There are a number of ways to produce hydrocarbons. Our nature in the form of plants and trees, are by far the most innovative way to produce hydrocarbons from sunlight, CO2 and water. But how do we preserve nature the best we can and utilise the hydrocarbons produced around us effectively?
We’ve used hydrocarbon energy generated by plants since mankind began. Burning a woodfire is the oldest known form of hydrocarbon energy conversion. A growing global population and limited use of fertile land for food production, makes us more aware of being careful using our land for energy production. Our current biofuel (biodiesel and ethanol for gasoline) production was predominantly based on crop production. Corn, sugarcane, soybeans, palm oil, rapeseed oil were the most known energy sources for our biofuels for decades. These are known as 1st generation biofuels.
This is now going to change!
Fertile land shouldn’t be used for our energy production. Food production and creating a healthy living environment should be the most important use of our land.
We’re finally finding ways to use the energy otherwise wasted, by rotting biological waste or decomposing hydrocarbons in our wastewater treatment plants. Energy production from waste, or so called 2nd generation biofuels, have to become the standard when it comes to producing sustainable fuels.
Can we do even more to reduce our fossil fuel use and use non-recyclable waste?
We do produce more and more waste which seems to have no value to us anymore. We’re stockpiling waste tyres and contaminating our nature and oceans with tons of waste plastic for example. New technologies even enable us now to keep our environments clean and reuse the energy captured in hard to recycle products we consider as waste.
Waste plastic and waste tire conversion to oil and fuel.
Recent developments enable hard to recycle plastic and tyres to be shredded and pyrolyzed in a dedicated reactor to form gas, oil, carbon black and steel wire. The produced gas is then being used to power the reactor. The pyrolysis oil can be converted and or separated into valuable sources of gasoline and diesel streams. Carbon black and steel wire are valuable by-products.
How does the pyrolysis work?
Pyrolysis is the breaking of organic chemical bonds in a closed heated system without oxygen. The reactor is heated up to 400 °C to break the hydrocarbon bonds of the large molecules and form smaller molecules in the fuel range. The pyrolytic gas being formed is reused in the system to fire the reactor. Pyrolytic oil vapor formed is liquified by passing through a relatively simple distillation process to separate the valuable fractions, light naphtha in the gasoline range and a heavier fraction in the diesel fuel range.