​S. Korea promotes pyrolysis recycling to convert waste plastics into fuel

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 21, 2021, 16:07 Updated : June 21, 2021, 16:07

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea will promote the adoption of pyrolysis plastic recycling to convert waste plastics and vinyl into processed oil that can be used as fuel or raw material to produce recycled petrochemical products. The pyrolysis method involves a process in which plastics are treated with extreme heat and pressure.

In pyrolysis processing, recycled materials are broken down to be converted to oil. The oil is then processed into medium crude and light oil. Recycled oil is often used as fuel or produced as core materials for lubricants. The technique of converting plastics to fuel has been researched to tackle environmental problems caused by plastic waste.

The Ministry of Environment has formed a task force involving research institutes, private companies and academics to popularize pyrolysis recycling. Currently, about 0.1 percent of recycled plastics are converted to oil using the technique. The government would increase the conversion rate to up to 10 percent by 2030.

For the wider use of pyrolysis recycling, the government will revise regulations to offer certified emission reductions (CERs), also known as carbon credits, to companies that use oil produced with waste plastics. The ministry will also use the pyrolysis technique to create synthetic gas (syngas) that can be used as the main material for the production of methanol and ammonia.
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