Giving old plastic

a new future

The global issue

Plastics have become the ubiquitous workhorse material of the modern economy – combining unrivalled functional properties with low cost.

The growth of plastics production since 1950 has significantly outpaced any other manufactured material. Since plastic was invented in 1907, it has helped make many aspects of our everyday lives easier, cheaper and more convenient.

Yet the same properties that make plastics so versatile – durability and resistance to degradation – also make them difficult or impossible for nature to assimilate. Three quarters of the 8 billion tonnes of plastic ever produced is now waste.

Packaging is the single largest plastics application, accounting for 35% of production. However, the shift from reusable to single-use containers means packaging actually accounts for an even bigger 47% of plastic waste.

Plastic pollution has become one of the major environmental challenges of our time. Solving the problem is far more complex than simply introducing a ban on single-use plastic.

Growth of plastic production
(World Economic Forum, 2016)

No harmful emissions – no waste

Currently the majority of waste plastic is sent to landfill or incinerated. Polyolefin soft plastics, Trifol’s targeted waste plastics stream, are the most notoriously difficult plastics to recycle.

Trifol has developed its own unique pyrolysis process to specifically target waxes as an output. Waxes have a diverse range of end-markets with high commercial opportunities and returns where Trifol has established intellectual property protection.

Since establishment in 2014 Trifol has worked closely with Queen’s University Belfast, where a pilot plant was built and then operated  through 2016 to develop proof of concept and commence customer engagement.

This pilot plant was re‐established in Trifol’s new commercial facility in Portlaoise June 2018 to tailor products for customer testing and refinement. Pilot studies are ongoing as we move into commercial production. Trifol is in collaboration with both Queens University Belfast and the University of Limerick (UL)commenced in 2019 to support Trifol on the continual product and yield enhancement and analytical program. Both universities bring extensive pyrolysis experience and capabilities.

Trifol plant

A number of factors including feedstock selection, reaction temperature and residence time within the pyrolysis process determines the mix and specification of the output into the following product groups:

  • Waxes – industrial grade waxes that are a sustainable replacement to crude oil derived wax.
  • Waxes as Ingredients for Synthetic Lubricants
  • Liquid by-products: Diesel/Kerosene and Naphtha

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Trifol filed and published four grants with the UK Intellectual Property Office in 2016 and 2017. The applications were fast-tracked based on being ‘environmentally beneficial’. These patents have now been granted.

The four patents were published by the European Patent Office (EPO) on 5th of December 2018. Trifol claims in relation to the four patents were also filed in December 2018 in the USA.

Products and market

Wax shavings

Waxes

  • Wax applications include: candles, textiles, paints, packaging, electronics, inks and coatings, rubber, pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics

The wax market is worth $8.1bn and growing at 4.6% p.a (Inkwood)

Read more…

Wax is traditionally a by-product of Group I Lubricant production from crude oil, which are now being displaced in the market by higher performing synthetic lubricants.

  • Significant crude‐based lubricant capacity continues to be removed from the western markets (US + EUR) directly removing paraffin wax supply (accounts for ~70% of all waxes)

US annual demand is circa 1.4m tonnes which is serviced 40-45% by imports (majority from China).

  • Similar situation in Europe as older Group I lubricant oriented facilities close down
  • Trifol’s customers include the wax blenders and formulators who blend waxes tailored to multiple end market applications
Lubricants

Lubricants

  • Trifol waxes can be used as a feedstock for synthetic lubricants base oils where there is a significant global trend towards high-performance synthetic lubricants
  • Synthetic lubricants provide superior mechanical and chemical properties therefore lesser engine wear and tear, superior fuel efficiency and environmental performance
  • According to industry experts, demand for synthetic lubricants exceeds 10% per annum and is in a significant short supply position
Read more…
  • Demand driven by OEM first-fill and warranty validity require synthetic lubricant for mass market vehicles (e.g. Toyota, Honda, Fiat, Mercedes)
  • Synthetic lubricants from recycled plastic provide higher quality, stability and performance than mineral-only lubricants
  • BP estimate that the global car fleet will double to 1.8 billion by 2035, driving demand for synthetic lubricants as there are further demands for fuel efficiency and lower emissions in combustion engine vehicles
  • Trifol’s customers include the major lubricant producers
Fuel by-product

Fuel by-products

Trifol will generate liquids such as naphtha and diesel as by‐products of its process. The Naptha is a suitable feedstock for a steam cracker to remake plastic monomers Ethylene and Propylene, fully closing the loop on plastic recycling.

Feedstocks

Waste plastic

  • Waste plastic is a major environmental hot topic, due to the lack of commercial recycling technologies to prevent the majority of plastic waste entering the land, sea or air (landfill, leakage, incineration).
  • In the EU alone, a region with advanced waste infrastructure and regulation, of the 27M+ tonnes of consumer waste plastic collected in 2016, only 31%was recycled (42% was incinerated and 27% to landfill) [Source: Plastics Europe 2018] resulting in 18.7 million tonnes of plastic waste released into the environment in one year alone.
  • In January 2018, the EU launched the first Europe-wide strategy for waste plastics Link. The EU strategy is not to reduce the production of plastics (forecasted to double by 2050), but to focus on collecting, sorting and recycling of plastic waste to create a circular economy.
  • Trifol technology can process polyethylene (HD, LD, LLD) and polypropylene film (PP) and will procure directly and indirectly (via WMOs) from industrial and commercial sources.
  • The Trifol process has zero emission, residue and contributes a ~30% reduction in GHG.
Read more…

Feedstock Suppliers by Category

  • Waste management operators
  • Commercial customers
  • Farm plastics

Feedstock specification

Trifol has set a tight specification for suitable waste plastics. At present, specific plastic waste products are excluded (i.e. PET, PVC and Nylon) with all other plastics suitable for conversion to fuel / gas products. Demand for oil for plastic production makes up 6% of total oil supply, to create 350 million tonnes of plastic per annum. The oil used is the same amount used by the entire aviation sector (McArthur, 2017). Plastic compounders will use this output to create seven different branded and distinct plastic products. These are set out in the following schematic:

Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • Soda bottles
  • Water bottles
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Mouthwash bottles
  • Peanut butter jars
High Density Polyethylene
  • Milk, water, and
    juice jugs
  • Detergent bottles
  • Yoghurt and
    margarine tubs
  • Grocery bags
Vinyl
  • Clear food packaging
Low Density Polyethylene
  • Bread bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Squeezable bottles (mustard, honey)
Polypropylene
  • Ketchup bottles
  • Yoghurt and
    margarine tubs
Polystyrene
  • Meat trays
  • Egg cartons
  • Cups and plates
Other
  • Ketchup
  • 3 and 5 gallon
    water bottles
  • Some juice bottles

The Trifol process will target all plastic products within categories numbers 2,4 and 5.

In summary, Trifol can convert the following End-of-Life Plastics into commercial waxes, ingredients for the production of synthetic lubricants, and liquid fuels as a by-product:

This is your chance to invest or partner with us – and join the Trifol mission to give old plastic a new future.