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New plant uses thermal process to recycle petrochemical waste

TOKYO�A South Korean venture firm says it has developed a technology to produce high-quality oil products from waste plastics, vinyl, and other petrochemical products. The company has completed a new recycling plant based on the process in Yesan, South Chungchong province.

Royco Korea claims it has succeeded in recycling petrochemical waste into gasoline, light oil, heavy oil, LPG, and raw materials for chemical products, without using substances harmful to the environment. Its technology involves thermal cracking of wastes at low temperature and pressure in the absence of oxygen.

Petrochemical waste processing technologies to date have used catalysts to drive the desired reaction. But Royco says its technology makes such catalysts unnecessary.

The company compared its process to a catalytic one marketed by Japan's Fuji Recycling. Royco says the traditional method carries greater capital requirements�18-40 billion won for a 5,000 tonne/year plant vs. 5 billion won for a similar plant that employs the thermal process.

The company also claims the end products are higher in quality than those produced via other methods.

Royco's new plant will reprocess 3,000 tonnes/year of waste. It plans to sell its facilities in domestic and foreign markets, including Singapore, Taiwan, and Switzerland. The company is targeting 14.4 billion won in sales this year.

Starting in August, a domestic ban takes effect prohibiting land disposal or burning of plastic and vinyl wastes.

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