Brightmark Energy starts construction on a new plastics-to-fuel plant in Ashley, Indiana, to produce diesel and wax through recycling plastic wastes.


Image: The new Ashley facility is expected to create 136 full-time manufacturing jobs. Photo: Courtesy of Brightmark Energy.

Brightmark Energy, a waste and energy development company based in the US, has broken ground on a new plastics-to-fuel plant on an 112,000ft² site in Ashley, Indiana, to recycle plastic waste that has reached the end of its life.

The company said that the new facility marks the first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel plant in the US.

The new plant will use an advanced plastics-to-fuel process that recycles plastic waste, including plastic film, flexible packing, styrofoam and children’s toys that cannot readily be recycled, directly into useful products, such as fuels and wax.

Brightmark Energy said that the products made using this technology could also be employed for the production of feedstock for manufacturing plastic again, creating a first, truly circular economy technology for plastics.

The new facility is expected to create 136 full-time manufacturing jobs in Northeast Indiana when all phases of the facility become operational.

Brightmark Energy CEO Bob Powell said: “This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing our nation: more than 91% of the 33 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year is not recycled.

“These products end up sitting in landfills for thousands of years or littering our communities and waterways. This technology offers a tremendous opportunity to combat a major environmental ill and create positive economic value in the process.”

The company said that the Ashley facility will be the first plant to take mixed waste, including single-use plastics, and convert them into usable products at commercial scale.

The facility will be capable of converting 100,000 tonnes of plastics into more than 18 million gallons of ultra-low sulphur diesel and naphtha blend stocks and nearly six million gallons of commercial grade wax each year.

British oil and gas company BP has agreed to buy the fuels produced by the facility and US-based paraffin waxes specialist AM WAX will purchase the wax.

Brightmark Energy plastics division president Jay Schabel said: “Brightmark plans to develop dozens of additional plastics-to-fuel facilities across the United States, and these new locations will all be anchored by the facility we’re breaking ground on today here in Northeast Indiana. We’re pleased to have this opportunity to offer a solution to the complex problems our nation faces around plastic pollution.”