Plastic Waste Into Low-Cost Fuel

Plastic is a wonderful man-made invention with great functionality and ability to ease modern day packaging dilemma. But how and when this 20th century invention that eased our lives became the Frankenstein monster, is a story in itself. Only valuable plastics are getting recycled and the low value plastic still ends up in landfills and oceans. Paterson Energy tries to bridge this gap by incorporating all kinds of plastic.

The eco-friendly fuel alternative made from plastic can be used to fuel generators, industrial boilers, and furnaces, among others.

A single piece of plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose posing a threat to land and water. While it is not feasible to completely stop the manufacturing plastic, repurposing plastic waste can be a solution. Yet, only a fraction of the plastic waste generated is recycled. For instance, India generates close to 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report. Only 20 per cent of it gets recycled. However, Chennai-based Paterson Energy has come up with an innovative solution to the planet’s plastic woes.

The startup converts plastic waste into liquid fuel that is eco-friendly, cheaper and can be used to fuel generators, industrial boilers, and furnaces, among others. The start-up was founded by husband-wife duo Vidya and Amarnath Maitreyan in 2016. It has, since then, managed to convert a whopping 150 tonnes of plastic waste into energy-efficient fuel.

There is no denying that plastic is one of the most widely-used materials across the world due to its availability, affordability and durability.

But, due to the alarming non-degradable aspect of plastic, more and more organisations like Paterson Energy are coming up with innovative and effective measures of treating plastic waste scientifically.

The intention behind starting the bootstrapped organisation was to check the reckless disposal and treatment of the toxic material.

The commerce graduates, who run a wealth management company, entered the waste management field in 2012 with the primary objective to spread awareness on waste segregation. Gradually, their work sowed the seed of coming up with better ways to manage plastic waste.

After finding solutions to dispose plastic waste at individual levels, the couple went all out in their research and came across a process that brings plastic back to its original form i.e. crude oil.

In 2012, Vidya approached IIT Madras to work on a tangible solution to mitigate the plastic waste problem.

“We put in several hours of research and development with the assistance of IIT Madras, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology and design consultations from Engineers India Limited,” says Amarnath.

The company has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Berlin University of Technology for research and development on plastic technologies. Locally, they have signed an MoU with SSN university and Vellore Institute of Technology for research and development purposes.

“Paterson Energy reworked the process technology of an otherwise highly unorganised and nascent process into a state-of-the-art indigenous thermo-chemical depolymerisation that processes all kinds of polymer waste,” she adds.



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Wednesday, November 20, 2019