Race for Water and the Biogreen projectMeet - January 23, 2020
Marco is a genius who dedicated his life and his fortune to the betterment of the earth, which is very unusual for a guy with a fortune. And he founded Race for Water. But he also did this amazing plastic machine facility I went to visit last year north of Paris. No smoke, you can’t even smell plastic, and it’s completely modern. It takes the plastic (everything but PVC) and gasifies it at 800 degrees Celsius.
The gas comes off it goes through a set of carbon filters that then goes through a set of ceramic filters. Then it goes straight into humongous generators and creates electricity much more electricity than it costs to do it. He’s meeting all the standards of French bureaucracy. The machines deal with up to 12 tons of trash a day. The only thing that comes out as a little bit of ash.
Five percent of all plastic packaging is a trade secret. So we don’t have any idea what that is, but it’s really hellacious. Chemical hardeners and other things that are the thing that makes the Aqua bottle or the Coca-Cola bottle feel like glass. The worst of the worst.
Two million dollars worth of these machines would gobble up all the plastic going into the ocean in Asia. And if you look at building a nuclear power station, you’re into billions of dollars. And what do you get?
Biogreen® is an innovative, patented process for continuous thermochemical conversion of biomass and waste residue that allows torrefaction, pyrolysis and high temperature pyrolysis treatment of various bulk materials.
This leading-edge technology can recover the high calorific value of plastic litter and convert it into an energy-rich synthesized gas (syngas) applicable for the production of electricity, methane and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons composing plastic waste naturally break apart when exposed to heat. High temperature pyrolysis in the absence of oxygen induces this breakdown that creates new products: gases, liquids and solids.
The process is based on an electrically heated screw conveyor: the Spirajoule©. Designed for advanced thermal treatment in high temperature pyrolysis conditions (up to 800°C). This technology allows perfect control of temperature and speed to maximize plastic conversion into syngas.
Thus, generated syngas goes through a refining process composed of different steps of filtration, scrubbing & condensation. This crucial refining step aims at eliminating dust, fine particles, tar, condensable gases, and other pollutants such as chlorine. The refined syngas can then be used as fuel to internal combustion engine to provide electricity or simply heat.
About Marco and Race for Water
In 2010, Swiss entrepreneur Marco Simeoni created the Lausanne-based Race for Water Foundation and devotes every bit of his entrepreneurial fibre to the service of the oceans. Passionate about the sea, in 2015 he decided to launch a scientific and environmental expedition, the Race for Water Odyssey, to make the first global assessment of the plastic pollution of our oceans. The findings are clear, “plastic islands” do not exist so heading out to collect plastic waste at sea proves to be but a pipedream. Indeed, at the heart of the oceans languishes a soup of microplastics, which drifts about at the mercy of the oceanic gyres. “We very quickly became aware that the solution was on land. It is absolutely vital that we prevent plastic waste from reaching the oceans”, explains Marco Simeoni. On 9 April 2017, Race for Water set sail around the world again, for a five-year Odyssey this time, to offer solutions for preserving the oceans from plastic pollution, a genuine environmental disaster on a planetary scale.