Jet fuel production from waste plastics

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Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) recently published a paper in the Journal Advanced Energy in which they describe a research study they conducted turning waste plastics to jet fuel through catalytic pyrolysis with activated carbons.

WSU’s Dr. Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering. “This is a very good, and relatively simple, way to recycle these plastics.”

How it works

In the experiment, Lei and colleagues tested low-density polyethylene and mixed a variety of waste plastic products, like water bottles, milk bottles, and plastic bags, and ground them down to around three millimeters, or about the size of a grain of rice.

The plastic granules were then placed on top of activated carbon in a tube reactor at a high temperature, ranging from 430 degree Celsius to 571 degrees Celsius. The carbon is a catalyst; a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction.

“Plastic is hard to break down,” Lei said. “You have to add a catalyst to help break the chemical bonds. There is a lot of hydrogen in plastics, which is a key component in fuel.”

Once the carbon catalyst has done its work, it can be separated out and re-used on the next batch of waste plastic conversion. The catalyst can also be regenerated after losing its activity.

After testing several different catalysts at different temperatures, the best result they had produced a mixture of 85 percent jet fuel and 15 percent diesel fuel.

Environmental impact

If operated at a commercial scale, the process would go a long way to addressing the world’s plastic waste problems. Not only would this new process reduce that waste, very little of what is produced is wasted.

The pyrolysis process itself is considered to have low environmental impacts as it does not involve the combustion of plastic which subsequently requires the air pollutants to be treated.

“We can recover almost 100 percent of the energy from the plastic we tested,” Lei said. “The fuel is very good quality, and the byproduct gasses produced are high quality and useful as well.”

He also said the method for this process is easily scalable. It could work at a large facility or even on farms, where farmers could turn plastic waste into diesel.

“You have to separate the resulting product to get jet fuel,” Lei said. “If you don’t separate it, then it’s all diesel fuel.”

This work was funded under program initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

New global rules curb unrestricted plastic waste exports

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Governments at the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the Basel Convention recently acted to restrict plastic waste exports by requiring countries to obtain prior informed consent before exporting contaminated or mixed plastic waste. A deluge of plastic waste exports from developed countries has polluted developing countries in Southeast Asia after China closed the door to waste imports in 2018.

Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention

“With this amendment, many developing countries will, for the first time, have information about plastic wastes entering their country and be empowered to refuse plastic waste dumping,” said Dr. Sara Brosché, IPEN Science Advisor. “For far too long developed countries like the US and Canada have been exporting their mixed toxic plastic wastes to developing Asian countries claiming it would be recycled in the receiving country. Instead, much of this contaminated mixed waste cannot be recycled and is instead dumped or burned, or finds its way into the ocean.”

The unanimously adopted actions on plastic wastes include:

  • Removing or reducing the use of hazardous chemicals in plastics production and at any subsequent stage of their life cycle.
  • Setting of specific collection targets and obligations for plastics producers to cover the costs of waste management and clean-up.
  • Preventing and minimizing the generation of plastic waste, including through increasing the durability, reusability and recyclability of plastic products.
  • Significant reduction of single-use plastic products.

A group of cured resins and fluorinated polymers was not included in the requirement of prior informed consent, which means they can be freely traded without notification.

The theme of the meetings was “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. The meetings, attended by about 1,400 participants, from 180 countries, adopted 73 decisions.

Waste to Energy Market Forecast 2019-2029

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Visiongain, a business intelligence provider based in London, UK, recently published a report entitled Waste to Energy Market Forecast 2019-2029.   In the report, the global waste-to-energy (WtE) market is forecast to experience capital expenditure of $16.4 billion in 2019.

The interest in WtE is growing as an option for sustainable waste management practices. Population and waste growth will be major drivers for the development of WtE technology, especially in developing countries. During the last several years, increased waste generation and narrowed prospects for landfill have brought strong growth prospects for the WtE industry.

Not only is the world population growing, but it is also becoming increasingly more urban. This leads to greater levels of waste being generated globally, in more concentrated levels and in close proximity to large urban areas. These issues are focusing more attention on waste management frameworks, with increased interest in alternatives to landfill. As a result, municipalities worldwide are considering the functionality of WtE plants to help deal with mounting waste being generated.

Today, waste-to-energy projects based on combustion technologies are highly efficient power plants that utilize solid waste as their fuel as opposed to oil, coal or natural gas. Far better than burning up energy to search, recover, process and convey the fuel from some distant source, waste-to-energy technology finds worth in what others consider garbage.

With reference to this report, waste-to-energy (WtE) facilities are considered as plants using municipal solid waste (MSW) as a primary fuel source for energy production. This includes direct combustion and advanced thermal, but not biological processes. The report covers the CAPEX spending of new and upgraded WtE plants globally. The report also forecasts MSW-processing capacity for global, regional and national markets from 2019-2029.

The report will answer questions such as:
• What are the prospects for the overall waste-to-energy industry?
• Where are the major investments occurring?
• Who are the key players in the waste-to-energy industry?
• What are the market dynamics underpinning the sector?
• How consolidated is the sector amongst the large industry players?

The report provides detailed profiles and analysis of 13 leading companies operating within the waste-to-energy market including Covanta, Suez Environment, Veolia Environmental, Wheelabrator, and others.

Covanta WTE Facility, Region of Durham, Ontario

The study reveals where companies are investing in waste-to-energy and how much waste-processing capacity from WtE is expected. Analysis of three regional markets, national markets plus analysis of many more countries is included in the report. There is a section that forecasts the Canadian Waste-to-Energy market.

The independent 270-page report includes 237 tables and figures examining the waste-to-energy market space. It also includes municipal waste processing capacity forecasts from 2019 to 2029.

Survey suggests some Ontario Municipalities are open to hosting a landfill

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A recent survey of municipal politicians and Chief Administration Officers commissioned by a coalition of over 70 Ontario municipalities has found that four in ten municipalities are open to the idea of acting as a host to a new landfill.

The coalition was formed to lobby the Ontario government into allowing more municipal control on the approval process for landfills in the Province. The coalition calls itself the Demand the Right Coalition of Ontario Municipalities. It commissioned Public Square Research to conduct the survey.

The survey involved a random selection process, with 325 participants. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to a list of over 1,700 Mayors, Reeves, Councillors and chief administrators in Ontario.

Currently in Ontario, a private sector company is required to go through an environmental assessment process and then a technical environmental approval process before being permitted to develop a landfill site. Both of the processes are managed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP). No municipal approval is required.

The current timeline for approval for a new landfill in Ontario is anywhere from five to ten years. Extensive public consultation is required as part of the process as is discussions with municipal government officials. Many private sector proponents would likely see another level of government approval for landfill development as an added time and cost burden with very limited environmental benefit.

In November 2018, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks published its Made-in-Ontario Environmental Plan. The plan included a proposal to provide municipalities with the right to approve new landfills. Further details of the proposed change were released for public comment in the follow-up Discussion Paper on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities, published in March 2019.

The results of the survey found that the chief concerns of municipal leaders for new landfill approvals are environmental (27%), site location (19%), and financial considerations (15%). Other issues of importance included resident opinion (9%), odour controls (9%), and public safety (8%).

“We can now confirm that municipal approval will improve landfill operations, not eliminate them,” said Ted Comiskey, Mayor of Ingersoll and Chair of the Demand the Right Coalition. “By placing municipal governments on a level playing field with private waste management companies, councils and staff can negotiate for enhanced environmental protections, better site selections, and improved financial considerations on costs such as tipping fees and municipal services.”

Comiskey said, “Municipalities want the right to say yes or no, as we do with casinos, cannabis stores, and nuclear waste sites. This will be good for all concerned, as it means that communities will be given real choices. There will also be a cost impact on waste management. If the cost of landfill goes up, there will be a financial incentive for everyone to reduce their waste. Currently, there is none.”

70 Ontario municipalities are members of the Demand the Right Coalition

 

B.C. Municipality considering N.S. waste technology

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Nova Scotia-based Sustane Technologies is being considered as the waste management solution provider for The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) in British Columbia.

As reported in the Cowichan Valley Citizen, The CVRD has decided to participate in an initiative to monitor and study how the new and innovative Sustane Technologies Waste Management facility, located in Chester, Nova Scotia, deals with its waste.

The CVRD has a population of 83,739 residents that reside in four unique municipalities It covers a land area of 3,473.12 km2 on the east coast of Vancouver Island and includes several Gulf Islands, including Thetis, Kuper, and Valdes.

The CVRD is governed by a 15 member board comprised of appointed directors from four municipalities, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan (North Cowichan has three appointees based upon population) and an elected director from each of the nine electoral areas.

Sustane Technologies claims to have developed a set of disruptive separation technologies to transform municipal solid wastes (MSW) to high value fuels and recyclable materials at lower cost than landfilling.

Sustane’s first-ever North American facility in Nova Scotia, which has a capacity of 70,000 tonnes per year of solid waste, is undergoing its final tests and operations are anticipated to begin this year.

Sustane Technologies Facility, Chester, Nova Scotia

The CVRD will join the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Comox Valley Regional District in the performance monitoring program at the facility, at a cost to the district of $4,100.

“Like the CVRD, other regional districts on the island are interested in viable technologies to transform residual waste to marketable reusable products,” said Tauseef Waraich, the CVRD’s manager of recycling and waste management, in a report to the board.

“Since this is the first ever facility of its kind in North America, it is important to monitor the performance to determine its viability for local regional districts on the island.”

Since the closure in the late 1990s of the three incinerators and the regional landfill in the CVRD, the district has been in search of viable disposal solutions for its solid waste.

Waraich said the three incinerators were considered state-of-the-art facilities when they were constructed, but by the late 1990s, studies indicated they were adversely impacting the local air quality and their licences to operate were pulled by the province.

As for the landfill, Waraich said the old one was filled to capacity and no location within the CVRD could be identified for a new one.

Currently, the region does not have a disposal option for its solid waste other than export it to the Rabanco Landfill in Roosevelt, U.S. The CVRD relies on a central waste transfer station at Bings Creek as well as two satellite facilities at Peerless Road and Meade Creek for regional waste collection and transfer to the Rabanco Landfill.

The CVRD currently produces approximately 94,000 tonnes of waste per year, with about 64 per cent recycled or composted.

The district’s solid waste, with approximately 20,000 tonnes originating from CVRD-owned facilities and about 14,000 tonnes from other sources, is sent to landfills for disposal.

CVRD’s solid waste management plan, which was updated in 2018, has the following guiding principles:

Promote zero waste approaches and support a circular economy.

Promote the first 3Rs.

Maximize the beneficial use of waste materials and manage residuals appropriately.

Support polluter and user-pay approaches and manage incentives to maximize behaviour outcomes.

Prevent organics and recyclables from going to the garbage whenever practical.

Collaborate with other regional districts wherever possible.

Cities and countries aim to slash plastic waste within a decade

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Written by Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto and Dr. Diane Orihel, Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University

If all goes well, 2030 will be quite a special year.

Global and local community leaders from more than 170 countries have pledged to “significantly reduce” the amount of single-use plastic products by 2030. Success would result in significantly less plastic pollution entering our oceans, lakes and rivers.

Today, societies around the world have a love affair with disposable plastics. Just like some love stories, this one has an unhappy ending that results in plastic bags, straws and takeout containers strewn about the global environment.

As researchers who study the contamination and effects of plastic pollution on wildlife, it would be nice if by 2030 we no longer heard about plastics showing up in the stomachs of dead whales, littering the beaches of distant islands and contaminating tap water and seafood.

Plastic doesn’t belong on the beach. Shutterstock

It is time for some good news about the environment, including stories about how cities and countries are managing plastics and other waste materials in more sustainable ways, and how children will have cleaner beaches to play on.

No reason to wait

Scientists have known about plastic pollution in our oceans for more than four decades. It is pervasive in rivers, lakes and soils too. Plastic pollution knows no boundaries, with small bits of plastic found from the equator to the poles and even on the remote slopes of the French Pyrenees mountains.

Plastic waste damages ecosystems, smothers coral reefs and fills the bellies of sea life. In the absence of action, the amount of plastic waste produced globally is predicted to triple between 2015 and 2060, to between 155 and 265 million tonnes per year.

As a welcome response, global leaders have decided to act. At the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi in March, environment ministers from around the world signed a voluntary commitment to make measurable reductions in single-use plastic products, including straws, shopping bags and other low-value plastic items that are sent to landfill after being used once.

Similar goals to deal with plastic pollution have been introduced by municipal, provincial, federal and regional governments across the globe. Non-profit organizations and industry leaders are making efforts to tackle the problem of plastic pollution. For example, Ocean Conservancy is uniting citizens and organizations around the world in cleanups to meet their goal of an ocean free of plastics by 2030, and Unilever has pledged to use 100 per cent recyclable packaging by 2025.

Canada joins the movement

Canada introduced the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 summit in 2018, committing nations to work with industry to make all plastics reusable, recyclable or recoverable by 2030. That means sending no plastic waste to landfill.

Vancouver aims to be a zero-waste city by 2040. Although the city has reduced the mass of waste going to landfill by 23 per cent since 2008, it still has a long way to go.

Ontario also has its sights on being waste-free by developing a circular economy, which means keeping materials in use for as long as possible. The province aims to cut the amount of waste sent to landfills in half by 2030, a reduction of 4.5 million tonnes, through reuse and recycling.

To propel Ontario into action, Ian Arthur, the member of the Ontario provincial parliament for Kingston and the Islands introduced a private member’s bill in March to eliminate Ontario’s use of non-recyclable single-use plastic products such as straws, coffee cups and plastic cutlery, which ultimately end up in landfills. These plastics do not feed into a circular economy.

In addition, school children in Ontario are working towards collecting 10,000 signatures on petitions to ban single-use plastics in the province.

Canadians would like to see more action against plastic waste. According to a recent poll, 90 per cent of Canadians were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the environmental impact of plastic waste, and 82 per cent thought government should do more to reduce plastic waste.

Bye bye plastic waste

Our research, and the research of others, has found that single-use plastic products litter our beaches and coastlines, small pieces of plastics contaminate our Great Lakes and the Arctic Ocean, and microplastics are present in our sport fish and drinking water.

Ambitious global, regional and local collaborations are sorely needed to truly realize these goals. It’s time to commit to ending the love affair with disposable plastics.

Individual action does work. Quench your need for caffeine by using a reusable mug. Hydrate with water from a durable and refillable bottle. Purchase groceries that come in containers that can be reused or recycled. Plan your kid’s birthday party and your work meetings without using disposable single-use plastics.

A decade of positive habits could lead to a future where plastic is no longer waste, but valued as a material that can be reused and recycled — shifting our current paradigm to a more sustainable one that lasts far beyond 2030.



This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

About the Authors

Dr. Chelsea Rochman is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto. Previously, she was a David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aquatic Health Program at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Rochman received her PhD in a joint program with San Diego State University and UC Davis in Ecology.

Dr. Diane Orihel is an Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University, Ontario. Dr. Orihel investigates human impacts on aquatic ecosystems through large-scale, multidisciplinary and collaborative research programs. She holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Ecology and Environmental Biology (University of British Columbia), Masters in Natural Resource Management (University of Manitoba), a PhD in Ecology (University of Alberta). She was a Banting and Liber Ero postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, and now holds the position of Queen’s National Scholar in Aquatic Ecotoxicology in the Department of Biology and School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University.

Windsor-Essex Recycling Success Story

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The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) is one of the few municipalities in North America that has had minimal impact from the recycled material bans issued in Asia. The secret to its success is due to dealing exclusively with North American processors.

The EWSWA is the governmental agency charged with the responsibility of providing an integrated solid waste management system for the County of Essex and the City of Windsor in Ontario. Windsor is directly across the Detroit River from the City of Detroit. The City of Windsor and County of Essex has a combined population of 393,000.

The Authority generates revenue through the sale of recyclable materials. The more materials recycled – the more revenue there is to offset the waste management system costs.

In an interview with the CBC, Cathy Copot-Nepsy, the EWSWA manager of waste diversion, stated, “EWSWA has been working strategically for years to get established in the domestic market. [This] has allowed us to be one step ahead of all the other recycling plants who have been sending it overseas.”

In the CBC interview, Ms. Copot-Nepsy did admit the EWSWA was not entirely insulated from the Asian ban on recyclables. With more North American municipalities looking for local processors of recyclables, an over saturated domestic market has meant that EWSWA had to reduce the contaminants in the recyclables it sold to processors.

The residential recycling program in Essex Windsor is two stream – container materials and paper materials. Every recycling truck has two compartments (one for containers and one for paper). The materials are delivered to two different facilities (one building for containers and another building for paper).

EWSWA is expanding it public education program to reduce contamination of the recyclables that are received at the material recycling facilities (MRFs). It has also added an optical sorter at its fibre plant.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/municipalities-recycling-windsor-step-1.5092863

City of Hamilton to bid on operation of its own Central composting facility in 2020

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The City of Hamilton plans on making a bid to takeover the operation of the City’s central composting facility (CCF) when the existing contract with a private contractor expires in December 2020.

The existing private contractor, Aim Environmental Group, has been operating the City-owned facility under contract to the since 2006. The CCF takes in about 70,000 tonnes of source separated organics (SSO) from the City of Hamilton, Halton Region, and Simcoe County annually.

AIM Environmental Group is well known for facility design while working with domestic and international partners to deliver award winning compost systems. Through internal and external experts, AIM designs, constructs, and operates municipal composting facility. Besides, the City of Hamilton, municipalities that are customers of AIM include the City of Calgary, the City of Guelph, Halifax Regional Municipality, Halton Region, the City of Waterloo, and Simcoe County.

Hamilton City Councillors wanted a City bid to be included in the next operations contract for the CCF and passed a motion that will allow the city to create a separate in-house bid team to make a proposal to take over the contract of the facility’s operations.

In an effort to encourage private companies to bid on the operation of the City-owned CCF in 2020, the city will separate its bidding process with the public issued tender for operation.

Public Works General Manager Dan McKinnon said the city will make sure there is no biased tender process. He said the city has the experience in separating its bidding process with public issued tenders. McKinnon said an “ethical” wall is created, and a “fairness” monitor oversees the process.

It’s not the first time the city has participated in its own bid process. Dan McKinnon, general manager of public works, said the city uses a third-party independent monitor to make sure the bid process is fair.

In June of 2018, the city shut down the facility in response to numerous odour complaints related to the compost facility. The odours were caused, in part, by updated Ontario regulations that stated that compost had to have a minimum moisture content of 40 per cent during the curing process.

During the shutdown, carbon filters were added to the air emission outlets of the CCF and stacks were extended to disperse air emissions. An odour neutralizer misting system was also installed at the fence line. The CCF reopened in February of this year.

B.C. Municipality rewards community groups for waste reduction initiatives

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The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), located on the southern mainland coast, across Georgia Strait from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, has been holding a competition since 2015 as a means of encouraging waste reduction.

The annual contest is open to Sunshine Coast based community groups and associations, non-profit societies, registered charitable organizations, and school groups that will reduce waste in the region.

The program has a total of $5,000 available for financial assistance on winning projects.

Project applications must include a plan for measuring and reporting the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. The Waste Reduction Initiatives Program was introduced to support the initiatives of the SCRD’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

Project categories considered for the Waste Reduction Initiatives Program (WRIP) include:

  • Community reuse and repair
  • Composting
  • Construction and demolition waste reduction, reuse and recycling
  • Food waste reduction
  • Green waste reduction
  • Recycling initiatives

In 2018, Serendipity Child Care received funding under the contest. The funding received through WRIP was used by the organization educating children and families on composting and waste reduction.

In 2017, six organizations received funding for projects as part of the Waste Reduction Initiatives Program (WRIP).

  • North Thormanby Community Association – Implementation of a community composting program
  • Roberts Creek Community School – A community composter project in partnership with local businesses.
  • St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church – An on-site composting program for the food bank and nearby organizations.
  • Sunshine Coast Repair Café – Launch of monthly repair cafés to Sechelt and Pender Harbour (currently monthly in Gibsons)
  • West Sechelt Elementary – Launch of a school composting program
  • West Howe Sound Community Association – Expansion of the association’s mobile community composting initiative.
Representatives from Organizations that received funding as part of the SCRD’s WRIP in 2017 (Photo Credit: SCRD)

Applications for WRIP opened on Monday April 15, 2019 and all applications must be received by midnight on Friday, May 24, 2019. Successful applicants will be announced in June. Projects must be completed, including a final report, by December 31, 2019.

Ecolomondo secures $32 million loan to finance Thermal Decomposition Facility

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Ecolomondo Environmental (Hawkesbury) Inc., a subsidiary of Ecolomondo Corporation (TSXV: ECM)  recently announced that it entered into a loan agreement for $32.1 million in project financing with Export Development Canada (EDC), the proceeds of which are to be used to build the Company’s new, first of its kind turnkey Thermal Decomposition (TDP) facility that will be located in the Town of Hawkesbury, Ontario.

The Town of Hawkebury, where the TDP facility will be built is located on the Ottawa River, half way between the Cities of Ottawa and Montreal.

Once built and fully operational, this turnkey TDP facility is expected to process a minimum of 14,000 tons of tire waste per year and to produce 5,300 tons of recycled carbon black, 42,700 barrels of oil, 1,800 tons of steel and 1,600 tons of process gas.

Management now expects to break ground by June 2019 and to begin commissioning of the TDP facility in the first quarter of 2020, as originally scheduled.

“Ecolomondo is proud to conclude this loan agreement for this innovative project and proud to do so with an extremely professional organization such as Export Development Canada. EDC will be a key player in the commercialization of our cleantech proprietary technology and in doing so EDC is supporting the development of Ecolomondo’s future expansion both in Canada and overseas”, said Elio Sorella, President and CEO, Ecolomondo.

About EDC

Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, EDC equips Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, investments, insurance, and connections – to take on the world with confidence. Underlying all EDC support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business.

About Ecolomondo Corporation

Ecolomondo is a cleantech Canadian company that is commercializing its waste-to-products technology. The Thermal Decomposition Process (TDP) converts hydrocarbon waste into marketable commodity end-products, namely carbon black substitute, oil, gas and steel. Technologies such as Ecolomondo’s are expected to play an important role in resource recovery needed in today’s circular economy.

The Company’s main revenues will come from the sale of TDP turnkey facilities and royalties from their operations. TDP facilities will generate revenues from the sale of end-products, tipping fees and carbon credits. Ecolomondo’s first focus is to market TDP turnkey facilities that use scrap tires as a feedstock, because scrap tires yield end-products with a higher commercial value, especially the recycled carbon black.