UK research to test new ship engine fuel made from recycled plastic


New research funded by Innovate UK and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) is to test an alternative fuel made from residual mixed plastic waste, known as Plaxx, to power industrial and marine engines.

Plaxx researchers will be examined to see if it can be used efficiently in diesel engines that currently use heavy fuel oil (HFO) without harming the engine.

Diesel engines are currently used in a number of marine vessels, including tankers and ferries, as well as other nautical machinery.

Research will be led by the UK's BristolRobotics Laboratory (BRL) associate professor Farid Dailami along with developers of Plaxx Recycling Technologies.

The UK’s Swindon Borough, Council Crapper and Sons Landfill and an unnamed international marine insurer are also involved in the project.

Dailami said: “This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to HFO currently used in marine diesel engines and industrial engines.

"This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to HFO currently used in marine diesel and industrial engines."

“Our research will compare the performance of this fuel with standard diesel fuel in order to gain data on how it performs and to ensure it won't damage the engine or cause harmful emissions or gases.

“The aim is to demonstrate to producers and users of these engines that Plaxx can be a viable alternative to HFO and to pave the way for commercialisation of Plaxx.”

Dailami also noted that HFO is a fossil fuel, so requires extracting and refining, resulting in environmental costs and consequences.

In contrast, Plaxx contains very low level of sulphur and complies with new emission rules.

The new research also aims to use recycling technologies to characterise the use of Plaxx for diesel engines, as well as open a global market for new material to replace fossil fuels with a waste derivative.


Image: New UK research to test Plaxx fuel made from mixed plastic waste as an alternative for ship engine. Photo: courtesy of UWE Bristol.