Global interest in plastics recycling machine

Byfusion machine inventor Peter Lewis with the appliance he hopes to build more of in Dunedin and sell around the world. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Byfusion machine inventor Peter Lewis with the appliance he hopes to build more of in Dunedin and sell around the world. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A recycling machine which turns plastic into bricks has generated interest from prospective national and international buyers, and its Dunedin inventor believes it could be the building block of a multimillion-dollar earner for Dunedin.

Byfusion machine inventor Peter Lewis said publicity about his device in the Otago Daily Times had reached the far corners of the globe. Since then, he had received dozens of inquiries from companies around the world about buying a machine, but they wanted to see a working production model first.

Mr Lewis said the only model in operation at the moment was his prototype at the Green Island landfill, which was now 8 years old and some of the components were starting to break down.

In order to entice potential buyers, Mr Lewis said he needed to build a production version of the Byfusion machine, capable of producing 250 blocks a day on a continuous basis.

This would give him a platform on which to launch the technology to interested parties early next year.

He said a new machine would cost about $350,000 to build, and he was looking for Dunedin businesses to invest in it so that revenue from production of the machines would come back to the Dunedin economy.

"We could sell about three models next year, then 10 the next, and from there sales would just skyrocket.

"Dunedin has the capacity to build about 200 of these machines a year, given the current engineering infrastructure here.

"Each one would be worth between $1.1 million and $2 million to the city."

The prototype at the Green Island landfill can swallow most types of raw plastic - from drink bottles to meat packaging - where it was washed, dried and compacted into a plastic block.

Each brick is formed from 10kg of plastic, and could be used for garden retaining or landscaping walls, and had other potential uses including as shock absorbers behind crash barriers.

Consideration was being given to using the products to build hurricane and tsunami shelters in the Pacific Islands, or cheaper sustainable housing where wood is scarce.

The machine's main source of interest for buyers was its ability to turn millions of tonnes of plastic, which took many years to break down in landfills, into something of continued use, he said.

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

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