in the manufacture of new products- hence, contributing in a circular economy.
Plastic2power project will act as a connection between the urgent need for effective waste plastic management in Nigeria and the growing need for cheap and sustainable energy. By utilizing these fuel, these waste are valorised to the fullest and contribute to a cleaner environment.
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