Unlocking the value of biofuels and sustainable chemicals for a circular economy

By: Nibedita Mohanta | Source: https://www.geospatialworld.net

WHAT started as an experiment in the chemistry laboratory, back in 2002, has now taken the shape of a global company called APChemi, founded in 2007. APChemi’s focus on developing sustainable pyrolysis technology for the disposal of waste plastic and tires has made this company establish over 35 pyrolysis plants in countries like India, United Kingdom, Kenya and Indonesia.


“We are focused on eliminating 2 of the world’s most important problems – plastic pollution through advanced recycling, and, air pollution through decarbonization via biofuels. We have a substantial cost advantage as well as technological advantages over our competitors”, says Suhas Dixit, Founder & CEO, APChemi, in an exclusive interview with Geospatial World.


What technologies are used to produce crude oil from plastic?

Crude oil produced from plastic waste is called plastic pyrolysis oil. For the production of plastic pyrolysis oil, a technology called pyrolysis (pyro=heat, lysis = breakdown) is used. This plastic-crude-oil needs to be further purified into higher quality liquids. APChemi has patented technologies in both pyrolysis as well as pyrolysis oil purification. APChemi’s pyrolysis oil purification technology is called PUREMAX™. PUREMAX™ drastically reduces impurities like Chlorine, Silica, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Asphalt, etc. from plastic pyrolysis oil to produce refinery feedstock. Such refinery feedstock is used for the production of circular plastics, sustainable chemicals as well as 2nd generation biofuels.


How do you collect and segregate plastic wastes, and how does it contribute to a circular economy?

Postconsumer plastic waste can be classified into two types – rigid plastic waste and flexible plastic waste. Plastic waste scrap dealers in India still belong to one of the highly unorganized sectors. There are also dry waste collection centers for plastic waste sourcing.

APChemi is in process of conducting pilots with polymer producers to eventually develop plastic circularity for 300KTA of the plastic waste river next 7 years.


What kind of support do you get from government body and other companies? How do you benefit each other?

The Indian government has developed very clear Plastic Waste management Rules 2022. As per these rules, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Targets for plastic waste management are set at 25% now, 70% next year and 100% by end of 2024. This will make landfilling of the plastic waste expensive. Recycling targets for flexible packaging will increase from 50% in 2024, to 80% by 2027, and, recycling targets for other plastics will increase from 30% in 2024, to 60% by 2027.

Legislations are promoting plastic recycling which is good for plastic recycling companies like APChemi.


There are some serious bans being imposed on single use plastic consumption. What are your thoughts on this action?

Plastic waste is not banned in Japan. ‘Ban on single-use plastic’ probably means businesses can not contribute to plastic waste landfilling and that businesses will have to recycle plastic waste generated due to their business activities via mechanical recycling or pyrolysis.


When it comes to your Plastic-to-Oil technology, it has been there for 12 years, so to which all companies do you supply this Plastic-derived oil and what benefit it has over other crude oil?

Over the last 12 years, we have called up the production capacities for plastic pyrolysis oil. Over last 5 years, we have extensively worked on the purification of the plastic pyrolysis oil to produce purified pyrolysis oil called PUROIL. This PUROIL can be used as feedstock for the production of circular economy plastics and sustainable chemicals. Our technology not only addresses the plastic pollution problem but also reduces the import of crude oil.


What are the latest innovations that have the power to stop this plastic pollution?

APChemi’s patent granted and game-changer technologies enable the use of contaminated plastic waste as a feedstock for the production of circular naphtha or circular crude. APChemi’s patent granted and game-changer technologies enable use of contaminated plastic waste as a feedstock for the production of circular naphtha or circular crude. Our PyroMax technology is capable of sustainably processing post-consumer and landfill plastic waste into plastic oil.

Carbon emissions from PyroMax technology are similar to mechanical recycling per kg of end product manufactured. Carbon emissions can be reduced by 50% if mechanically non-recyclable plastic waste is sent to pyrolysis rather than incineration. APChemi’s PUREMAX pyrolysis oil purification technology upgrades the pyrolysis oil quality to enable plastic circularity.


What is your vision for 2022 and what goals have you set for the next five years?

Our vision is to unlock the global production of biofuels, circular plastics & sustainable chemicals. We intend to recycle 500KTA of plastics by 2027.

This year we have collaborated with RiverRecycle OY and Pyrotask Energy to recycle Mumbai’s Mithi Rivier’s plastic waste. KIIT-TBI is helping us with funds for further developing technologies. We have Teeside University UK and Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai as academia collaborations. We are fortunate to have strong support from acceleration platforms of Shell E4, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Plug and Play as well as KPMG Enrich. Our global clients include Petchem Co, FMCG, Packaging, Engineering and Pyrolysis Co from EU, UK, North America, Middle East, Africa and Asia


Over next 5 to 7 years, plastic to oil may become government contracting business like waste to energy. Municipal corporations will work closely with industry to promote sustainable plastic recycling. Plastic recycling will help Municipal Corporation by saving landfill space as well as preventing plastic-landfill fires.


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