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Trash to cash: Agilyx turns waste plastic into crude oil

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Articles - October 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011


CEO: Chris Ulum
Founded: 2004
Employees: 35
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.




Sustainable   Business
0 #1 Right on!Sustainable Business 2011-10-04 14:31:34
What a terrific idea, good job guys. I'm a little unclear what position you are going for in the market (factory operator, technology leaser, refinery contract negotiator?) but I am sure you will figure it out.
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