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Plastics-to-fuel breakthrough in Africa

Africa – Africa’s first recycling plant that converts end-of-life plastics into commercial synthetic fuel oil is underway. Alternative Energy Systems, based in Kiambu, uses a conversion technology that can process 16 tonnes of plastics per day.

All types of plastic waste can be treated – including thin-gauge plastic below 30 microns, reports company ceo Rajesh Kent. The process output will be 70-90% oil and roughly 8% carbon black.

An estimated 2500 tonnes of waste is generated daily in Nairobi and Kiambu counties alone, 11% of which is plastic.

Kent explains that Alternative Energy Systems heats the waste under controlled conditions to produce oil, similar to industrial diesel oil and heavy fuel oil used in power plants, industrial furnaces and boilers. More than 1500 indirect jobs will be created for waste collectors in the area, besides an additional 65 direct jobs will be created in machinery operations and performance of administrative duties.

‘This technology will be transformational in how we handle plastics in this country and Kenya will be used as a benchmark on the continent,’ Kent says.

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