Mrs Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley has made an official visit to a constituency business engaged in a unique plastic waste-2-oil process.
QM Recycled Energy (QMRE) based in Fawkham, Kent, utilises a technology known as thermolysis - a form of pyrolysis to turn plastic waste back into the oil it was originally made from and, using an additional process, turns the oil back into renewable plastic.
Throughout the world, only around 10% of end-of-life plastic is properly recycled. The vast majority – the remaining 90% or so – is dealt with by a combination of landfill, incineration or is lost into the environment by seepage into land and waterways.
This explains why a vast tsunami of plastic waste pollution poses so many environmental problems. QMRE is addressing those problems with a plan to set up a nationwide network of plastic waste-2-oil processing depots.
The site at Fawkham is the company’s test, development and demonstration unit aimed at showcasing the system to a wide range of potential customers including supermarket groups, recycling operators, retail parks, industrial parks, food production companies, anaerobic digestion, the farming industry, commercial businesses, the NHS and local authorities amongst others.
Mrs Trott saw how the waste plastic is cleaned and size-reduced and fed into what is, in effect, a thermal kettle, which is heated to around 450 degrees.
At this heat level the thermolysis reaction occurs – breaking down the long plastic hydrocarbon chains - producing gas and oil which enter a separator. The liquid element enters the condenser and cools as liquid oil. The gas enters the purification system and is cleaned and combusted without entering the atmosphere to provide power for the plant.
The synthetic Quel-oil is created is and stored in tanks. The residual element of carbon ash created as a result of the process is packaged. A new synthetic oil - syncrude - (QMRE’s brand ‘Quel’) is created and can then be sent to plastic cracking factories where it is turned into new and renewable plastic, reducing the need for waste plastic to be endlessly shifted and reducing the negative carbon footprint it creates.
Mrs Trott was particularly pleased that such important work was being developed in her Sevenoaks and Swanley constituency.
She commented, “I have been so impressed today to see first-hand how QMRE are recycling plastic back into oil and then back to renewable plastic. Over the last year I have spoken to so many constituents – particularly young people and pupils in our local primary schools – who are concerned about the environmental impact of plastic waste, and it is great to know of a potential solution right here on our doorstep”.
Mrs Trott met QMRE co-founders Tim StClair-Pearce and Dave Garbett together with chairman Paul McMenemy.
Tim StClair-Pearce believes the national deployment of this solution will aid the circular economy, allow the continued use of plastic for what it is good for and vastly reduce the need to use virgin polymers for all future generations. Tim commented on Mrs Trott’s visit, “With the huge environmental problems caused by plastic pollution it is important that the UK parliament is aware that there are solutions out there. Mrs Trott’s visit to our operation means that QMRE’s efforts are recognised.” ENDS