Ariel Crespo, co-founder of EcoFuels, explains how he was able to produce a liquid fuel similar to kerosene that can be used in stoves, industrial boilers and electricity generators.
The Everis Chile Foundation has announced the winner of the ATTITUDE 2020 Award, an initiative that seeks to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and talent by increasing industry awareness of technology-based projects that help to improve people’s quality of life and/or care for the environment.
The winner is EcoFuels, a start-up that converts contaminated plastic waste - which cannot generally be recycled - into a liquid fuel with physical-chemical properties similar to kerosene that can be used in stoves, industrial boilers and electricity generators.
“Plastic is a big problem and recycling is not enough,” says the start-up’s CEO, Ariel Crespo, explaining that its solution consists of a thermochemical process that gradually breaks the polymeric chains. “The shredded plastic is loaded into a conversion machine and treated at special temperatures that transform it into liquid fuel in 45 minutes,” he says.
The start-up began life in 2018 with financing of around 20 million pesos from CORFO and the Las Condes municipal government. Today, it is at the pilot stage with private companies to evaluate their demand and the plastics they use, says Crespo. The service includes advice and the installation and commissioning of the conversion equipment under a leasing contract. It targets municipal governments and companies that need to optimize their management of plastic waste.
“Among the many scale-up possibilities, it could serve as a self-sustainability option for regions, for example,” says Angie Machmar, executive director of the Everis Chile Foundation, who also mentions compliance with the Extended Producer Responsibility Law (REP).
As part of the award, EcoFuels will join the Everis Foundation ecosystem, linking it with universities, incubators and business accelerators. It is currently working to finalize a first marketing stage with three clients at the beginning of 2021.
In addition, it is planning to raise capital of US$1 million with the University of California, Riverside. With this funding, the company aims to produce at least 25 mobile machines for its expansion to other Latin American countries.
To find out more about innovation in Chile, see this article.
Source: Diario Financiero