Recycling isn’t only about making an impact on waste management and rapidly rising carbon emission levels, it’s about making a brighter future for generations to come by making long-lasting solutions to right centuries of wrongs. Many times the solutions that are out there are either under-marketed or they carry a huge price tag, the financial burden of which most cities are not willing to bear even for such a noble cause. Luckily, companies like PAR (Passionate About Recycling) exist to bridge the gap between the scientists and engineers developing recycling solutions and the areas most in need of them. Gerard Smith, CFO and Co-founder of PAR, said, “We open the doors for the development companies in order to take their solutions to the next level.”
PAR’s two pet projects at the moment have to do with recycling plastics (mostly in the form of disused tires) and cut and contaminated plasterboards like you would see being used in construction projects. The IPBN sat down for a socially-distanced chat with Mr. Smith to better understand how his company contributes to a greener Earth in these areas.
“We can now recycle plastic and tires and turn them into petrol, diesel, hydrocarbon, and biomass fuel,” says Smith. “We are able to take out the wires that are integrated into plastic tires by way of cabling and sell the resulted output back to the tire companies.” The technology here goes one step farther than other recycling solutions, as the conversion of these products does not stop at crude oil, but it eliminates the crude part by virtue of a refining process called TCC (Thermo-Catalytic Cracking). "There is no need for further, as all is done as a one-stop-shop approach," adds Smith.
The TCC process of thermal catalytic cracking converts plastic waste, municipal waste, biomass, or a combination of materials to produce a high-grade synthetic fuel suitable for diesel engines, such as power generators and ships. TCC systems generate no emissions from their technology, as all of the above is carried out in a Carbon Neutral method further contributing to the environmental win.
Austria’s Hohere Technische Bundeslehranstait Eisenstadt compared PAR’s synthetic TCC Diesel (made from municipal waste, mixed plastics, and straw) to fossil fuel and found that “the fuel tested did not show serious differences in torque and power of the test engine compared to diesel.” Now that’s something to get revved up about!
The challenge with plastics recycling before now has been the need to segregate plastic types prior to reprocessing. Then, there's the cleaning process, which is very labor-intensive. Mixing the different types together produces a product unfit for further processing. PAR removes this challenge by converting all waste streams, including contaminated, mixed, and even medical waste into a valuable biofuel material thereby closing the loop.
Another PAR initiative was conceived due to the fact that it is illegal to put either old or new plasterboards into the ground. PAR's partners' technology allows them to recycle the boards back into their original ingredients to make new plasterboards that can be used in new construction projects. According to Smith, “We’re the only one that does that.”
A further initiative that PAR intends to promote, is the ability to take sewage sludge and recycle it into fertilizer instead of just dumping it into the sea. There is currently a science and tech company working on this process. “Me and the lads feel that if we can make even the smallest contribution to the next generation, we are happy. I didn’t even think twice about sponsoring the IPBN Sustainability Conference.” Smith says.
Registration is still open for the St. Patrick's Day Sustainability Conference from March 16 - 18. Click here to join the IPBN and Mr. Smith as we fight the good fight.