Our foundation and origin of all technologies is research and development.
Our laboratory manager and doctor of chemistry, Dr. rer. nat. Albert Paparo, will show you our linear plastic-to-oil plant. The result is high-quality, low-sulfur product oil.
Today, there is an island of plastic floating in the world’s oceans four times the size of Germany. From such mixed plastic waste, we process high-quality product oil with our recycling system – almost CO₂-neutral.
A great deal of knowledge and technology is needed to ensure that this works smoothly and the systems run smoothly.
In our thermolysis process, up to 90 percent of the chemical energy of the plastic waste is retained.
The process starts by feeding the shredded plastic into the buffer box. There we can hold and weigh 21 cubic meters of material, which is very important for balancing and for the further process. The material then enters the plasticizer. Here, by means of two counter-rotating “screws”, everything is heated and kneaded into a “dough”. This preheated material then enters an even hotter part, through a valve into the extruder. This extruder liquefies the material so that it enters the reactor tube.
The actual process takes place in this reactor tube, where the plastic is heated up to 600 degrees. Thermolysis occurs at these temperatures. This is a chemical reaction where long hydrocarbon chains – because plastics are nothing else – are “chopped” into shorter pieces. These shorter hydrocarbon molecules are waxy, liquid or gaseous, depending on the chain length. Waxes or additives such as dyes are collected via the discharge.
The thermolysis oils are condensed in the first stage in high-temperature condensation at up to 80 degrees Celsius. This material can be discharged and collected later. Another condensation stage takes place at up to 10 degrees Celsius. This material is also collected and made available. Everything that has not condensed out up to 10 degrees Celsius passes through a water bubbler into the gas discharge. This gas can be used for energy recovery.
Dr. rer. nat. Albert Paparo studied chemistry in his hometown Aachen. He wrote his master’s thesis on the activation of carbon dioxide at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) under the supervision of Professor Kit Cummins and his doctoral thesis at RWTH Aachen University under Professor Jun Okuda.
His intuition, knowledge and experience are invaluable to enespa. In the laboratory, he tests the quality of the product oil and prepares accurate documentation of the blend and composition.
As laboratory manager, it is his task to scientifically accompany and document the processes and to actively contribute to their improvement.
Watch the film
Take a look at our video and see how we turn mixed plastic waste into recycling using a plasticizer, extruder and thermolysis, and how we generate a lot of value.