Up to 30 jobs are promised in a €12 million development in Portlaoise in what is being described as the world’s first commercial plastic ‘plastic waste to wax’ plant.
The Trifol plant will be officially opened today, Monday, by Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Justice and Equality. Those behind the enterprise have say its business is to provide a new future for old plastic.
Employing 16 people initially, it is claimed that there is significant expansion potential to grow through exporting the technologies to the UK, European and US markets.
Trifol says it produces eco-friendly and value-added ‘EnviroWax’ from 100% plastic waste. The company says wax is widely used in a variety of industries from personal cosmetics to candles, and from crayons to chewing gum.
Trifol’s technologies claims to be able to process over 50% of plastic waste such as polyethene and polypropylene film typically used in packaging applications. Trifol says it will procure directly and indirectly from industrial and commercials sources.
It says the global demand for wax is growing four times faster than supply. The global wax market is currently valued at some $8.1bn and is growing at 4.6% per annum.
Speaking at the launch Minister Flanagan said plastic Waste is polluting our oceans and causing enormous damage.
"I am delighted that an Irish company is taking the lead in turning this environmental disaster into a commercial opportunity – and being able to create  jobs and, at the same time providing a great boost for Portlaoise and the Midlands. The company has chosen Portlaoise as a central location to convert plastic waste into waxes.
"Most significantly Portlaoise will be a reference site to showcase this Irish technology, with a view to exporting the technology. I welcome this project and congratulate Pat and Daire and the entire team at Trifol in their achievements to date and wish them well for the future.”
Speaking on Trifol’s future plans, Founder and Chairman Patrick Alley said the company is delighted to open our first plant today.
"We could not have achieved this without the support of our shareholders, and board, and indeed the close collaboration of Queen’s University, and more recently the University of Limerick.
"We welcome the publication of the Government Climate Action Plan. It is a potential game changer which we believe will bring about a very positive structural change in our approach to environmental concerns. Government based schemes are used globally to support nascent environmental technology businesses like Trifol and we hope the Irish Government will put in place the required supports to fund this environmentally critical and developing Irish sector. It would help establish Portlaoise globally as a centre of excellence for our technologies.
"We are already in discussions with potential strategic partners in the waste industry in the UK, Europe and US to advance the next stages of our plans.”
Daire Gilmore CEO of Trifol commented said the launch would be just a first step for the business.
"Our plan is to expand on our site in Ireland, and several more in export markets over the next five years. We are now embarking on a new round of fundraising to finance the next phase of our development. We have had detailed discussions with potential customers and have already produced finished products to their specifications. Recent changes in the oil refining sector have led to major regional shortages of wax in Trifol target markets, with the demand for wax four times outstripping supply,” he said.
The patented processes that Trifol have developed followed intense research at Queen’s University Belfast, and further testing at the University of Limerick. Trifol established a pilot plant to develop and refine their technologies.
Chris Burge, Director and Co-Founder, SparkCrowdFunding is happy to be associated with an innovative high tech company like Trifol.
"We are excited that they chose SparkCrowdFunding as their partner for their first retail funding venture. It is a great opportunity for the public to make a modest investment in this new Irish developed technology company, that will turn the tide on plastic waste,” he said.
The company says each tonne of EnviroWax produced removes 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes of plastic waste from the environment. Additionally, Trifol says it can also produce wax ingredients for the production of synthetic lubricants – the new lubricants of the world.
The firm says Synthetic lubricants from recycled plastic provide higher quality, stability and engine performance than traditional mineral oil lubricants. Co-products from the Trifol process include gasoil and naphtha streams, that are ideal feedstocks for oil refineries and/or virgin plastics production.