Advancing Sustainability of Process Industries through Digital and Circular Water Use Innovations
Waste to fuel transformation setup
Background and state of the art
JEMS is developing and selling waste-to-fuel transformer plants (SynDi Technology). These plants are transforming hydrocarbon-based waste into a high-quality synthetic diesel, using a chemical-catalytic de-polymerization (CDP) process that runs on low temperature and low- pressure; therefore, no harmful gases (like dioxins or furans) are produced as by-products. Organic waste that can be used as input includes wood, paper, waste fuel & oil, plastics, textile, rubber, agricultural residues, weed, yard trimmings, cultivated plants, food leftovers, coal, crude oil, and others. Besides synthetic diesel, CO2, sludge and distilled water, which can be reused for industrial purposes, are produced as by products. Due to the nature of these process (using waste as input and producing potentially valuable by products – including water), the JEMS plant in Ljubljana will be the basis for the development of circular symbiotic scenarios.
Actions and expected results
Currently, the plant operates adopting a conventional waste management approach, where traditional waste managers are collecting, processing and preparing waste fractions for the waste to fuel transformation and the energy company is mixing synthetic diesel (treated as renewable source) with fossil diesel. However, there are plenty of opportunities that can be explored in the region. Regarding the inlet stream, this involves the use of industrial waste from neighbouring industries, such as process oil, mixed plastics, wax and rubber that cannot be recycled, as well as the use of residual municipal waste from the Municipality of Lasko and agricultural waste from the local farmers. It has been estimated that the annual “waste” requirements of the SynDi plant exceed 5300 tonnes per year. Regarding, the water stream, distilled water is produced from the SynDi plant as a result of humid waste. This water is appropriate for industrial use and therefore could be poured back to the local industrial ecosystem. It is estimated the total amount produced annually can exceed 700,000 litres per year. One complete symbiotic value chain has been already identified between the SynDi plant and a local company (Fragmat – a leading provider of a wide product range of thermal insulation, waterproofing, radiant heating and packaging). The company will use the distilled water as well as the sludge (also by product of SynDi) and will provide to the plant approximately 100 tonnes of waste annually. However, since the total waste requirements are much higher and there is scope for further collaboration, all different scenarios will be explored in the frame of the AquaSPICE project.
For the already identified waste reuse scenario, the plant would be more efficient if the water flow could be managed starting by measuring input material humidity, optimizing the process parameters and characterizing the distilled water. For new scenarios, the ambition is for SynDi to play a critical role between the industry and agriculture in a circular economy model, by processing residual, agriculture and industry waste and providing distilled water back to the chains.