Thursday, September 28, 2023

Meet Murang’a man making cheap petrol and diesel from plastics

James Muritu is the founder of Progreen Innovations Limited, a company that turns plastic waste into usable fuel.

In an interview with Citizen Digital, Muritu, who collaborated with his friend Michael Nthenge to put up the firm, revealed they came up with the idea of producing fuel after studying the chemistry behind it.

He, however, noted that the idea was brought to success by thorough research, which led them to the right materials that gave them the desired results.

“We came to realize that you have some specific type of plastic that will give you the right fuel; not every plastic will work,” says Muritu.

With the innovation, the duo is able to get rid of plastic waste that has become an environmental menace while at the same time getting value from it.

“Our passion is to clean the environment but not just clean and throw away the plastic but recover value from the waste plastic,” he added.

Muritu says that the project, which is currently in its pilot phase, is already yielding positive results. The firm produces petrol and diesel.

The petrol is usable in small and mid-size petrol engines, while the diesel is usable with heavy machinery and generators.

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Muritu uses diesel to power his car, while the petrol is used in smaller engines such as water pumps, power saws, and generators.

The engineer by profession notes that other people who have used the fuel to power their cars have affirmed that its performance is great.

“I got an in interest to getting into chemistry 2 years ago, so I began a small experiment recovering aluminum. So one time out of a sheer accident, we melted plastics, which gave us some jelly liquid, and that’s when I started researching on the raw material that comes out after burning plastics,’’ he said.

The process involves the collection of plastic and sorting out the ideal ones needed. Afterward, the raw materials are shredded into smaller pieces and then washed to remove any impurities.

The plastic is then transferred into the reactor compartment and heated in two cycles that are determined by different temperatures. The first cycle produces heavy crude oil, and the second one is all about refining the product.

All the materials used in the entire production are sourced locally. Muritu admitted that the journey has not been easy but thanked his supporters for bringing his idea into a reality.

His firm, which has already been certified by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), plans to expand to various towns and cities. It has further created employment for seven full-time employees and a number of casual laborers.

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