Clean Planet Energy granted patent for upgrading pyrolysis-oil into ultra-low sulphur fuels.

Clean Planet Energy has today announced the successful grant of patent-status for an innovative process of upgrading pyrolysis-oil (the oils derived from the chemical breakdown of waste plastics) into ultra-low sulphur fuels and circular petrochemical feedstocks, enabling the reduction of CO2 emissions in the transport and heavy-machinery sectors by 75%. The process, originally submitted for patent consideration two years ago has been granted a UK patent with global protection via the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The patented process addresses the problem resulting from the use of unprocessed pyrolysis-oil (derived from waste plastics) within internal combustion engines and refineries. Raw or unprocessed pyrolysis-oil can hold a number of challenges, including;

  • a high content of compounds containing oxygen (creating instability and variability within the raw-oil),

  • a high amount of unsaturated compounds (these are compounds that are very reactive and can lead to the build-up of gums when stored for a long time),

  • large amounts of nitrogen, sulphur, halogens and metals (therefore potentially emitting toxic gases when burned and potentially not complying with regulations as a standard fuel).

Many of the above drawbacks has made the potential recycling of traditional non-recyclable waste plastics (such as takeaway films, carrier bags and single-use plastics) a low market value oil, which subsequently has made hard-to-recycle plastics an unattractive subject-matter for investors in the past. Due to this lack of investment and the continually increasing volumes of plastic generated each year across the globe, enormous environmental damage has occurred to our planet and wildlife from plastic waste.

Dr. Andrew Odjo is Clean Planet's Chief Technology Officer and lead inventor of this patent:

The patent describes a facility and a method for carrying out an enhanced pyrolysis oil upgrading operation with more flexibility and efficiency. This means that the process is configured to adapt its operating parameters (such as pressure, temperature, feed rates and ratios) to a greater variability in properties of the pyrolysis oil which is its starting input stream. - Dr. Andrew Odjo, CTO

Dr. Odjo continues: "The process comprises of a first section, in which a fractional condensation of the pyrolysis oil takes place, dividing the input stream in two or more input streams. The second section is a hydrotreating section in which the different feed fractions are subjected to catalytic hydrogenation at varying degrees of severity, depending on each fraction properties. The last section is a distillation unit configured to maximise the production of ultra-low sulphur fuels and circular petrochemical feedstocks."

The patented process by Clean Planet Energy aims at maximising oil-output, GHG reductions and economic revenue by targeting the production of ultra-low sulphur fuels and circular petrochemical feedstocks; it may be further adapted to obtain a fuel which complies with ultra-low sulphur diesel, ultra-low sulphur jet fuel or ultra-clean marine regulatory standards.

Clean Planet Energy is using the patent within their ecoPlants to convert hard-to-recycle waste plastics into ultra-low sulphur fuels and circular petrochemical feedstocks across the world, more can be read here

To know more details about the process you can download the patent publication from the UK IPO webpage, which has been published under patent number GB 2590525 - Javier Agullo Pastor PhD MRSC