NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Imagine turning scraps of plastic into usable fuels. Some creative minds are making the idea into a reality, and it's happening right in Niagara Falls.
Currently, some 30 million tons of waste plastic in the U.S. goes to landfills. Plastic is made from oil, and now a company called J.B.I. based in Niagara Falls has found a way to convert the plastic back to oil.
This is no ordinary ribbon cutting. It may very well be the inauguration of a new era that converts waste plastic, like packaging from meat plants and scrap from auto factories, to usable gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, and natural gas.
JBI President and CEO John Bordynuik said, "The fuel reproduces cleaner than the fuels currently found in industry, due to the fact that plastics is already a highly refined hydrocarbon."
Plastic items we're all familiar with at home can become raw material for the process. The plastic is shredded first and then heated up into a gas. The processor, through a special catalyst, cracks the hydrocarbon chains in the plastic and separates out usable fuel.
"There's your fuel there That's it. This is heating oil right here. This is Number 2 Spec Fuel Oil," said Bordynuik.
It gets filtered and then pumped right into a tanker truck outside the plant. A factory in Canada will use the product to make plastic pipes. Niagara Falls is hoping the plastics-to-oil manufacturing process will expand and create more green jobs.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "Every waste hauler in the United States, Canada, and a lot of other places, is going to have one of these units located on site, because now they can take plastic they would otherwise pay to landfill, and they can convert it into fuel to run their vehicles."
The creative development for the process started in this lab less than two years ago. A couple of pints of oil could be produced a day. The current plant produces 109 barrels a day. In two more years, the goal is to produce 20,000 barrels a day, and there's no shortage of plastic.
Bordynuik said, "We received 18 pallets of these alone last week. About 40,000 pounds we received. That's a lot of plastic, but to us, it's a lot of fuel. This is 109 barrels of fuel. 4,400 gallons of diesel."
The natural gas produced is used to heat and run the process. JBI created 40 green jobs to run the plant.
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