Small scale pyrolysis plant for making fuel

Has anyone out there tried making a small scale pyrolysis plant for the really gross plastic and tires? I’ve been researching them a bit and it doesn’t seem too difficult, if anyone have experience with this process and has any pointers…


That is not a bad idea, i would steer clear of any and all types of plastic with Chlorine and Fluorine in them as they may get released as they heat up

This video gives a clear explanation on how it Plastic to Fuel could be done on a small scale (40/50kg of plastic at a time). I find this equipment neat and “simple” and I think the explanation of how it works is also great.


I came across these on YouTube about making biodiesel from waste plastic:

Another video looked like he was just basically using a combination of fractional and reflux distillation: Make your own Free Diesel from Waste Plastic! PART 1 - YouTube

We are a running multiple plants of Plastic Pyrolysis Plant in india since 3 years successfully.

.waste ash is used as bricks mixed with other material like clay etc,. and has demand in market.,

.oil used for fuel in cement and other metal industries.

— For more information go to

mercedes30808 your discord link is not working…

I’ve been on the energetic forum for some time, long before joining here.
The pyrolysis of plastic has been of interest to me due to the fuel produced being a valuble resource, for deprived communites.

Most things can be pyrolised, tires, waste oil and grease, and in our case waste plastic.  except PVC, PET, ABS.
PVC gives off clorine gas,  Which might be mitigated by the addition of an alkaline to the bubbler water.  Would need to be tested.
PET Leaves behind a residue in the pipes, reducing internal diameter, increasing pressure, and in extreme cases may cause explosion.
ABS is nasty and pollut’s the bubbler water, to the extent that it’s disposal becomes a problem.

If you want to discuss this, you can probably find me here.
I tend to have it running most of the time.

All the information is there. Read everything.
the video that started it for me.

I looked at doing this here in the Philippines.

Two MAJOR issues come up.


One is that the Koreans have offered this tech to any local government unit in the Philippines for 6 years.  ZERO have taken up the offer.


Second is that the Environmental regulations for plastic pyrolysis is going to be insane.  The very same people that are in this type of project will fight you tooth and nail to build this machine.  Most ly out of ignorance and opposition to “oil refineries”


However if it was done as a jungle refinery (google the jungle refineries in Nigeria and Indonesia)  it is totally doable.


Frankly I am still mystified as to why the plastic is not fed right back into existing oil refineries as feed stock.


Option two is to use as a substitute for asphalt tar in roads.  Especially now with the higher oil prices, the use of scrap plastic becomes a more viable option.

A useful document, from2017:

Plastic to Fuel Market Review

A good review of plants around the world.

How small is small scale? If we pursue this, I’ll keep it on a pallet.  There’s too many unknowns to scale up from there.  Toxicity of condensates is a huge concern for me.  That, and gasses that don’t get completely combusted.

Thanks for the tip! I’ve never heard of this plasma technique. Seems the way to deal with the most hazardous of wastes

I’m going to bench this project for a least a bit.  We’re switching gears for the short term: as we use them now, our charcoal retorts have lots of leftover heat we can readily use for large compression molding projects.   Still though, we’re collecting plenty of odd nuggets of plastic from our extrusion and injection experiments that would be the perfect feedstock.  One step at a time…

Interesting.  However, according to wikipedia the energy consumed by the plasma process can be larger than the energy reclaimed – so the entire carbon content of the waste will be vented to the atmosphere, and there will be no benefit in terms of generating electricity or collecting liquid fuel.

That is fine for compacting waste into a small space (as stated in the talk) – which explains why it is a useful process for dealing with the waste on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.   But for municipal waste it seems a bit pointless.  At least municipal incinerators generate electricity.  And pyrolysis allows for the collection of some fuel for future use.

Just another piece of interesting (I think) research, Plasma Pyrolysis.

How small is “small scale”?

See this 200-300 kg waste tyre plant – for tyres & plastic

The company in China that makes these normally sells 6/8/10 tonne per day machines.  The 200 kg plant is for “demo” purposes, for customers to gain experience of the process.  But would a unit of this size be useful in a small town?

@frogfall – Artisan scale…  yes!  I’m not at all interested in large scale incineration plants that require massive amounts of waste plastic to stay viable.  I think we can all agree reducing plastic is the first necessary step.
Our ‘wood oil’ (sometimes called bio-crude) represents about 20% of the total liquids yield from our biochar process.  The other 80% is this acidic, water soluble stuff commonly called wood vinegar, or pyroligneous acid, of which methanol is only a small part.    We don’t capture syngas, but it is burned to sustain the process, excess is burned with the energy captured in large hot water storage tanks.  We’ve played around with syngas in ICEngines, but it’s dirty, and very corrosive.The bio-crude oil is shelf stable when stored in air tight containers.  We’re burning crude made 4 years ago in a modified babington style gun burner.   This stuff is energy dense and can burn very hot… hot enough for cast iron.

Definitely want to keep separate processes.   And keep a plastic py unit small and experimental.  Extra oil would be fantastic. The plastic char can be used as ‘carbon negative’ material in concrete and plastic composites.  Or gasified for ICengines… we’ve had success with gasified charcoal in a lawnmower engine.  If you’re curious, I write about our work at Blog | Living Web Farms | We Build LIFE! .

I’d love to get a PP oven fired off of plastic py-oils.  The electricity needs of running this equipment has always bugged me.
Global collaboration would be amazing.  I’m confident we can do a small batch system.  Anything automated/continuous would be a worthy challenge.

@lwfbiochar Is your”wood oil” high in methanol? Or is it mostly a heavier petroleum-like liquor?  Do you capture any syngas, or is that consumed in the process?
I’m quite interested in finding out more about the biowaste to fuel possibilities – with biochar as an extra saleable byproduct.

Putting plastics into the mix will certainly raise the petroleum yield, but I’m guessing it might leave contaminated unsaleable “char”.  Maybe it is best to think of them as seperate processes.

Large scale plants are already being built (or at least being talked about). An example from the UK: 80 jobs could be created by new £20m plastic-to-fuel reprocessing plant in Grimsby.

A major new industrial investment could see 80 jobs created in Grimsby as a £20 million plastic-to-fuel reprocessing plant is brought forward.If given the go-ahead, the team intends to convert 65,000 tonnes of plastic into 69 million litres of fuel annually…

I can see that this sort of thing will be fine as a destination for waste collected by numerous cities – as city-scale collection can be massive. The operation might even pay cities for a dependable waste feed.  However, smaller towns will not have the volumes of waste that would be of interest to these processors – and the towns might be put in the situation of having to pay the processor to take waste plastic off their hands.
In that situation, local “artisan” processors might be viable.  Transport costs would be low, and batch sizes could be managable using relatively low cost facilities.  The products could possibly be marketable as heating oil, as it might be too expensive to meet the purity standards required for transport fuels at a sensible cost.
So yes, it still needs a lot more thinking…

@jl2018 @frogfall

Thanks, Sonik. Great link.  You too Frogfall.  JL, I’d love to be a part of a collab if you want to go for something more precious-plastics-scale…. We’re near Asheville NC.

Our biochar systems are batch pyrolysis units – we’ll heat woody biomass up to 950F over the course of 8 or so hours.  Our condensation process yields between 5 and 10 gallons of ‘wood oil’ / day.  I wouldn’t have a clue what to expect from these downcycled plastics as feedstocks.  Anyone who’s done these home scale projects know target temps?

Need to get those chemistry chops up – who knows how to figure what’s in these plastic pyrolysis gas condensates?   And is there a ‘generally regarded as safe’ place to start?

This seems like a great way to deal with the stuff that’s downcycled beyond it’s utility.   Reduce – Reuse – (Repair, Remanufacture) Recycle – RETORT!

Possibly useful document:


The report commissioned by the American Chemistry Council, and undertaken by Ocean Recovery Alliance, is intended as a discussion tool for a variety of local and international stakeholders including: municipal and national governments, corporations, community leaders, business associations, NGOs, project developers, and others interested in the management of end-of-life[1] plastic waste.  It aims to highlight the opportunities available for creating value from plastics, in concert with the regulatory, technical and logistical barriers that need to be overcome on the path towards the widespread commercial adoption of plastics-to-fuel (PTF) technology. The report can aid stakeholders by facilitating knowledge-sharing and regulatory convergence to expedite project deployment.  Not intended as a replacement to traditional recycling practices, but given the large percentage of plastic waste that bypass recycling programs for reasons such as lack of infrastructure, capacity, and technology, PTF is becoming a viable addition to a jurisdictions mix of municipal solid waste management (MSW) management strategies.

Thanks @jl2018 – I guess it isn’t going to be easy, or everyone would already be doing it 😉

Not going so well my friend, trying to get cost on made units and the price per machine seems to classified. Once I know the price then I’ll weigh up the cost of making it my self. My current idea is to make a small one to test and then go more into models that use shipping container perimeters. So far it seems to be profitable (taking a big hit on the front end… the by-products seems to marketable.) Still looking into it my dudes, some thing tells me this is going to be a long process.