Energy Efficiency / Environmental Health & Safety

Indiana Plant Will Recycle Plastic Into Fuel At Commercial Scale

By Chemical Processing Staff

May 24, 2019

Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, breaks ground on what it claims is the nation’s first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel plant in Ashley, Indiana. A total of 136 full time manufacturing jobs reportedly will be created in Northeast Indiana when all phases of the 112,000 square foot facility are operational.

The new plant will utilize a plastics-to-fuel process that sustainably recycles waste that has reached the end of its useful life – including items that cannot readily be recycled, like plastic film, flexible packing, polystyrene and children’s toys – directly into useful products, like fuels and wax. Ultimately, the outputs of this technology could also be used to produce the feedstocks necessary for manufacturing plastic again, creating a truly circular economy technology for plastics, according to Brightmark Energy.

“This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing our nation: more than 91% of the 33 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year is not recycled,” says Brightmark Energy CEO Bob Powell. “These products end up sitting in landfills for thousands of years or littering our communities and waterways. This technology offers a tremendous opportunity to combat a major environmental ill and create positive economic value in the process.”

The Ashley facility will reportedly be the first of its kind to take mixed waste single-use plastics and convert them into usable products at commercial scale. The facility will initially convert approximately 100,000 tons of plastics into over 18 million gallons a year of ultra-low sulfur diesel and naphtha blend stocks and nearly six million gallons a year of commercial grade wax in a process that is expected to be 93% efficient. That’s more plastic than the weight of 5,400 tractor trailers or seven Brooklyn Bridges, according to the company. 

BP will purchase the fuels produced by the facility and Am Wax will purchase commercial grade waxes produced in the process.

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