Chemical News

Friday, October 26, 2007

Diesel from waste Products

Ever since the price for a barrel of crude oil (159 liters) has crossed the 30 dollar threshold, diesel made from waste products has become price competitive with refinery products. This competitive advantage is boosted every time the crude oil price rises by another cent. High fuel prices are putting a damper on the entire European economy.

At a price of close to US$85 for a barrel of crude oil, the average per liter cost of diesel fuel at European gas stations is EUR 1.05. However, due to the wide range of different sales and mineral oil taxes, there are substantial price fluctuations throughout Europe. In Estonia for instance, a liter costs as little as 88 cents, while the Britons have to dole out EUR 1.42.

Even if, we consider all taxes, the production cost will be ~55 cents. Biotherm Technologie AG, a Swiss company, is now offering a process that cuts the costs of producing an absolutely identical product by 40 percent. This translates into a price advantage of 25 cents per liter.

The patented process, which was developed by Clyvia Technology GmbH in Wegberg, Germany is based on fractionized de-polymerization, a process similar to the cracking of crude oil. At a temperature of 400°C - which is far lower than the temperature used in conventional cracking processes such as pyrolysis - long hydrocarbon chains are subjected to scission to subsequently evaporate and settle in the form of diesel oil in a condenser.

A total of 11.6 million tons of plastic waste currently remains unused. The volume of waste containing high volumes of plastics in the 25 EU member states as well as Norway and Switzerland totaled 22 million tons in 2005. In addition, Europe generates 2.5 million tons of old oil suitable for reprocessing. The largest portion of this waste, i.e. close to 62 percent, stems from packaging material, followed by waste from the construction, automotive and electrical sectors. However, at this time, only 46 percent of this waste is re-used, while 53 percent is simply disposed of. The process developed by Clyvia would make it possible to re-process this potential, which remains unused to date, i.e. about 11.6 million tons, into premium combustion and fuel materials.

Source:Earth times