NAIROBI: Kenya has begun test runs on Africa’s first plant to convert end of life plastic waste into commercial synthetic fuel oil.
The Kiambu County-based plant uses a conversion technology which involves heating the waste under controlled conditions to produce oil, similar to industrial diesel oil (IDO) and heavy fuel oil (HFO) used in power plants, industrial furnaces and boilers.
In Kenya, more than 24 million plastic bags are used monthly, according to the Green Belt Movement, half of which end up in the solid waste mainstream.
Plastic bags now constitute the biggest challenge to solid waste management in the country.
The Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation has provided about 46 per cent of the financing for the successful implementation of the plastic to fuel conversion project by Alternative Energy Systems Limited.
The funds have been used for construction of factory buildings and purchase and installation of machinery and equipment, which were sourced both from abroad and locally.
Alternative Energy Systems Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Kent said the project will be ready for commissioning in March.
“We have begun test runs for the machinery in preparation for official commissioning in early March, 2017,” he said.
“This technology will be transformational in how we handle plastics in this country and Kenya will be used as a benchmark on the continent.”
The technology has capacity to convert all types of plastics, including thin-gauge plastic waste that are below 30 microns, which other industries cannot recycle. – BERNAMA-NNN-KBC