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Clean Planet Energy turns dirty plastic into ‘ultra clean’ jet fuel

UK start-up Clean Planet Energy has developed a ‘revolutionary’ technology that can convert non-recyclable plastics into ‘ultra clean’ jet fuel.

The London-based company aims to process 1 million tonnes of plastic scrap per year and is building two “EcoPlants” with an annual capacity of 20 000 tonnes to work towards this lofty goal. Another four facilities are being designed.

First, the plastic scrap is sorted and shredded into tiny pieces (below 0.5cm). The material is then heated in an oxygen-free ecoReactor. This causes the plastics to react; the hydrocarbon chains give in, meaning the scrap breaks down at molecular level. This yields a light material that is cooled in a condenser, creating new liquids and gas. Another benefit is that these can power the recycling plant itself.

The recycled fuel is called Clean Planet Air. ‘The certified kerosene – jet fuel can be used as a direct replacement for the fossil-fuel equivalent, yet it reduces CO2 emissions by a minimum of 75% in comparison, whilst removing thousands of tonnes of waste plastics from the environment every year,’ says company ceo Bertie Stephens.

He envisions even low quality scrap will transformed into petrochemical feedstocks to make circular plastics a reality. ‘Our technology is able to handle plastics that simply cannot be mechanically recycled today, therefore also providing a solution to the waste-plastic crisis too.’

The entrepreneur notes that the plastics processed at the “EcoPlants” would otherwise be going to landfill, incineration – or worse, entering our oceans.

Clean Planet Energy previously introduced a premium, zero-sulphur diesel fuel, which meets the top EU specifications and can power large marine vessels, including cruise ships and freight ships (they can use up to 175 000 litres of fossil fuel per day). ‘Our latest announcement means the recycled fuel can also cover almost all major road, sea and air transport fuel types,’ Stephens notes.

To spread the word, his company was invited to headline the first day at the Davos Energy Week, which was organised by the World Economic Forum in January. You can watch the presentation below:

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