Canadian University Testing Plastics-to-Fuel Machine

Yukon College tests a Japanese machine that can convert plastic scrap into synthetic diesel fuel.

September 17, 2012
Waste Today Staff

Cold Climate Innovation (CCI), a part of the Yukon Research Centre at Canada’s Yukon College in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is testing a machine at P & M Recycling that aims to convert scrap plastics into a diesel fuel.

The machine was developed by Japan’s Blest. The distributor of the system in North America is E.N.Ergy.
“We are incredibly pleased to have the first continuous-feed plastics-to-oil machine in North America, here in Yukon,” says Stephen Mooney, CCI director.

The machine can process 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of plastic per hour to create 10 liters (2.64 gallons) of synthetic diesel.

Pat McInroy, owner of P & M Recycling, says plans call for the diesel produced by the machine to be used to heat the company’s facility during the summer.

"We will definitely create way more fuel than we need, so the next job is to find customers that are willing to try something new."

McInroy estimates the synthetic diesel will save his company the $18,000 he spent on heating oil last year. He will also save the labor costs of sorting and baling the plastic, and the cost of trucking it south.

"The vast majority of this plastic has zero value. It can be recycled, but not here, only by trucking it 1,500 miles south and that costs me money every time,” says McInroy. ”This machine is creating a value-added product right here. It’s a win/win for the Yukon.”

In preparation for the arrival of the machine, McInroy has been seeking out additional sources of plastic from the businesses in the area.

“The goal of the project is to determine the true cost of one liter of oil from this machine, including manpower and electricity. Then we need to see if the machine can survive transportation on Yukon’s roads to benefit other communities,” says Mooney.

The $175,000 cost of the plastic-to-oil machine has been jointly supported by Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and CCI with P & M Recycling contributing new equipment and power upgrades to support the machine’s operation as well as staff, power and space for the yearlong project.