MAKEEN Energy: Plastcon turns plastic waste into fuel

The Plastcon solution requires neither sorting nor cleaning of the plastic before it is recycled, which is why this solution has massive business potential – and why MAKEEN Energy wants to patent the technology. 

If you have ever spent more than five minutes at a recycling station, you’ll know that the average household disposes quite a lot of plastic waste. Adding on the vast amount of industrial plastic waste, there is no doubt that Plastcon, which is one of MAKEEN Energy’s most recent solutions, is a good idea – both for business and the planet. 

In short, Plastcon can turn plastic waste into oil by means of pyrolysis. However, this is not a new technology. 

The new and significant thing is that MAKEEN Energy has developed the technology in such a way that sorting and cleaning of the plastic is no longer required for the pyrolysis to start – and this is quite a game changer, says Project Manager at MAKEEN Energy, Anders Bjørn.

Steering clear of essential barriers

“The requirement for sorting of waste has always been a major barrier when working with pyrolysis. But now the barrier is gone,” he says and adds that engineers at MAKEEN have succeeded in improving the technology in two other ways. The most important improvement is an increased degree of utilization: “out of one kilo of plastic, we can extract about 0.8 kilo of oil, which can then be refined to diesel or fuel oil. This is a great result,” says Anders Bjørn and continues: 

“Other than that, the solution is mobile. All along, the goal was to fit the solution into a 40 feet container so that we could move the installment close to where the plastic is already located. This way, we save the costs of transportation,” he says and refers to business potential in China and parts of Africa where big amounts of plastic are stored in landfills. 

The potential is unleashed when a Plastcon installation at one of these locations encourages the locals to make money from collecting plastic. “This way the plastic becomes valuable, and Plastcon helps decrease the vast amounts of plastic above and below water,” says Anders Bjørn.

Read more about Plastcon here.

Patenting is crucial

In a time where CO2 footprints are the talk of the town, most of us can agree that Plastcon sounds like a great idea. And good ideas with market potential are likely to be copied – unless you prevent it. 

MAKEEN Energy agrees. “It is our experience that all ideas that smell like business potential are copied unless we protect them with patents,” Anders Bjørn says. He elaborates that this experience is the motivation for focusing on IP and the reason why the firm has cooperated with Plougmann Vingtoft for several years. 

When Patent Attorney, Brian Andersen, first heard about Plastcon, he had no doubt that the solution had to be patented sooner rather than later. “It is an innovative solution with great potential. Hopefully, it turns into a whole new business area for MAKEEN Energy. For these reasons, it is essential to patent the solution in the best way possible,” says Brian. He points to the challenge that “pyrolysis is a well-known method, which means that our job is to define what it is that makes MAKEEN Energy’s solution new and innovative. In the end, this is what we are able to protect with a patent,” Brian Andersen explains. He adds that MAKEEN Energy has approached the process just right. 

“To minimize the risk that others would file a patent application on a similar technology, MAKEEN Energy initiated the patenting process at an early stage. Straight by the book,” says Patent Attorney, Brian Andersen.

This article was originally published via Business Insights on 14 April 2020 (Danish).

Plastcon explained:

The plastic is shredded and organic materials (if any) are removed. Afterwards, the plastic is heated to a temperature between 400 and 700 degrees after which it transforms into gas. After condensation, the product can be refined into maritime diesel or fuel oil.