Business opportunity: Convert plastic into diesel from anywhere in Africa

Partner Content: EPCM Holdings

EPCM Holdings developed a small-scale plastic-to-diesel plant that can be set up and run by small businesses and entrepreneurs in remote areas.

The modular and containerised units are fabricated in Durban, South Africa and can be shipped anywhere in the world that a truck is able to reach. It is able to supply its own power (for the reactor, air coolers and pumps) and can be located at the feed source to minimise the cost of transport.

A small-scale plastic-to-diesel plant is an ideal small business to operate in remote parts of Africa where the cost of diesel can be expensive but the only form of fuel readily available. The produced fuel products can be sold to customers to power generators, run trucks or back to small refineries for inter-blending. Partnering with a plastic waste sorting business could also secure the feedstock.

The technology behind the plant is a small-scale depolymerisation unit that uses a pyrolysis reaction and a series of catalytic convertors to produce diesel equivalent liquid products, namely diesel and naptha (typically used in applications like lighters, camping stoves and oil lanterns)

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, which is a huge efficiency improvement over any plant that operates in batches. From here filtered plastic oil from the reactor will be fed through an acid absorber unit which will protect the downstream equipment against polyvinyl chloride (PVC) components in the feedstock – the plant can handle a maximum PVC content of 5%. This will be followed by various processing equipment like catalytic converter reactors, coolers and knock-out drums to split the products into the fuels.

EPCM is able to assist in project financing, business case development for loan applications and operations and maintenance advice.

For more information please contact EPCM Holdings at: [email protected]


Size: 1 x 40ft and 1 x 20ft standard containers
Max Feed: 1.2 tonnes shredded plastic per day
Max Allowed PVC: 5%
Power Requirements: 50 kW (powered through the plants used of residual light gas)
Total Fuel Production: 36 m3/month (if run 24/7)
Fuel Type Production: Crude Naphta and Diesel
Tank Storage: 20m3