IES has developed Waste Hydrocarbons to Fuel (WHc2F) technology that is capable of converting waste polymeric materials (such as waste plastics, used tires, etc.) and heavy hydrocarbons (such as used lube oils, oil sludge, tar sands, etc.) into usable liquid fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, diesel, etc.
Commercially used plastics are primarily olefinic polymers. For example, high-density-polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density-polyethylene (LDPE) are polymers of ethylene (CH2=CH2) monomer, with the polymers represented by a generic formula (CH2-CH) n. Polypropylene is polymer of propylene (CH3-CH=CH2) monomer. Polypropylene is represented by a generic formula (CH(CH3) -CH) n. Similarly, tires are made from commercial polyolefinic polymers (natural rubber, which is polyisoprene + synthetic rubber, such as styrene-butadiene copolymer, polybutadiene, etc.). So the plastics and tires compose of polymers which are essentially long chains of hydrocarbon molecules. Similarly, heavy hydrocarbons are composed of long chains of hydrocarbon molecules.
IESs WHc2F technology uses thermo-catalytic cracking (AKA catalytic pyrolysis) process to crack (i.e., break down) the polymer hydrocarbons or the long-chain heavy hydrocarbons into smaller hydrocarbon monomer molecules. The cracked hydrocarbon molecules are then joined to the desired hydrocarbon chain lengths by means of a reforming reaction that follows the cracking. Reforming allows to narrow down and thereby control the range of hydrocarbons products.
The ingenuity of the IESs WHc2F technology lies in the way the two processes - cracking and reforming are carried out with the help of carefully designed catalysts to achieve the liquid hydrocarbon fuel products using minimal heat energy. The process heating needs are met by use of the gaseous hydrocarbon by-products making the process energy self-sufficient.