Awards Registry

Mobile Plastic Ocean Waste Recycler
Profile last edited on: 6/9/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
EPA
Total Award Amount
$500,000
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Patrick K Simpson
Activity Indicator

Company Information

PKS Consulting Inc

PO Box 241367
Anchorage, AK 99524
   (907) 444-5860
   N/A
   pksconsulting.biz
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   00
County:   Anchorage Municipality

Phase I

Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$100,000
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking proposals that will improve the U.S. recycling system.PKS Consulting is an Alaska-based small technology firm that proposes the development of a Mobile Plastic Ocean Waste (POW) Recycler that can be moved from community to community to produce Recycled Plastic Lumber (RPL) products from locally collected POW. Fishing gear is primarily composed of Polyamide (PA), Polyethylene (PE), and Polypropylene (PP). Significane. Producing useful and profitable products from this abundance of POW presents several challenges, including: collection, cleaning, sorting, and processing. If the material is not cleaned well, processing is problematic. Also, a signifiicant impact of feasibility is the remote locations where POW is collected; sometime resulting in insurmountable logistical challenges. Innovation. One primary challenge faced when producing POW products is the non-homogeneity of the material. Fishing gear is typically a mixture of PA, PP, and PE. The low melting point of PE and PP relative to PA allows the PA to remain stable and become a binder (Similar to fiberglass) when added to a PE-based extrusion. This temperature difference will be used to combine shredded nylon (PA) web as the reinforcement material in a Recycled Plastic Lumber (PRL) product that combines tow POW waste streams - beach debris and EoL fishing gear. During Phase I, we will (1) formalize the POW collection process; (2) perform laboratory testing of PE/PP/PA combinations to determine the best combination ranges for RPL production; (3) design the Mobile POW Recycler; (4) develop the operational plan; and (5) secure additional Phase II funding. During Phase II, we will: (1) build the Mobile POW Recycler; (2) deploy the Mobile POW Recycler in at least one Alaska community for a pilot demonstration; and (3) secure additional funding for market expansion in Phase III. Commercialization. The proposed effort will produce RPL from the End-of-Life (EoL) fishing gear and marine debris collected from the beach. The commercialization strategy for the RPL products is to produce and sell the product locally. The commercialization plan is to develop the Recycler for use in one region of Alaska before expanding to the remainder of Alaska and then down the West Coast. Following Phase II, additional Recyclers will be built and deployed in the other Alaska fishing regions before moving south to the West Coast. This expansion will result in Gross Revenue (RPL Income) growth from 3.7M in 2022 to $71.5M in 2028 and $146.8M in 2033.

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$400,000
Plastic Ocean Waste (POW) is accumulating in our oceans and on our beaches at an accelerating rate. Eight million metric tons (8M MT) of plastic is entering the world's oceans each year at a rate of one ton per minute. Alaska represents 53% of the U.S. coastline. During Phase I, we estimated the amount of POW accumulating on Alaska's shorelines at 34,500 to 51,700 MT/yr at a rate of three ton per hour. Regulation and taxation strategies are being proposed to stem this tide of POW. Reuse and recycling campaigns also help. These approaches are focusing on the source and are beginning to find traction. However, there remains the problem of the growing accumulation of POW on the world's shorelines. Methods are needed to (1) increase the collection of POW, and (2) reduce the amount of Ocean Bound Plastic. Coastal communities have participated in beach clean ups and local residential recycling, yet they tend to lose momentum. Programs that incentivize collection through return deposits, pay-as-you-throw, or purchase of recylcates have been effective. A step toward building a successful incentive program is the development of a local and visible utilization capability. Converting recycled plastic into products used locally provides a significant motivator for participation. These efforts can be improved by offering compensation for recycled plastic. POW can be collected by local fishers and boaters and purchased in port. Residential recycling can offer compensation for sorted and cleaned plastics at recycling centers. Lauding participation through social media is an amplifier. The challenge is the development of a feasible local recycling system that can convert plastics to products. The solution is a Mobile Plastic Ocean Waste Recycler deployed in multiple coastal communities. During Phase II, we will demonstrate the viability of the Mobile Plastic Ocean Waste Recycler by building a system that can conduct pilot demonstrations in two coastal Alaska communities: Seward and Cordova. Key results are aligned in four areas. Technical Viability -- process at least 111 MT of plastic material. Financial Viability -- generate at least $245,000 in product sales. Social Viability -- process at least 56 MT of Plastic Ocean Waste and End-of-Life Nets. Operational Viability -- operate in at least two coastal communities. Achieving these key results places this project in a strong position to receive the follow-on funding needed to support growth and expansion with the long-term objective to expand worldwide.