S. Korea to build pyrolysis recycling center for ocean waste at southern port city

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 20, 2021, 14:29 Updated : July 20, 2021, 14:29

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea will build a recycling center that uses the pyrolysis technique to break down plastic ocean waste into fuel. The center will be built at the southern port city of Tongyeong, which has one of the country's biggest fish resources.

About 50 percent of ocean waste in South Korea is composed of fishnets and buoys made of plastic. Fishnets that are lost or abandoned cause damage to the marine environment. A pyrolysis process breaks down plastics and vinyl to convert waste into oil. The oil is processed into medium crude and light oil which can be used as fuel or for lubricants. Different pyrolysis techniques are widely researched to tackle environmental problems.

Tongyeong said in a statement on July 20 that some 15 billion won ($13 million) will be spent on building the recycling center by the end of 2022 to recycle ocean wastes including plastic fishnets, Styrofoam buoys and vinyl. Recycled oil will be used to power fishing vessels, factories, thermal power plants, and heating houses. Currently, ocean waste coated with sea salt is incinerated as it takes a complicated process to recycle.
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