Recycling Plastic In India: Converting Plastic Waste To Fuel, The Unrealised Potential

Recycling Plastic In India: Converting Plastic Waste To Fuel, The Unrealised Potential

With proper infrastructure and better awareness, plastic waste in India could be successfully converted to fuel for both industrial and domestic use
Plastic to fuel
Highlights
  • India generates nearly 15,000 tonnes of plastic every day
  • Indian Institute of Petroleum developed a plastic to fuel technology
  • Large plastic waste to fuel conversion plants are yet to be set up

New Delhi:Plastic waste in India has become an increasingly pressing problem over the years. With increasing dependence on plastic, the tendency to dispose of plastic casually has also become a part of the mainstream. Over the years, several waste to wealth mechanisms have been adopted to recycle and reuse plastic in innovative ways. One such trend has been the conversion of plastic waste to fuel and making it usable for both domestic and industrial purposes. Given India’s huge daily generation of over 15,000 tonnes of plastic, the prospects of conversion to fuel are abundant, provided there is sufficient infrastructure available. The current Union government’s focus on waste management via Swachh Bharat Abhiyan also addresses the issue of plastic waste and ways with which the problem could be dealt with.

Countries like Japan, Germany and the United States have already implemented the plastic to fuel conversion process with much success. These three have also been successful in creating business models out of the conversion process, resulting in the conversion model becoming a profitable business one. Though India still has a long way to go in terms of adopting plastic to fuel as a business model, breakthroughs are being made to convert plastic to usable fuel.

Dehradun based Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2014, developed a unique process of converting plastic waste like polyethylene and polypropylene, both together accounting for 60 per cent of plastic waste, can be converted to either gasoline or diesel. The technology is capable of converting 1 kg of plastic to 750 ml of automotive grade gasoline. Due to nearly nil presence of Sulphur in the produced fuel, IIP’s plastic converted fuel is pure and meets the Euro-III standards. IIP also stated that a vehicle using this fuel would be able to run for at least two kilometres more per litre. The technology was developed by IIP after nearly a decade of research in hope of commercialising it for industrial usage.

The fuel obtained from conversion of plastic is completely environmentally friendly due to absence of any toxic substances. Apart from producing petroleum and diesel, this technology will also ensure that urban and semi-urban areas become plastic free, as instead of disposing plastics as waste, they can be converted to fuel, said Dr. Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.

IIP’s technology also received a thumbs up from the Indian Railways two years back in April 2015, when then Railway Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that the Railways would set up plants to manufacture diesel from plastic, which would be used for mechanical traction. Though no plant has been set up yet by the Railways yet, IIP is still hopeful of large scale conversion of plastic to fuel utilising the technology by its scientists.

Also Read: Yes, It Is Possible To Lead A Zero Waste Lifestyle. Take A Cue From This 26-Year Old Bengaluru Woman

Far from Dehradun, in Maharashtra’s Pune, Medha Tadpatrikar has also achieved significant success in converting plastic waste to fuel, that too without the aid of a fancy laboratory or a scientific background. Medha’s tryst with plastic began in 2009, when she and her friend Shirish Phadtare were appalled at the amount of plastic garbage casually thrown around and often wondered if anything could be done to put plastic waste to use. This resulted in extensive research by the two women who deducted that usable fuel could be obtained from plastics, using the mechanism of thermos-catalytic depolymerisation. Subsequently, Rudra Environmental Solutions was founded and in 2010, the first plastic to fuel conversion machine was set up in Pune.

Rudra Environmental Solutions Factory
Converting Plastics to Fuel: Rudra Environmental Solutions Factory, Pune, India

The amount of plastic we would see around us was appalling, and I always wondered what the alternative would be. Plastic is essentially made from crude oil, so we decided to reverse the process to try and obtain fuel from it. We developed a machine in 2010 but had to stop its functioning due to emission of gases, whenever the plastic would be heated. In 2013, we redesigned the machine and restarted the process of converting plastic to fuel. The gases emitted due to heating of plastic are now used to fire up the machine, said Medha Tadpatrikar, co-founder, Rudra Environmental Solutions.

The collected plastic waste is shredded and dumped into a reactor. Post that, a catalyst is added and the plastic is heated at a temperature of 150 degrees. The gases emitted such as methane and propane as stored in a separate gas tank to be used as heating source for the machine to function. The oil obtained is filtered, stored and readied for dispatch. With such a small setup, Rudra has revolutionised how plastic can be successfully converted to fuel. A tonne of plastic can approximately produce 600 to 650 litres of fuel, 20 to 25 per cent synthetic gases and 5 to 10 per cent of residual char, which can be used for road filler with bitumen. The organisation today collects plastic waste from nearly 15,000 households from Pune, as well as encourages people from all over India to send plastic waste via courier for conversion to fuel.

A plastic waste to fuel conversion machine
A plastic waste to fuel conversion machine

We work extensively in Pune and Thane, and continuously encourage people from all over India to send us plastic waste. In India, fuel prices are a big concern and since a lot of plastic waste is generated in the country, converting them to fuel can result in distribution of fuel at lower prices to the economically weaker sections of the society, said Ms Tadpatrikar.

Among states, Goa has been instrumental in converting plastic waste into fuel. Two plants in Goa’s Bicholim and Sonsoddo have been setup under the public private partnership (PPP) model with Bangalore-based M K Aromatics Ltd. Goa which generates nearly 66 metric tonnes of plastic waste every day, has ample plastic waste to be converted to fuel. The two plants, functional since 2016, have been instrumental in converting plastic waste to fuel. In Hyderabad, the waste to energy company Ventana announced the setting up of multiple waste to fuel plants, in collaboration with Ramky Environment, a waste management service. The announcement was made in January 2017.

Though slow, progress is being made on the waste to fuel conversion front in India. Unfortunately, despite the big strides in waste management, extensive setting up of waste to fuel plants across the country is still awaited. The technologies employed to convert plastic waste to fuel are not complicated to replicate, and if done so on a large scale, will only help in addressing the growing issue of India’s plastic waste.

Also Read: These IT Professionals Show India How To Turn Waste Plastic Bags Into Fashionable Handbags

39 Comments

  1. Manish Mittal

    Hi,
    I am Manish Mittal & staying in Delhi.
    We are looking to setup a mechanism to convert the plastic residual into Oil or any other product which is useful for people.
    Kindly suggest.

  2. Abhishek singh

    I want to run project plastic to fual in uttar pradesh .please help sir.pls contact no.thanks

  3. I want to run project plastic to fual in west bengal.please help sir.want to meet and see project.pls contact no.thanks

  4. Kindly contact us with project details. We would like to set up one in kenya and one at Gujarat.

  5. Sir I am very much interested on starting The plant by using plastic waste to oil, I am interested to set up a plant. I would like to visit your plant study more on july in 2019. Could you please give me time schedules.

    Khairil Daud,
    Dept. of mechanical Engineering,
    Syiah Kuala University.

  6. I want established a recycling plant in Arunachal. Arunachal pradesh is a source of oxygen of our atmosphere . I need your help.

  7. Hi, I live in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. I would like to know the list of Plastic to Fuel plants who need dry segregated plastic waste.

  8. WE ARE PLANNING TO SET UP PLANT ,CAN YOU PLEASE HELP US,WHAT COST OF PROJECT

  9. I am intested in setting up such a plant in Greater Noida. Please guide me how to proceed.

    1. Hello,

      I am Shivani if you are interested to set up such a plant you can directly contact us

      Info@trimurtiproduction.com or +91-8889 88 6333

  10. we are interested to use paper mill plastic waste. any solution.
    call 9437049884

  11. Hi I Am into recycling Business of Batteries and I can supply Tons of plastic for Recycling everyday, anyone Interested please contact.
    Sagar Panth
    email: panthsagar@gmail.com

  12. i am interest know about waste to oil

  13. Mosali syam babu

    Sir my name syam babu i am interested in plastic recycling small industry give me total project detailes and raw material,mechenery ,shed area ,manpower , electricity briefly give me detailes my education is electrical and electronics engineering. Project started in ap west godavari distrct

  14. I am interested in this plan which is very useful. i want this in himachal pradesh state. its a tourist place where so many plastic material is used so if you have any plan or idea which is suitable then you can message me on vicky12bcc1047@gmail.com. thanks.

    1. Hey this is Vansh from Patiala I’m engineering student nd i was make a successful working model of pyrolysis plastic waste (140) kg. Its really work any body interested than contact me
      9569327106

  15. Birendra K Jha

    The India based company, Pebal Oxide And Organic Pvt Ltd is establishing a plant at Uttar Pradesh, to produce diesel from crop residue and plastic waste. The diesel so produced is sulphur free and meets Euro-III standards.This has also reported giving higher mileage then the present available diesel.

    1. pl send company detailed i am keen interest to mix waste to convert fuel
      may be possible ,i have last 35 years experience of waste to compost,energy ,landfill
      my id jhasir@gmail.com now prest time 4041 municipal town in india

  16. I am intrested to recycle the plastic waste to petrol and diesel in harýna

  17. jayraj dodiya

    I am interested to set up a plant, if any idea how can I start , any franchise options are there

  18. We can recycle a plastics into yarn in turns cloths …….it’s need a investment n machineries! It’s a best idea of recycling! We can make our planet free from plastics!

  19. I want a serious partner to work n make money I have waste 10 tonnes daily in African country and sell th e power generated to government

  20. I have waste and need a partner for investment …in African country have lives 23 years n have good connections with government …now in Mumbai pls contact me on 9820478584 or sajids9@yahoo.com we can start this plant in partnership and sell to govt everydays energy which is generated electricity

  21. i am interested in setting up a plant in the hills of tamilnadu on small scale. can any body help me in this.

  22. We have approx. 40T of bales plastic waste (PET/PE/EVA) if anyone can give us some guidance on where to get rid of it without a massive price tag please let me know.
    We are based in the UK.

    1. Liz
      We are looking for plastic waste. What is your annual amount of plastic waste generated?

  23. I want to start this plant please help me

  24. Wow what a pack of niggers

  25. Arunsarathy Ravichandran

    Sir I am very much interested on starting The plant, I am interested to set up a plant, if any idea how can I start , any franchise options are there.

    1. Hi Arun, Can you please call me 9500900609.

    2. Sajith Lawrance

      Hi Mr. Arunsarathy, If you looking for a partner contact me at sajithlaw07@gmail.com

  26. I am interested to set up a plant, if any idea how can I start , any franchise options are there.

    1. Can you contact me on email ,

    2. Sajith Lawrance

      Hi Mr. Rao, If you looking for a partner contact me at sajithlaw07@gmail.com

    3. Hi Mr Rao, If you need any information regarding plant, you can contact me on r.k3092@yahoo.in.

      1. Sir i am also interested in this area, can you send me information.
        thank you,
        dmk17.ict@gmail.com

      2. Hey Mr. Singh We are planning to set up plant, can you please help us, what ll be total project cost, or is it realible.

        1. Dear Sir,
          I am interested to setup a plant in small scale sector. can you provide more details like project cost, Type of waste plastic to be used.Is it
          used municipal plastic waste.
          thanking you,

        2. Mr. Singh We are planning to set up plant, can you please help us, what ll be total project cost, or is it reliable.

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