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Jetijs 12-27-2010 07:20 PM

How to turn plastic waste into diesel fuel cheaply
 
The process is really simple, it is similar to how alcohol is made. If you heat plastic waste in non oxygen environment, it will melt, but will not burn. After it has melted, it will start to boil and evaporate, you just need to put those vapors through a cooling pipe and when cooled the vapors will condense to a liquid and some of the vapors with shorter hydrocarbon lengths will remain as a gas. The exit of the cooling pipe is then going through a bubbler containing water to capture the last liquid forms of fuel and leave only gas that is then burned. If the cooling of the cooling tube is sufficient, there will be no fuel in the bubbler, but if not, the water will capture all the remaining fuel that will float above the water and can be poured off the water. On the bottom of the cooling tube is a steel reservoir that collects all the liquid and it has a release valve on the bottom so that the liquid fuel can be poured out. Here are some pictures to better understand the design:









This device works on electricity (3 phase), it has six nichrome coils as heating elements and consumes a total of 6kW (1kW each coil). The coils are turned on and off by three solid state relays, one for each phase, the relays are controlled by a digital thermostat with a temperature sensor just a bit below the lid, so that the vapor temperature can be monitored. You need to heat the plastic slowly to about 350 degrees and just wait till it does the magic. Our device has a capacity of 50 liters and can hold about 30 kg of shredded plastic. The process takes about 4 hours, but it can be shortened considerably by tweaking the design a bit. As I said, this makes a liquid fuel that can be used as multifuel, that means it can be used on diesel engines and also on gasoline engines, but we still need to test it will work on gasoline. It works for diesel engines just fine, that has already been tested. There is a difference in what plastic you use, if you use polyethylene (plastic cans, plastic foil, and all kind of flexible non break plastics) you will get out liquid fuel that will solidify as it cools into paraffin, it is still good for diesel engines as long as you use a heated fuel tank, because it needs to be heated just about at 30 degrees celsius to be liquid and transparent. If you don't want that, you can put the paraffin through the device for one more time and you will chop those hydrocarbons even smaller and half of the paraffin will turn to liquid fuel and other half will remain a paraffin, but much denser and will melt at higher temperatures, this is the stuff you can make candles out of and it does not smell at all when burned, maybe a bit like candles. But if you use polypropylene (computer monitor cases, printer cases, other plastics that break easily), you get out only liquid fuel, no paraffin at all. All you need is just filter the fuel out of solids and you good to go and put it in your gas tank. We have made the analysis and it is almost the perfect diesel fraction. It has no acids or alkalines in it, like fuel from tires does. The unit in the pictures can convert about 60 kg of plastic into 60 liters of fuel in one day. Other methods of heating the reactor can be employed, electricity is just easier to work with and control. Some Japanese companies manufacture such devices, but their prices for this size unit is more than 100 000$, our home made device cost us 900$ max. We use aluminum oxide bricks to insulate the heat, they are light as foam and can be easily cut in any shape, but any kind of insulator can be used. The bricks make the highest costs for this device. It can also be made using liquid fuel burners to heat the reactor, this will enable to make the device self sustainable by using about 10-15% of the produced fuel along with the produced gas. A small farm can use a device this size and make fuel for itself by converting plastic waste to fuel, farms have very much plastic waste and it is a big problem, at least in my country. Our next goal is to make the same thing possible using biomass, every farm could then use old leafs, wet grass, saw dust and all kind of biomass and gasify it into tar like substance that can then be put through the pyrolysis device and turned into biodiesel. But we will see about that. Here are some fuel samples:

These are samples from polyethylene, in the first run out comes mostly paraffin like liquid that solidifies at temperatures below 20 degrees celsius, the other clear sample is from the same paraffin that is gone through the process one more time. Will post more pictures and a video later.
Thanks,
Jetijs

Jetijs 12-27-2010 07:22 PM

We made calculations, it turns out that our device, as crude as it is with much room for improvement, can produce diesel fuel at a cost of 17 US cents a liter, that is when only plastic and electricity is considered. The next machine will probably use a liquid fuel burner to heat the reactor, this could lower the costs even more as it would then run on a small percentage of the produced fuel and also the produced gas would then be used more practically - burned along with the fuel to heat the reactor. Even now, if we would get the electricity from a diesel generator that runs on the produced fuel, it would consume about 20% of the produced fuel, but those generators are never efficient and much of the potential power is lost, so heating the reactor using a burner should be even more efficient. Japan produces such units that run themselves using the produced fuel, their machines use 7-10% of the yield. But they cost more than 100 000$ for a unit the size we have. We also calculated all the materials and work involved to make this device and it comes around 1200$, but it is scalable from table top units up to industrial size units that produce several tons of fuel daily.

Here is a video I made and uploaded on a fake youtube account:
YouTube - Easy way to make your own diesel from plastic waste

bugler 12-27-2010 07:44 PM

Jetijs I have no words to describe how impressed I am with your skills.

Everything you do is amazing. I wonder how I could learn a small fraction of what you know.

Keep it up.

Jetijs 12-27-2010 07:55 PM

Thanks bugler :thumbsup:
:cheers:

I forgot to mention that this is not entirely my project because I don't have much time for it, the work was mostly done by my friend at my shop, I just helped him. This is a very big step forward from my tire pyrolysis project few years back and it would not get this far without my friend :)
All the info will be shared, nothing will be kept to us. It is time to make a change. This thing is what almost everyone can make in their garage in the scale he can afford. Sure it is not free energy, but it is a damn cheap one that you can make yourself and the best part is that you get rid of the plastic waste in the process making it environmentally friendly. Some others that are working on this tech keep every detail in secret, and Japanese units are so damn cheap that most of people decide that this is too expensive and complex to build by yourself. But it is not!

bugler 12-27-2010 08:08 PM

Jetijs I was thinking that this could be an amazing final project for mechanical engineering.

You says that all the info will be shared. When will you share it?

I would ask to share the information in a very low level way. I mean that when highly experienced people share knowledge they don't realize how much they know so those with much lower level of knowledge don't undertand the information. As I say, please explain it for dummies like me.

Thanks.

Jetijs 12-27-2010 08:14 PM

The info is already shared, if you don't understand something or have any questions I will answer them, just ask :) I am aware that if you see this tech for the first time it might be confusing, but that is why I am here, to answer questions :)

Jetijs 12-27-2010 08:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I attached the basic sketch of the system.

Cherryman 12-27-2010 09:01 PM

Hi Jetijs, great work!

I Got a few questions, all related I guess.

What would be the minimum temp?
How fast does the process go?
Could this run on a solar parabolic disc? ( Collect some plastic and on a sunny day process a few liters? )


C'man

sseti 12-27-2010 09:13 PM

hi Jetijs

I wondered what happened to your tire pyrolysis, because I once read somewhere that you were doing some testing. as it looked, you had quite a high efficiency gas, which were on fire and my question is whether this has been enough to keep the boiler heating circuit to such an extent that would be self-sufficient pyrolisis

good work,
tadej

Jetijs 12-27-2010 09:13 PM

Hi C'man :)
The minimum temperature would be around 300 degree celsius, but it works much faster and better at around 400 degrees. Our current device produces around 5 liters per hour and the process takes around 4 hours, so 20 liters total. The tighter you pack the plastic, the more efficient. The time is the same no matter if your container is full or half full, so the more you can put in, the better. I use shredded plastic and so I can put around 25 kg of shredded plastic in a 50 liter tank. I am not sure about solar, probably not a good idea as the heat source is no reliable, as you get the heat up, you don't want it to drop considerably until the process is finished, because that would solidify all the melted plastic into a big blob and this would the take forever to remelt. Solar would probably work on very small quantities. Also the type of plastic is important, you can use only plastics that have pure hydrocarbons in them and nothing else, such as polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC should not be used as it contains large amounts of chlorine that is very toxic and would corrode the metals in your reactor. Also PET bottles are no good as they contain additional oxygen and we need the process to be in non oxygen environment. So only use plastics that contain only carbon and hydrogen.

bugler 12-27-2010 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123462)
I attached the basic sketch of the system.

Thanks.

Where is the info shared? Is there a website or file?

How do you make the coils and power them?
What is the tap above the machine?

Would it be possible to see a more detailed diagram with all parts?

Thanks.

Jetijs 12-27-2010 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sseti (Post 123469)
hi Jetijs

I wondered what happened to your tire pyrolysis, because I once read somewhere that you were doing some testing. as it looked, you had quite a high efficiency gas, which were on fire and my question is whether this has been enough to keep the boiler heating circuit to such an extent that would be self-sufficient pyrolisis

good work,
tadej

Hi Tadej :)
In theory the gas from tire pyrolysis can sustain the process, but I have not tried that. Tire pyrolysis was abandoned because the fuel had a horrible smell, fuel from plastics compared to that smell like roses :D Also that tire fuel had lots of sulfur in it and needed additional processing that is not so practical anymore. Another problem was tire shredding, a very powerful shredded needs to used to shredd the tires good enough and those cost a fortune. We got 30 liters of tire fuel from 100kg of raw tires. With plastic we get up to 95 liters from 100kg of plastic and there is nothing else than hydrocarbons in it.

sseti 12-27-2010 09:30 PM

Jetijs
thanks for the reply
I had planing the manufacture of boilers for tire pyrolisis two months ago, but there was no time. now with fresh information I am happy that there was no time, as far as I proceeded to manufacture boilers for plastics.

tadej

Jetijs 12-27-2010 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bugler (Post 123472)
Thanks.

Where is the info shared? Is there a website or file?

How do you make the coils and power them?
What is the tap above the machine?

Would it be possible to see a more detailed diagram with all parts?

Thanks.

The basic info is shared in this topic, experienced builders should already have all the info to replicate. I will elaborate more about the construction.

The white inner rings in the metal drum are made out or about 50 aluminum oxide bricks. I use aluminum oxide because it is light weight and easily cut, like foam. So you cut them so that they make a circle. There are grooves cut in them to house the heating coils. The coils were bought from a kiln making company, you just tell them your power needs, voltages and other stuff and they give you nichrome wire in needed length and diameter, you just need to wind it on a round stick to form a coil and then insert in those grooves in aluminum oxide bricks. Our device has six coils rated for 1kW each, so 6 kW total heating power. I use three phase current, six coils are connected in 3 parallel pairs, a pair for each phase. They are switched on and off using three solid state relays that are controlled by a digital thermostat. The thermocouple is located on the lid of the reactor. There is a metal cage in the barrel that keeps the reactor container apart from the bricks and coils. You just slide the reactor container in, bolt the lid on and connect the condensing reservoirs and off you go. The pipe from the lid goes through three condensing containers, but there could just as well be only one. The plastic melts and boils in the reactor, the vapors go to the condensing container where it cools down and most part of the vapors turn into liquid, remaining vapors that contain mostly gas go through a safety bubbler which catches the last bits of fuel leaving only gas, that you can burn. There usually is very little fuel in the bubbler after the process, and it foats on tor of water and can be easy removed.
Hope this helps,
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask :)

theremart 12-27-2010 10:17 PM

Looks good
 
Many other ways one could heat this. I was thinking either waste motor oil burner, or wood gas stove. A waist oil burner you could regulate the burn much better.

The real question in my mind is the quality of what is distilled. What effect it would have on an engine.

Thanks for sharing.

Jetijs 12-27-2010 10:24 PM

Hi Mart.
The quality of the fuel was already tested, it is about 90-95% diesel and 5-10% gasoline. This works great in liquid fuel burners. If you need it for a diesel engine, you just need to heat the fuel to abut 250 degrees till all gasoline evaporates and you now have pure diesel.

ashtweth 12-28-2010 03:25 AM

Unbelievable man, in fact next year we have a few HEMP to replace plastic demo's i am gonna plug the you know what out of this.

Jetijs, this is seriously of use man. Wholly crap thanks a lot Bro.

Ash

brenie 12-28-2010 10:33 AM

Hello Jetijs Master, and team.
Great stuff, you really know how to break things down to the basics.
Many thanks for all your work.
Best wishes for 2011

Regards, Bren.

Jetijs 12-28-2010 11:58 AM

Thank you guys :)
A good thing is that you should get already shredded plastic from recycling companies very cheap. For example, I got 1000kg of sgredded plastic for around 50$, if all of this is turned into fuel, I get around one ton of diesel. Also the leftover small amount of charcoal can be used by pressing it into briquettes and burning it later in a stove. So you get all kinds of useful products from garbage and nothing is wasted :) Also waste motor oil can be depolimerized by the same process into diesel :)

mklimesh 12-28-2010 03:20 PM

Excellent Jetijs.
I seen a video a couple of months ago of the one with the school kids in it and thought it would be a good project. You have explained a few of the details I was a little unshure of. This will be my next project.
Thanks for sharing.

Mike Klimesh

petar113507 12-28-2010 06:08 PM

UNBELEIVEABLE.
Dude.
Jetijs.
Sharing this represents a lot of research from you, and a lot of technical know-how -- much like everything else you share.

Sincerely, Thank you.

I intend on replicating this within the following year, 2011.

What matieral was the boiler chamber made from?

@Ash, I have access to a lot of other plant wastes -- I look foreward to messaging you with your results. I suspect that with a little modification, this process can be tweaked to be functional for many others. :)

Perhaps testing a mix with bio-diesel?

Regardless, Many thanks to all -- I wish all a good, successful new year,

==Romo

Jetijs 12-28-2010 06:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Mike and Romo :)
The reactor chamber is made out of an old 50 liter steel propane tank, we cut the upper part open and welded on an assembly so that the lid can be bolted on. The flat ring on that the lid is bolted on has a conical groove in it and the lid has an apropriate wedge machined on that matches that groove. The conical shape of these things elliminates the need of a seal, you just bolt the lid on and it will be airtight. I attached a drawing of the lid assembly.

Guruji 12-28-2010 06:43 PM

Plastic fuel
 
Hi Jetjis nice work. The thing is that one needs fuel to heat the plastic. What if one uses a solar parabola maybe it would work too.
Thanks

Jetijs 12-28-2010 06:56 PM

Guruji,
Yes, you need energy to heat the reactor, but if you do that using electricity, you will only need around 8 cents worth of electricity per liter of fuel, that is cheap. And it gets even cheaper if you use liquid fuel burner to heat the reactor and use the produced fuel for heating. We calculated that such a setup would consume around 7% of its produced yield, but now this thing is self sustaining and you only need to get some plastic :) I wouldn't bother with solar for reasons I already mentioned:
Quote:

I am not sure about solar, probably not a good idea as the heat source is no reliable, as you get the heat up, you don't want it to drop considerably until the process is finished, because that would solidify all the melted plastic into a big blob and this would the take forever to remelt. Solar would probably work on very small quantities.

bugler 12-28-2010 08:40 PM

Thanks. I am highly unperienced so I need much more information. I know I am asking too much.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
There are grooves cut in them to house the heating coils.

Can you make a drawing of these grooves?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
The coils were bought from a kiln making company, you just tell them your power needs, voltages and other stuff and they give you nichrome wire in needed length and diameter,

I don't have triphasic electricity so I think a 2kw monophasic would be a good choice. What would be the voltages, etc needed? It would then be a third of what you have made so it would make 20leters per day. Two coilsin parallel żIs that so?
What would be the size of the tank for this smaller unit?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
you just need to wind it on a round stick to form a coil and then insert in those grooves in aluminum oxide bricks.

Can you show a pic of the coils?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
They are switched on and off using three solid state relays that are controlled by a digital thermostat.

Can you show how they would be assembled?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
The thermocouple is located on the lid of the reactor.

What is the termocouple for and how andwhere is it assebled?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123475)
There is a metal cage in the barrel that keeps the reactor container apart from the bricks and coils.

What do you mean? The cage is inside the white bricks? Can you show a drawing?

Thanks for your help. This is a really exciting project. I hope I can really make it.

Jetijs 12-28-2010 10:14 PM

Hi bugler.
Look at this picture:
http://www.emuprim.lv/jetijs/plog-co...m/zupa-006.jpg

there you can see the cut slots in the bricks that house the coils. They are cut in the following configuration:


Yes, you can use single phase current and 2kW of power should be enough for about 20 liter reactor container. You can use either one heating element rated for 2kW or two 1kW ones in parallel. The voltage used is mains power so 220v in Europe and 110v in US. I don't know exactly the specs of the nichrome wire, but something around 1-1.5mm diameter wire should be used, you just need to get such a wire and measure the resistance of it for say a meter, then based on your power needs, you calculate the total length of the wire. For example, if the wire has say 30 Ohms of resistance per meter and you need it to work at 1000w of power, then at 220 volts that would be 4.54 Amps, so you need to get the wire so long that its resistance will limit the current to 4.54A. So if the resistance per meter is 30 Ohms, then at 220 volts 7.33A of current will flow through that wire, that means 1.6kW, that is too much, in order to get 1kW of power we need to increase the wire length till the total resistance of the wire is 48 Ohms, that then would be around 1.6 meters of wire. Hope this helps.

Here is how the electrical circuit would look like in your case of single phase current:


I use digital temperature controller, you can get them on ebay for about 40$, something like this:


The relays are of solid state type, like this:

These are about 15$ a piece. The temperature controller monitors the temperature in the reactor and sends 12v impulses to the bottom contacts of the solid state relays that turns them on and off so that the needed temperature is maintained.
A thermocouple is a temperature sensor, this is the thing from where the temperature controller gets the data from, it is a small metal piece with two wires coming out of it, the metal piece is put where the temperature needs to be monitored and the wires are connected to the temperature controller. It looks something like this:
http://www.deltat.com/uploads/images...or_plastic.JPG

Here you can see the metal cage upside down:

And here you can see it in the whole assembly:


This cage does not let the reactor chamber touch the bricks and coils. I think this should be easy to get from the pictures.

I hope this helps.

bolt1 12-28-2010 11:10 PM

Excellent work but it always needs a workshop and a couple thousand bucks spare to make a LOT of stuff to save energy. The gasifier units are similar and run generators on farms etc using wood chippings. It saves thousand's a year on fuel costs.

That said once you have your DIY diesel fuel it makes sense to upgrade the vehicles with all possible fuel saving devices including HHO. Its a bit of a waste to run your Hummer Diesel when it only does 8 mpg:)

redrichie 12-29-2010 10:24 AM

Hi Jet,
Thanks for this. Very important work you and your friend have done. I have a question. Is the burning process toxic. To us or the environment? Release of hazardous fumes into atmosphere?

Jetijs 12-29-2010 10:45 AM

Hi redrichie :)
Polyethylene and plypropylene are pure hydrocarbons, only they are arranged in long chains. If you chop those chains into shorter ones, you get oil, if you chop them even shorter, you get diesel, and if you chop them again, you get gasoline and eventually burnable gas. So nothing else than hydrocarbons. This means that the burned gasses can only produce some co2 and water vapor when the gas mixes with air and burns, but way less than a typical car engine.

bugler 12-29-2010 08:13 PM

Jetijs. I really appreciate the effort of patiently explaining details that for you are too obvious.

How do you get a non oxygen environment?

I would like to know in detail the dimensions.

Could you tell me (please think in a 2kW macihne so I guess it would be 1/3 high) the height and diameter of the external tank.

The internal diameter of the white inner rings? What are the dimension of the bricks?
Could you tell us the dimensions of the internal cage?

Can you show us the holes and bolts (or whatever you use) for the thermocouple and for the coils?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123641)
There is a metal cage in the barrel that keeps the reactor container apart from the bricks and coils. You just slide the reactor container in, bolt the lid on and connect the condensing reservoirs and off you go.

What is the material between the whilte ring and the external tank? Do you use it also in the bottom of the tank?



The cage you have showed us it doesn't have solid walls so the plastic will fall down to the bottom of the tank. How do you keep then the reactor container apart from the bricks and coils?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123641)
The pipe from the lid goes through three condensing containers

Can you show us the inside of the condensing containers?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123641)
you should get already shredded plastic from recycling companies very cheap

This is going to sound silly but could you show us a pic of the shredded plastic so I have a good idea when I try to buy it?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jetijs (Post 123641)
The reactor chamber is made out of an old 50 liter steel propane tank, we cut the upper part open and welded on an assembly so that the lid can be bolted on. The flat ring on that the lid is bolted on has a conical groove in it and the lid has an apropriate wedge machined on that matches that groove. The conical shape of these things elliminates the need of a seal, you just bolt the lid on and it will be airtight.

Do you mean the external tank is a 50 liter one?
What are the dimensions of both grooves? How do you make them?
Could you please, show us more photos of the upper lid?


I would like to replicate first this machine and then when you have the one burning the fule to heat the plastic I would like to replicate it also.

Thank you very much for your help.

This project sounds really interesting. What a shame that the Japanese sell them so expensive. There is a market for cheaper ones.

(talking about Japanese it reminds me of a Pink Floyd song: YouTube - Pink Floyd Final Cut (12) - Not Now John )


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