Mobile Pyrolysis Plant – Turning waste into fuel

Hi everyone!
I come here to present my project that develops based on the needs and what is possible to be realized in Brazil.

**The idea

**I’m from Rio de Janeiro and, like everywhere in the world i think, we have problem’s with the plastic treatment. In Brazil, processing plastic for recycling is not profitable (to the extent that you can not keep up your work). Virgin plastic has high government incentives. Doing arts with recycling also has very low payoff. The idea that I am constructing is to create a pyrolysis plant, built in a truck, to collect the city.

_**Why a truck?

**– _A container is very expensive. Stopping in polluted places, which are usually rivers, would be very difficult.
– Moving a container is very expensive here.
– A truck to do this service would also be very expensive, initially raising the price of the project to a very high level.
– Renting a space for this would also cost dearly. There is no possibility of being close to homes, because this type of service is not allowed in residential areas in Brazil, so it would have a high monthly cost, besides having to invest in any way in the collection of the material.
– The main garbage dump is controlled by drug traffickers. You can not go in there with machines, only garbage trucks can.
Taking into account these factors, a mobile plant will be more viable because it will unite collection and processing in one place, in addition to cheapening the process.

_**how it works?

**_I am still in the planning stage, so I share with you, look for ideas, criticism and how to improve the project. I’ll try a crowdfunding project to get it funded. Basically, the truck will have a pyrolysis plant inside. I will use the fuel produced to invest in another, more efficient, but probably more expensive, project. The idea is to clean, at least from solid waste, the Rio de Janeiro rivers.


I work at an industrial sized version of what you are proposing. I know it can work, but how are you planning on maintaining the needed heat? And the cooling of the byproducts? What byproducts are you planning?
I can’t imagine making something work in the small scale, but am very interested.

luccajones Its a good idea so potable project but there are many risk involved in handling pyrolysis as you have to worked on and above 500 C and its a petroleum product the fuel, your by products like fuel gas and the residue solid and the emission in the environment so kindly have a look to all these problems also

Jeff, i don’t know yet. I will search how wash and cleaning plastic works, but, like all, probably will be on the truck, don’t know how.
Frogfall, drug traffickers take advantage of the large space, proximity to the sea, places to hide drugs and the population that lives to collect garbage to have a large number of users and receive and distribute drugs throughout the city.

Brazil does not produce drugs but is probably the one that most moves money in Latin America, articulating and taking advantage of the great urbanization that most of the producing countries like Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela do not have. It is advisable for those who come from outside to make social programs in Brazil, that areas such as Rio de Janeiro and Ceará should always have the accompaniment of residents of that area.

Organised crime is involved in waste operations in many countries.  See this report from the UK government in November 2018.

Independent review into serious and organised crime in the waste sector (PDF) Nov 2018

Violence, intimidation, money laundering, fraudulent claiming of subsidies, people trafficking and modern slavery.  It isn’t surprising that drug trafficking is also part of the mix.

Wow that dung Beatle project is awesome.

I’m excited to see your project come to light. Making it cost effective could really make things easier.

My work is probably a 120 million plus dollars  Lol

So for your truck how do you plan on cleaning the plastic?

@timslab Thank you for the info on the dungbeetle project. Looks like a great solution for the unrecyclable mix of plastic.

@jeff its a really big project, maybe in future if my project have sucess, maybe i can do something similar 😂 Its move too much money to build something like your job.
Amazing job, timslab, but reduce the project into like this you shared, give a problem in refine. Its really necessary a separation of gasoline and diesel, and like the liquid fuel showed, thats not clean, and a mix of it can make troubles in motors. But, the project its for other purpose, so, no problem. Constantly use of charcoal and cutted wood to cooking causes cancer and other problems to health on Brazil, probably do the same on Africa, but its not too common here, like Brazil are a high urban country compared to others non-desenvolved countries

Jeff100, the drug dealers/trafficers don’t have a special purpose about stay in a dump, but, the most trash collectors use drugs, allied with the non-government presence of police and others services. Its not too much shared on the rest on the world but Rio de Janeiro have too much places totally controlled by drug dealers, normally “Favelas” or big peripherals areas, where governement state not are present.
Where you can see it all:

Here’s a short clip of some people in South Africa that made a mobile pyrolysis machine. It’s called the Dung Beetle project

Turing waste into fuel. Literally what the garbage trucks collect, we sort out organics to be composted, and metals etc, then shred everything else up for their process. I work on the sorting and shredding side, so not as familiar with the refuse dirived fuels.

They apparently have the ability to process 8000+tons of refuse a month.

You’re doing fuel, Jeff? Or coal? Maybe you could help with explains 🙂 The truck have a something like 6×2,40 meters size, if i remember. I can place 295W 1×1 solar pannels i think. That could energy a direct air conditioner system, or something like this, into the cooling system. I will study exactly every step to do this.

I am super interested to see how this turns out. Making it small enough to be mobile could be a game changer, think a barge sitting in the great plastic patch.
Recycling most things right now is a waste, even paper demand is super low as its easily contaminated, glass is almost always sent to landfill, metal is always sent to landfill. No one is buying the sorted recycling anymore since China closed its doors for it.

My work we provide the waste for the process, in theory 8000 tons a month or more, we sort out the organics, as best we can for compost and digester, and then mix with wood chips and send it all, they try and maintain 1200°c if I remember. 60m tall cooling towers, liquid nitrogen chillers, it’s pretty intense.

Solar won’t provide enough power on a truck, couple hundred watts peek, but a generator from produced fuel would work well.

My perspective is skewed I think as I see how big the system is, and have a hard time scaling it down.

Out of curiosity why do drug trafficers control the dump?

Yes, cgoflyn. Like jeff tell’s, i’t will be runned with generator. The industrial process used in Brazil uses the heat of the gases to make steam, and use Syngas to produce steam too, and steam’s moves a turbine, but, that is very expensive.

Frogfall, in Brazil, i think i can’t sell directly the fuel, but i will try to storage a little and sell it for the public or to gas station. But in the beginning, I will only do tests with people who volunteer to use it in their cars.

jeff, i explain the cooling process above. The heat will be like a forge. A mobile reactor will filled into the forge. The air into the forge will be filled with a motor and this can heat at 500°C range easily. Syngas will mantain the forge.
I will pyrolysis only plastic. Pyrolysis food is not useful, if you put that into a bioreactor you can produce useful inflamable gas for heating houses and cooking. Besides that, food can make very toxic if the pyrolysis does not have a high temperature (750+ °C). Glass are can’t be used, and it’s 100% recyclable. Metals, aluminium too. Paper it’s recyclable too. Plastic it’s the big problem. I can’t recycle PET and PVC too, this produce variants of toxic chloric and fluorine gases.
PP is the most useful and reacting pure PP can produce something like 95% high octanable petrol.

1-Way valve is basically you put a fisrt tube into a liquid recipient filled with water until half with that liquid. The gas going into the first tube and will be fill the recipient. The second tube will catch that gas and move it to the other step. If something come back into the second tube, like fire or oxygen, that will stop in that recipient, because this cant go into the watter and enter into the first tube.
Sorry for bad english D:

Hi everyone, i’m uploading a image i have made.
The base of project is on that image. I used some sources from the “Plastic Odissey” project.
1 STEP – shredding the plastic.

2 STEP –  The plastic will be filled on the pyrolysis reactor and with a hidraulic press (not in the image), will aply pressure on the reactor cover. This process will remove air from the reactor, pressuring the ar to escape to the 2 STEP tube, that will have a 1-way valve*( I will explain this valve bellow).

3 STEP – Gas produced by pyrolysis is a long-hydrocarbons molecules. That will be upped in a tube and going into a catalyzer. The catalyzer will broke the long-molecules of hydrocarbons into a small molecules. This will produce more fuel. I don’t know how the petroleum catalalyst works, how products are made it, and is possible this step will skiped if i don’t contact an oil/pyrolysis engineer/specialist. Skip this step will not afect the function of the project, but will reduce production.

4 STEP – This step is the cooling tube. Gas will pass into a serpetine into that, like in beer recipient (we call in Brazil “Chopeira manual”). Extern of the serpetine, but into the tube, will be filled with watter, it will be refrigered with solar panels energy on top of the truck, but already can be refrigered with the energy produced with generator using the produced fuel. a non-useful catalyst or skip the process will create most powerful Diesel, and lowly gasoline/petrol. The efficient catalyst will produce Gasoline mixed with naphtha and kerosene, which makes it more octanevel.

5 STEP – the tube will end in a botton of a recipient. That whill fill this recipient will Diesel, that will condense at 140-340 °C and based on it, other gases will be go to the other tube to fill other cooling tube. That others two cooling tube will be cool down the gases of pyrolysis to 20°C. I will control that with thermometers.  Other gases which have not condescended to 20 degrees celsius are called Syngas and will be used to feed the pyrolytic reactor. If you compress it, you will sign a gas similar a GLP – Petroleum Liquid-Gas, much used in Brazil in cars. the Syngas is a methane, ethane and other gases made, if you don’t use it, burn it. Its dangerous to ambient if not burned, but if burned and pass into a car catalyzer its much more clean 🙂

Using the engine to run the grinder would be from a pto on the transmission.
But a seperate generator would be much better.

nice stuff, i have no real idea about the plastic 2 oil conversion but some other things come to mind: since the engine has enough horse power, there’s  possibly a way to run the shredder (and extrusion) whilst driving 🙂 a little complicated and dangerous to do but could work 🙂