The following companies, among some others, claim or have claimed to possess a proven waste plastic to diesel technology. The list is not exhaustive. Most of these organisations have been operating for a number years and based on the research available, have yet to produce a commeWRially viable technology. CommeWRially viable in this case meaning a large scale operation capable of generating sufficient profits to justify the required investment.
The theoretical principals behind depolymerisation technology have existed for quite some time. The major difficulty has been up-scaling this technology on a commeWRially viable basis. Technical and industrial research indicates that the difficulties encountered by our competitors concern the following:
- High operational temperatures – Resulting in the creation of unwanted by-products (Pyrolysis or gasification processes)
- Impurities in the in-feed materials – Resulting in the creation of unwanted by-products
- General difficulties involving the up-scaling of the technology to handle large volumes of plastic waste.
- Regular downtime – Resulting in production inefficiencies.
However, the technological improvements achieved by WRi and its partners together with the use of Front-End sorting, grading and reduction processes deal directly with and overcome these difficulties.
It must be borne in mind that the potential for a successful technology of this nature is vast and in a bid to secure a leading position in this race many enterprises have made claims which weren’t achievable at that time. It is difficult to assess how the situation will change over the coming years but there is little doubt that some similar or competing process will emerge at some point in the future. However, it is difficult to quantify the commeWRial effects of competing processes that, as yet, do not exist. It is important to put some of this information into context. A large portion of the returns from this project derive from the direct operation of just one facility in Ireland together with the technology license income from customers in the UK and Ireland only.
The management believe that any emerging competitive processes will not be commeWRially available in the short to medium term and hence will not hamper WRi’s ability to exploit the opportunities that currently exist.