Agri-Plas Reclaims Crude Oil from Plastic

Agri-Plas, an Oregon-based plastics recycler, is converting unwanted and typically unrecyclable agricultural plastics into crude oil and shipping it to a refinery for commercial processing.

"The fact that Agri-Plas has been able to take plastic that would otherwise go directly into the waste stream and convert it into a commercial product that can eventually be pumped into a gas tank is truly groundbreaking," said Tim McCabe, director of the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department.

In a March 16 press release, the company said it is taking discarded and unwanted plastic from landfills or is abandoned, burned, or buried on Northwest farms and nurseries and is converting it back into synthetic crude oil. Plastic products include dirty agricultural film, greenhouse cover, mixed nursery and jug material, prepackaged food containers and lids, and other low- or zero-value plastics too dirty to economically bring to a higher value through normal recycling efforts. The company recently delivered its first full tanker (8,200 gallons) of oil to a refinery in Tacoma, Wash., which translates to a final delivery of 196 barrels of oil.

"The state of Oregon has been a key player in helping us bring this process to market," said Mary Sue Gilliland, Agri-Plas vice president operations and business development. "We hope that with financial assistance from the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), we will be able to jumpstart construction of a new facility that will allow the company to increase crude oil production."

BETC covers up to 50 percent of a qualifying project’s applicable costs.

Agri-Plas is gearing up to deliver its second shipment of crude oil this month. The company is currently testing technology developed by Plas2Fuel, a Kelso, Wash., alternative energy company, that created the unique process of converting plastic into high-value, synthetic crude oil. Agri-Plas is planning to expand its operations within the next several months. Within the next year, the company hopes to create up to 58 new green-collar jobs at its headquarters in Brooks, Ore.

Today, Agri-Plas is operating one plastic-to-oil converting unit. The company soon expects to add three more units, which will create one full system, and will operate this venture under the name of Agri-Plas2Crude. In April of 2009, Agri-Plas2Crude plans to break ground on a new facility, which will eventually house a total of five, four-unit Plas2Fuel reclamation systems. In total, the 20 units will create enough reclaimed crude oil to deliver a full tanker for refining every single day.

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