Competitive Edge: Can Sweet Gazoil’s surface flash cracking technology help solve plastics pollution?

June 10, 2021 |

Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

Sweet Gazoil was founded to solve water pollution from waste and used oil. EPA states that 60% of water pollution in the USA comes from waste oil and that 1 gallon of used oil can pollute 1 million gallons of water. The founders were tired of fixing badly designed or inefficient plants to treat used oils. We wanted to market an innovative and profitable process to transform used oil into useful and environmentally friendly products. It is the only viable process that can treat the heaviest and dirtiest portions of waste and used oils.

When China stopped importing waste plastics, we adapted the technology to transform dirty mixed plastics into renewable diesel fuel and/or naphtha which is the main feedstocks in plastic manufacturing.

The technology is flexible both in the feedstock it can accept and in its product slate. Small plants servicing small collection areas are profitable, less transport CO2.

The drop-in renewable diesel is produced with 40% less CO2 than refinery diesel.

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

We market and provide the engineering and support for surface flash cracking (SFC) Technology. We have 26 issued patents and another 16 patent applications.

SFC is a flexible, anti-fouling, continuous process that efficiently depolymerizes plastics and oils without fouling the equipment. The clean products are separated in a distillation column.

We market our technology as a solution for waste oils and plastics pollution. For example, we transform used oils vacuum tower bottoms into renewable fuels or re-refinery feedstock and non-leachable powder. Also, we transform unwanted plastics such as laminates, films, bags and other mixed waste plastics into renewable diesel or/and feedstock for plastic manufacturing.

Sweet Gazoil is primarily an engineering company adapting SFC to local feedstocks and markets. We are also a resource to fix problems with other processes related to chemical recycling.

Q: What stage of development are you?

Demonstration stage – proven at small, integrated scale, but not yet commercially available

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

SFC complements and simplifies mechanical recycling of waste plastics in Material Recycling Facilities (MRF). Mechanical recycling can remove dirt, glass and other materials, but it cannot take out the average 6% additives in plastics, such as pigments, flame retardants, stabilizers and plasticizers etc.

SFC technology uses heat as a hammer to break long molecules into smaller ones. The liquid feedstock is sprayed onto a hot and continuously cleaned surface. Reactor conditions are modified so that each drop takes the energy it needs to make the desired product slate. Any solids are removed before reaction products enter the distillation column. It is like taking a hammer to break away stone from a diamond then separating the two.

SFC provides a market for the 70% of plastics that are not easily recyclable and reduces sorting costs. SFC is flexible and can make naphtha to be recycled into plastics.

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

SFC is an anti-fouling continuous pyrolyzing process that provides high quality products even with mixed plastics with 15% contaminants. The drop-in renewable diesel produced with SFC will meet North American specifications, with 40% less CO2 emissions. SFC in a 15,000 ton per year unit is profitable even when crude is at $40 a barrel. It is flexible and can make a naphtha that will become renewable plastics.

The process has been used to treat dirty heavy oils in a full-size plant. Experience with a commercial size batch unit and laboratory experiments show that SFC is the right technology for mixed waste plastics.

SFC is an essential complement to MRFs originally designed to recycle mainly fiber (paper and paperboard) but now receive more and more plastics. In 2000, in the USA the average yearly fiber waste was 312 kg/person and plastic waste was 91 kg/person, in 2018 the fiber was down by to 206 kg/person (34% decrease) and plastic was up to 109 kg/person (20 %increase).

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

  1. 1. Designed and started up a commercial unit to treat heavy oil residues.
  2. 2. Finished laboratory tests to adapt SFC technology to waste plastics.
  3. 3. Modified full sized waste plastic batch unit to make products that meet North American specifications while reducing processing times and CO2 emissions.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

  1. 1. Complete financing with Soleco Energie inc. of the first commercial plant for waste plastics (post-consumer and laminates).
  2. 2. Start up 15000 metric tons per year of industrial and post consumer plastics in the next 2 years.
  3. 3. Sell 2 more commercial units.

Q. Where can I learn more about Sweet Gazoil?

Click here to visit Sweet Gazoil’s website.

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