PLASTIC WASTE TO CLEAN ENERGY

PATERSON ENERGY

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land

Overview

Traditional Thermochemical depolymerization (TCD) is a technique used in the shredding of rubber tires, basically, it is a chemical breakdown of plastic into oil. Mrs. Vidhya worked with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, and Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and technology to develop and refine the TCD process suit to convert plastics to fuel oil. Thermochemical depolymerization (TCD) is a process in which plastic waste has been heated to a high temperature in the absence of oxygen to break it down to three basic forms of vapor and char. The vapor condenses into fuel oil by a condensation process. Paterson collects the waste from the Chennai city corporation and shredded into smaller pieces and passes it to the reactor where the TCD process happens at an elevated temperature of about 430 degrees Celsius to 500 degrees Celsius in the absence of oxygen. The plastics will convert into vapor and condensed into Pyro oil. In this process, there are a few by-products such as Methane, Carbon dioxide, and Carbon Char that are sold to industries using these materials.

Authors

SRINATH SRIKANTHAN

SRINATH SRIKANTHAN

Ajay yadav

Ajay yadav

School

TIAS School for Business and Society

TIAS School for Business and Society

Professor

Mirjam Minderman

Mirjam Minderman

Innovation

Thermochemical Depolymerization is a process of converting all kinds of plastics to fuel oil. This process was traditionally used for tire reprocessing, Mrs. Vidya and a team of young professionals modified this process to be suitable for all kinds of plastics.

PLASTIC WASTE TO CLEAN ENERGY

Inspiration

The thought of the earth as a protagonist crying for help from poisoning with plastic waste both on land and on the sea. Yet, plastics were some breakthrough invention decades ago and have a wide range of benefits even today.

“Plastic is not the problem, but its indiscriminate and mindless disposal by the people is a cause for concern. Uncollected plastic waste being dumped in the environment is increasing by the day and there is still no alternative to plastics used in industries for packaging products from food grains to cars", says Vidhya Amarnath.

Worldwide research estimates that over a 100 Million Mt of plastics are dumped into the ocean every year. If this trend continues, it is estimated that by the year 2050 up to 12 Billion Mt of plastics will have been dumped on landfills and in oceans. Mrs. Vidya has realized that it is essential to avoid the dumping of plastic waste into water and incinerated plastic waste into landfills to safeguard the ecosystem. She believed “only tiny drops can make an ocean” and then came the eureka moment in her life. She decided to take a tiny first step as a social entrepreneur. With her idea of starting a company that converts plastic waste into energy with the dual benefit of not only eliminating plastic waste but also offering alternative fuel and limiting the use of fossil fuel.

Overall impact

The general impact of Paterson energy greatly promotes the circular economy concept in plastic usage.

“Recycling only postpones the problem of disposal and might be good for a short run while this process of depolymerization closes the loop,” says Vidya Amarnath.

Paterson Energy, headquartered in Chennai, India, is a waste-to-energy start-up company with a processing capacity of 3-20 tons per day. The plastic processed by the plant is zero discharge and zero effluent. The oil extracted from the process can be used for industries and diesel engines which is 95% pure. The processed oil contains a very minimal amount of Sulphur, which is less harmful to the environment when used by industries. From a long term perspective, Paterson Energy will contribute to community benefits through a stable working environment and economic profit.

Business benefit

VERTE-X, a diesel variant oil from plastic depolymerization, can be used in multiple applications such as diesel generators, cement kilns, furnaces, boilers, and any plant requiring heat or electricity. The company has processed over 500 tons of plastic and has also received interest in the fuel from several companies like Dalmia cement and Shell. The state of the art facility with SCADA and PLC controlled plant is almost self-sufficient by using the by-product to support its energy requirements for its operations. The operations can be highly scalable and have a great demand in many industries. Paterson Energy is helping firms and organizations like ITC, Nissan, Hyundai, and government bodies like Mathura Municipal Corporation and Chennai Municipal Corporation, to reach the EPR goals (Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) which is mandated by the Government of India). The company has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Berlin University of Technology for research and development on plastic technologies. Locally, they have signed an MoU with SSN University and Vellore Institute of Technology for research and development purposes.

Social and environmental benefit

Paterson Energy’s mission is to create profit with a purpose and the purpose here is to effectively tackle the plastic waste problem. The circular economy startup company brings in an effective recycling engine that gobbles up waste plastic and extinguishes that plastic from the society and brings it back in the form of clean energy.

“Banning of single-use plastic is happening at [the] retail front, not [the] corporate front and we need to mitigate the problem in the start [and] not wait till the end for it to happen and react. The onus is on the people and corporation[s] to support the initiative towards plastic recycling” says Vidya Amarnath.

Reducing the plastic waste in landfills effectively reduces the methane release to the atmosphere. Gradually, Paterson’s Energy will be a key player in reducing the plastics in the ocean and help to retain the ecosystem. In recent times, social awareness has increased and corporations are more proactive in supporting the initiative of transforming plastic waste into clean energy. Vidya Amarnath states: "We as a company believe in the words of Robert Swan: 'The greatest threat to the planet is the belief that someone else will save it'. We took our first step to save the planet."

Interview

Mrs, Vidya Amarnath, Director

Photo of interviewee

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PATERSON ENERGY

PATERSON ENERGY

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, IN

Business Website: http://patersonenergy.com/

Year Founded: 2014

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Patterson Energy Ltd. transforms plastic waste into a high-grade diesel variant oil of industrial fuel, founded by Mrs. Vidya Amaranth and co-founder Maitreyan Amarnath. Mrs. Vidya, an ambitious woman determined to contribute towards the upcoming trend of the circular economy, strongly believed recycling is not the solution to the problems of plastic waste, because recycling can be done for one or two times ending up heavily compromising on quality. Paterson Energy was founded in the year 2014 at Sriperumbudur near Chennai in Tamilnadu and in 2019 a second plant was established in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, as a part of 'swachh bharat abhiyan' or Clean India mission, a government of India initiative. Paterson energy uses the technique of Thermo-chemical de-polymerization (TCD) to convert plastic waste into high-grade diesel variant oil which can be used as a replacement of conventional fuel in industries. TCD process is a waste-to-energy technology with an ability to handle almost all kinds of plastic waste, including single-use plastics in the form of packaging material. Paterson energy supports the industry by supplying sustainable fuel oil at a significantly lower price of approximately 25 percent less than traditional fuel oil available.