GAIL wants waste plastic-to-fuel technology

Vol 18, PW 7 (20 Nov 14) Midstream & Downstream

In a country where people think nothing of littering the streets and countryside with used plastic bags one can only wish GAIL the best of luck in its initiative to convert this unpleasant eyesore to petrol, diesel and fuel oil.

On a directive from the oil ministry GAIL on November 7 invited EoIs from companies interested in licensing their plastic-to-fuel conversion technology for facilities in four cities including Kanpur and Indore with a November 30 submission deadline. India generates 5.6m tonnes of waste plastic annually.

Plastic to fuel conversion technology is relatively new in India, but used successfully in Germany, Japan and the US. “The process is completely environment friendly,” says Mahesh Merchant, director of Bangalore-based MK Aromatics.

“Almost 100% of plastic can be converted to fuel.” MK Aromatics was awarded a contract by Goa state authorities in September (2014) to set up a plastic to fuel conversion facility in North Goa and another at the Sonsoddo garbage dump in South Goa.

Sadanand Dixit, director of Mumbai-based Plasma Energy, says a litre of fuel from waste plastic costs around Rs32 to produce and can be sold at Rs40. Dixit adds a commercially viable facility should process around three tonnes/day plastic, cost Rs 1cr to build, with a three-year payback period while an automatic facility processing five tonnes/day would cost around Rs2cr to build with a 2 ½ year payback period.