Science and business

BIOFABRIK makes energy from waste

Dresden start-ups – Part 1

BIOFABRIK Dresden
The start-up BIOFABRIK uses a chemical process to convert plastic waste into fuel. © Hans Braxmeier / Pixabay

Manufactured on an industrial scale for just over a century now, plastic has conferred great advantages on human society. Because it is so light and flexible, this artificial material is found all over the world in immense quantities. Scientists have even found plastic particles lodged in the Arctic ice, and away from the well-organised cities of the industrialised West, a worrying phenomenon is encountered in many countries where cities, villages and entire rivers are awash with plastic waste. BIOFABRIK wants to change all of that.

Making recycling pay

The start-up BIOFABRIK is located in the Dresden suburb of Rossendorf. Oliver Riedel, CEO and founder, describes the site as “surrounded by greenery and ten minutes from one of the most beautiful cities in Europe”. He and his team of engineers have developed a system that turns plastic into fuel. Pyrolysis is the process by which oxygen is removed from a range of different plastics to leave behind a diesel-like liquid.

The containers equipped by Biofabrik are designed to help mitigate the global waste problem. © Biofabrik

In order to direct operations at many scattered locations, the system is controlled by app. “In Asia, Africa and Latin America, everything happens today via mobile phones,” says Riedel. The equipment is transported in a container from place to place, enabling waste to be collected and recovered in even the most remote locations. The business concept is an ingenious one, because local people are paid for every kilo of single-use plastic they bring for recycling. In this way, waste is turned into energy while at the same time boosting the local economy.

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