- Vadxx Energy will be opening a $20 million plastic-to-oil facility in Akron, OH next month. The plant aims to gradually increase production over the summer and reach its 25,000 ton annual capacity by next year.
- The facility will use a continuous-feed thermodynamic depolymerization process to create a product called EcoFuel. Vadxx will produce both diesel and naphtha fuels.
- Vadxx will source plastics from throughout the region and doesn't currently plan to pay for any material. It hopes to expand beyond Akron once the facility is successfully operating at full capacity.
The plastic-to-oil field is being closely watched as an alternative to landfilling or combustion for plastics that are hard to recycle, but the technology has yet to fully prove itself. When oil prices were higher it seemed like a particularly lucrative idea, but now that they've dropped steeply it may be hard for some companies to make the model work. Vadxx Energy is aware of this shift and said it won't be an issue.
"We have been very disciplined to make the economics of this not just compare with but be better than incremental fuel supplies coming from traditional sources," Vadxx CEO Jim Garrett told Resource Recycling.
Regardless of what happens with oil prices, the plastic-to-oil market seems to be gaining momentum and is projected to grow further in coming years. According to a recent report from Transparency Market Research, Europe currently has the largest market for this technology and the U.S. is expected to become a leader in the field as well. Agilyx Corporation has notably partnered with Waste Management in Oregon to test out its own concept in recent years.