Research to determine use of recycled plastic in diesel engines

A new research will determine if Plaxx, a fuel made from mixed plastic waste, can be used as an alternative to crude derived fuels in industrial and marine engines.

The research will be led by Associate Professor Farid Dailami of the BristolRobotics Laboratory, in partnership with Recycling Technologies. The project is also supported by Swindon Borough Council, Crapper and Sons Landfill Ltd, and an international marine insurer.

The research will see if Plaxx can be used efficiently in diesel engines which currently use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). Marine vessels such as tankers, ferries and other nautical machinery use such engines.

The research is also of interest to the waste treatment firms, packaging manufacturers and local waste handling authorities. Its long term application helps create a useable resource from waste which cannot be efficiently recycled mechanically. The waste source is the plastic entering the commercial, industrial and municipal waste streams that is not available to conventional plastics recycling techniques. Currently, this represents the bulk of plastic waste.

Plaxx is very low in sulphur and other organic/inorganic contaminants. Plaxx complies with new emission rules. The fuel, like the crude oil, can be further refined and could be used as an input to plastics manufacturing.

The research will develop the use of Plaxx by testing engine performance, exhaust emissions and engine wear on different engines over a range of test conditions.

“This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to HFO currently used in marine diesel engines and industrial engines. Our research will compare the performance of this fuel with standard diesel fuel in order to gain data on how it performs and to ensure it won’t damage the engine or cause harmful emissions or gases. The aim is to demonstrate to producers and users of these engines that Plaxx can be a viable alternative to HFO and to pave the way for commercialisation of Plaxx,” said Mr. Dailami.

“HFO is a fossil fuel which needs to be extracted and refined and therefore has environmental costs and consequences, whereas Plaxx is very low in sulphur and is made from a waste product which otherwise would have to go into landfill or be incinerated. Our research will seek to show if you put Plaxx into an engine it won’t harm the engine. In time Plaxx, as an alternative to HFO, has the potential to benefit local authorities and ultimately tax payers, by lowering the cost of waste management and turning plastic waste into a useable fuel,” said Mr. Dailami.

“This research will allow Recycling Technologies to characterise the use of Plaxx for use in diesel engines thus opening up a global market for an important new innovative material to replace fossil fuels with a product derived from waste,” said Recycling Technologies chief executive Adrian Griffiths.


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