Ricardo and Recycling Technologies to characterise plastic waste derived clean fuel

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Testing by Atlas II research engine_400 (Foto: Ricardo)

Brighton, UK – Recycling Technologies’ highly innovative PlaxxTM fuel is created from residual mixed plastic waste that is not amenable to direct recycling and would otherwise go to landfill. The company is working with Ricardo to characterise the use of this recycled, low sulphur fuel as a substitute for fossil based heavy fuel oil (HFO) and diesel in applications such as power generation and marine propulsion.

Recycling Technologies has developed a machine (RT7000) and is industrialising a process to convert residual plastic waste into a low sulphur hydrocarbon compound known as PlaxxTM. This can be used as a petrochemical feedstock, a manufacturing commodity such as paraffin wax, or as a clean and more sustainable fuel substitute for fossil-based HFO, which also displaces imported oil.

To assess the relative performance

In the project announced today, Ricardo will work with Recycling Technologies to assess the relative performance of PlaxxTM, HFO and diesel when used in an engine of the type and scale typical of power generation or marine propulsion applications. The Ricardo Atlas II research engine will be used for this work: This advanced test engine is capable of efficiently evaluating the performance of fuels in large, multi-cylinder engine designs ranging from 150-200 mm bore and representing engines in the class 0.5 to 5 MW, in a single power cylinder. This can result in a reduction exceeding 90 percent of the test fuel consumed in a typical research or development project.

In the early stages of the Recycling Technologies project, a thorough review of the properties of PlaxxTM as a combustion engine fuel will be carried out in order that a comprehensive test plan can be developed. Back-to-back testing of PlaxxTM against diesel and HFO will then be undertaken over a range of loads using the Atlas II engine. Combustion characterisation will also be trialled based on the measured in-cylinder pressure, power, specific fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. This will help to fully understand the behaviour of PlaxxTM in this type of engine and enable the further refinement of engine and fuel settings for maximum efficiency and low emissions.

To assess the viability of the process

“Finding solutions to landfill diversion is a critical challenge facing modern society,” commented Dr Adam Read, Ricardo Energy & Environment practice director for resource efficiency & waste management. “The ability to generate fuels and recover plastics is key to the sustainable management of the world’s resources. As such, assessing the viability of the process during the pilot phase is an exciting and potentially ground-breaking step for Ricardo and the team from Recycling Technologies.”

Adrian Griffiths, CEO Recycling Technologies commented: “The marine industry is a key market as the use of high sulphur oil is increasingly being restricted. Working together with Ricardo on this project, we are now taking steps to get Plaxx™ qualified so that it is fit for use in medium and large marine engines. Plaxx™ is an ultra-low sulphur feedstock and can be adapted for use in any markets where crude oil derivatives are used. Through this pilot project, we hope to qualify Plaxx™ as meeting the new global MARPOL requirements.”

Recycling Technologies has funded its extensive R&D projects through various government funding organisations, including the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) and the Energy Catalyst grant with the University of West England (UWE), funded by Innovate UK. There has been additional support from other government funding organisations, such as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Source: Recordo plc