Cassandra Oil’s thermal reactors extract oil from waste containing hydrocarbons. Tires, plastic and oil-polluted water can be used as feedstock, with little need for sorting. This saves natural resources and contributes to the circular economy.

”We are aiming to be an important link in the circular economy. Our business concept is to recycle oil, gas and materials from waste containing hydrocarbons. Among other things, this can be tires and plastic waste, but the technology can also be used to decontaminate oil polluted water”, says Anders Olsson, CEO of Cassandra Oil.

Cassandra Oil was established in 2011 to commercialise the reactor technology invented by the company’s founder and principal shareholder, Mr. Anders Olsson.

Oil lakes initiated technology development

Oljesjöar utgör både ett miljöproblem och ett onödigt slöseri med en icke-förnybar naturresurs. Bild: Cassandra Oil.

Oil lakes are both an environmental problem and an unnecessary waste of a non-renewable resource. Photo: Cassandra Oil.

”I came into contact with the oil lakes in the Middle East when I was there to evaluate known decontamination technologies. The lakes are there because many refineries lack the capacity to process the heavy components of the crude oil. In some parts of the world, these components are dumped out in the open and in such quantities that massive oil lakes have formed, causing considerable environmental problems”, Anders says.

”There is a large demand for decontamination technology, and the existing methods have both advantages and disadvantages. My goal was to find a new, environmentally friendly approach, with a high level of efficiency and ability to handle many types of waste containing hydrocarbons. The solution was to incorporate existing technology with new inventions, and the first patent applications were filed in 2010. The company Cassandra Oil, formed in 2011, is the direct result of this patented and scalable technology”, Anders Olsson says.

Thermal cracking of hydrocarbon chains

Cassandra Oil’s operations are based on thermal depolymerisation by friction, fluid-bed operation and the catalytic effect. The process, called depolymerisation by catalytic cracking (cat cracking), takes place in a proprietary developed reactor, and the result is light fractions of oil. Mechanically generated friction is used to achieve maximum yield and low production costs in relation to cost per barrel. The recycled oil can be used as fuel or raw material for new plastic and rubber components.

According to Anders Olsson, this technology offers a number of advantages:

  • Provides a viable alternative to incineration.
  • High level of efficiency and low energy consumption.
  • The process generates no hazardous pollution to the environment.
  • Many types of waste containing hydrocarbons can be used, without needing to sort or separate the materials beforehand.
  • The processing plants can quickly be assembled and transported to operational sites.

Tires, plastic and oil waste

”In the western world, we get through one tire per person every year. The waste amounts to about one billion tires annually. One common way of disposing of used tires is to incinerate them in cement factories, in order to utilize the energy content. Some tires are shredded and used as turf on soccer fields and racecourses, but until now, there have been no viable technologies for recycling tires. The worst option is to do nothing at all, and the world is cluttered with mountains of discarded tires”, Anders Olsson says.

”We are able to separate the components of tires – oil, used as a softener, steel, that is a reinforcement, and carbon black, used as a filler. We can extract 4.5 kg of oil from a 10 kg tire. One fourth is carbon black, a tenth is gas, another tenth is steel. The rest is fiber residue and other components. The process between putting shredded tires in the reactor and getting the oil out only takes fifteen minutes”.

”Plastic waste handling is another problem of global proportions. Each year, close to 100 million tonnes are sent to waste disposal sites in the USA, Europe and Russia. Plastic waste is bulky and does not easily decompose. The incineration of plastic waste gives off pollutants that affect the environment. Modern recycling methods often require waste to be sorted and cleaned for recycling to be possible. Using Cassandra Oil’s technology, practically every type of plastic, except for PVC, can be used to produce oil without having to sort or clean the waste”, Anders says.

Cassandra Oil’s reactor technology makes it possible to produce oil from oil sludge and heavy fractions of crude oil. The company is also developing a smaller, mobile reactor, which can easily and quickly be transported in a container to a disaster site to handle oil spillage.

New production facility in Sweden

Cassandra Oil planerar för en ny återvinningsanläggning i Sverige. Bild: Cassandra Oil.

Cassandra Oil is planning a new recycling facility in Sweden. Photo: Cassandra Oil.

”We are actively developing the technology, and one of our innovations is a tumbler-drier that dehydrates the raw material using heat from the process plant’s cooling system. We are also planning to implement a processing plant in Mälardalen, Sweden. This project includes a CASO 600 reactor as well as pre-treatment equipment in the form of a waste material dryer, metal detectors and air locks. Our partner in Spain has submitted the application for a production plant in Jerez, with the capacity to convert 56,000 tonnes of waste plastic into 48,000 tonnes of oil and into 2,800 tonnes of carbon black per year. The facility in question will also utilise the released excess gas from the process-plant for in house electricity production needs”.

”To create recycling systems that can recover resources from secondary raw materials requires time and innovation, especially in times when virgin materials are cheap. We need to speed up the global transition. Current regulations have linear flows in mind, and we need to update them to provide long-term game rules for the transition. Every barrel of oil recovered by our reactors saves resources and contributes to a sustainable circular society”, Anders Olsson concludes.

The article was published in November 2016.