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Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco-based waste and energy development company, closed a $260-million financing package for the construction of the US’ first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel plant, which will be located in Ashley, Indiana.

The financing for “Brightmark Energy Ashley Indiana” includes $185 million in Indiana green bonds, which were underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co. As part of the financing closure, Brightmark has become the controlling owner of RES Polyflow, the Ohio-based energy technology company that innovated the process for converting plastics directly into transportation fuel and other products.


At the core of the RES Polyflow technology is a process vessel with the ability to handle up to 60 tons per day of mixed polymer waste streams that other recycling systems typically have to discard in landfills. For higher volume feedstreams, multiple RES Polyflow process vessels can be installed in parallel with shared feed-in and product removal sub-systems.

The finished product generated by the RES Polyflow process is a light, sweet liquid known as pygas. This stream is equivalent in quality and consistency to benchmark crude oil and can be tailored to the specific requirement of an off-take customer. Diesel fuel, octane enhancers and gasoline blendstocks are just several of the cuts that can be yielded from the end-product.

The Ashley facility will be the first of its kind to take mixed waste single-use plastics and convert them into usable products at commercial scale. The facility will initially convert approximately 100,000 tons of plastics into more than 18 million gallons a year of ultra-low sulfur diesel and naphtha blend stocks and nearly six million gallons a year of commercial grade wax in a process that is expected to be 93% efficient.

Ultimately, the outputs of this technology could also be used to produce the feedstocks necessary for manufacturing plastic again, thus creating the world’s first truly circular economy technology for plastics.

RES Polyflow’s plastics-to-fuel process sustainably recycles waste that has reached the end of its useful life—including items that cannot readily be recycled, such as plastic film, flexible packing, styrofoam and children’s toys—directly into useful products, such as fuels and wax.

According to analysis released this week by Closed Loop Partners, there is an existing $120-billion addressable market in the US and Canada for plastics and petrochemicals that could be met, in part, by recovering waste plastics such as those used as feedstock in the Ashley, Indiana facility. The resources recovered from waste plastics could displace fossil fuels being used in these markets today.

BP will purchase the fuels produced by the facility, which will be distributed in the regional petroleum market. The Ashley plant will also produce commercial grade waxes for sale to the industrial wax market, which will be purchased by AM WAX.



We need a lot of this right now, especially if it can process somewhat contaminated streams.  With China increasingly rejecting the products of "single-stream recycling" programs, the alternatives to fuel production are incineration and landfills.


Hmmm although they claim "93% efficiency" we have no idea what they mean by that. Pygas is made by heating material to the point that it becomes a volatile gas, and that is going to require some significant heat, it seems. It's true that any flamable plastic does the same thing as it burns... it first becomes a collection of gases then the gases combine with oxygen. So I'd like to know how are they heating the plastic to achieve this?

Art Trese


The RES Polyflow site claims a low-temperature, atmospheric pressure process which breaks down both waste plastics and discarded rubber.  "How" is an excellent question, which might be answered by digging for patents.  I have not done so.

It also begs the question of what is "low" temperature.  Is it high enough to torrefy lignocellulose, or otherwise convert it to liquids of some kind?  If not, there are going to be issues of contamination with paper in the form of labels, laminated plastic products and other things; they'll tend to gum up the process.

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