Kenya to start production of commercial synthetic fuel sourced from plastic waste in March 2017

Kenya to start production of commercial synthetic fuel sourced from plastic waste in March 2017
  • Data from the Green Belt Movement shows that over 24 million plastic bags are used in monthly
  • Plastic bags now constitute the biggest challenge to solid waste management in the country
  • The proposed Nairobi County Plastic Control Bill 2016 prevents retailers from providing plastic bags for shoppers

Kenya has begun test runs of Africa’s first plant that converts end of life plastic waste into commercial synthetic fuel.

The Kiambu County-based plant uses a conversion technology that involves heating the waste under controlled conditions to produce oil, similar to industrial diesel oil and heavy fuel oil used in power plants, industrial furnaces, and boilers.

In Kenya, over 24 million plastic bags are used monthly, according to the Green Belt Movement, half of which end up in the solid waste mainstream.

Plastic bags now constitute the biggest challenge to solid waste management in the country. The Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) has provided about 46% of the financing for the successful implementation of the project by Alternative Energy Systems Limited.

Alternative Energy Systems Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rajesh Kent said the project will be ready for commissioning in March.

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“We have begun test runs for the machinery in preparation for official commissioning in early March 2017. This technology will be transformational in how we handle plastics in this country and Kenya will be used as a benchmark on the continent,” said Kent.

This innovation comes on the back of a proposed Nairobi County Plastic Control Bill 2016 that will see shoppers within the city pay for plastic bags. The Bill states that retailers will not be allowed to provide consumers with recycled non-biodegradable plastic free of charge for carrying their shopping.

More than 1,500 indirect jobs will be created for the collection of plastic waste, which is the main raw material required for the plant.  An additional 65 direct jobs will be created in machinery operations and performance of administrative duties.

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