|Trash to cash: Agilyx turns waste plastic into crude oil|
|CEO: Chris Ulum|
|Capital raised: more than $26 million|
|Strategic partners: Waste Management, Total Fuels, Kleiner Perkins|
|Patents: one issued (August 2010), five pending|
|Alternative energy subsidies: None|
The second step was to prove that their system was commercially viable. This took some maneuvering. Ulum reels off the major milestones in rapid succession, from memory. Having proved that they could make good oil from bad plastic, they then proved that:
- Someone would buy that oil at a good price;
- Patents would protect their technology;
- The appropriate regulators would issue the necessary permits;
- Top investors such as Kleiner Perkins of Silicon Valley would back the business;
- Dominant handlers of oil and waste (French oil giant Total Fuels and U.S. waste powerhouse Waste Management) were willing to sign contracts to get in on the opportunity.
“We’ve done all of those things over the past 36 months,” says Ulum. “Now we’re in a position to go out and execute.”
Agilyx sold its first truckload of oil to U.S. Oil & Refining in Tacoma, Wash., in December 2009. After two and a half years of production, the company is shipping as much oil to Tacoma in a week as it used to produce in a quarter. But Ulum’s plan never involved creating a huge production plant in Tigard. Instead, the company plans to help partners who are already in the waste industry to install plastic-to-oil systems at recycling plants, landfills and waste transfer stations in the U.S. and abroad.