Plastic-to-Fuel Oil Plant


EPCM Holdings developed a modular, plastics-to-fuel-oil plant. The small scaled plant continuously processes 1.2tons of plastic per day and produces various fuel oils.

The resulting fuel oils can be used for power generation, fleet running or sold to bulk distributors for blending – resulting in a quick payback period and additional revenue stream.

This solution is ideal businesses that have a plastic waste by-product as part of their existing operations. Together with a convenient long-term off-take – be that themselves or third party.

The modular design allows for rapid deployment with minimal site preparation, and for easy future relocation.

The plants are fabricated in ISO accredited facilities in South Africa. From where it is shipped worldwide to customers.

Product Yield & Quality

The plant produces various fuel oils and the residual products: gas and char. The quality and yield of the fuels produced are feedstock dependent. Typical yields are between 500ml and 800ml fuel oil per kg. Split equally between heavy and light oils.

Our facility in South Africa can test 5kg batches to confirm the client’s feedstock yield and quality. The test is accompanied with laboratory test results. These results together with the capex, opex and local market fuel prices provide the information to determine the resulting business case.


The plant’s technology is a small-scale depolymerisation unit that uses a pyrolysis reaction and a series of catalytic converters to produce fuel oils. The plant is divided into two separate main parts housing the processing and storage units. The processing unit receives the shredded plastic feedstock with a lift screw for continuous feeding operation – a major efficiency improvement batch operated plants.

At this point a sand filter removes items like carbon, iron, earth and other nonorganic chemicals. From here filtered plastic oil from the reactor will be fed through an acid absorber unit which will protect the downstream equipment against any accidental small amounts of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) components in the feedstock.

The absorber is followed by various processing equipment; catalytic converter reactors, coolers and knock-out drums to split the products into the fuels.

Finally, the resulting fuels are then separated into heavy and light oils and stored in a 20m3 tank in the second container.

Operations & Maintenance

The plant can be run 24/7 with approximately two stoppages every week for basic maintenance.

Typical maintenance include replacing of sand filter (frequency dependent on feedstock), upkeep of rotating equipment (compressor, screw conveyor and air-coolers), and mechanical maintenance of control and relief valves.

The plant operations are handled by two staff. One for manually loading the feedstock into the screw lift hopper and the other for monitoring and controlling the plant settings and output. In developed labour markets this process can be fully automated to reduce reliance on staff.

The continuous power requirements are 50kW that is supplied by the residual gas from the plastic processing. And 250kW for startup that is supplied by compresses stored gas from the plant.


Size1 x 40ft processing plant and 1 x 20ft (fuel storage) standard

containers Excluding potential space for shredder (if required) Excluding space for feedstock stockpiling

FeedstockPlastic (uniform, cleaned and shredded to approx. 2.5cm pieces) Polypropylene (PP) polyethylene (PE or HDPE or LDPE), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) Mixing of types allowed

No allowed: PVC, PET, Polistireen, Polyurethane or Tires

Max Continuous Feed1.2 tonnes per day 50 kg per hour for a continuous 24 hour operation
Fuel YieldTypically between 500ml-800ml per kg, spit 60%/40% between heavy fuel oil (diesel equivalent) or light fuel oil (paraffin equivalent) – feedstock type dependent.
Fuel QualitySplit between heavy and light fuel oils (feedstock dependent)
Residual ProductsGas Char
Power and Consumable


50 kW (continuous – provided by the produced gas) 250 kW (startup – provided by compressed stored gas produced by the plant) Nitrogen (for purging during shutdown)
Fuel Storage in the Plant20m3
Staff Needed2 (1 x operator and 1 x loader) per shift
EmissionsNOx – zero SOx – zero Particulate matter – feedstock and testing

dependent, but minimised with filters

Permit and LicensingJurisdiction dependent/ Responsibility of Client