From Waste to Oil
22 June 2015
The vision of the newly started company Cassandra Oil is both simple and beautiful; reducing waste going into landfill in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way, while creating prosperity by generating jobs. Cassandra Oil’s unique, patented technology will look to address future markets including oil sands, oil shale, electronic waste, and landfill mining, and this is just the beginning.
Founder Anders Olsson is a creative Swedish entrepreneur and inventor who holds approximately fifteen patents.
“I happen to think that problems are good. The reality is that if you don’t see the problems, you won’t find any solutions. The fun part with problems is that it is an exciting challenge in finding a solution. You need to be a little bit crazy to do this, but I know a thing or two about physics and chemistry, so I never give up.” Olsson tells The LINK.
Due to current global environmental issues, many countries are sequentially changing their regulations, making it more expensive for inhabitants and companies to throw waste into landfill. There is an increasing need of developing new solutions in order to save the world from becoming a large smelling dump. Anders Olsson early noticed this problem and as the stubborn problem solver he is, Olsson soon invented and implemented a unique, ground-breaking technology to produce oil from different waste materials. The name of Cassandra Oil originates from the Greek mythology.
Olsson had been working on developing the technology for many years and in the beginning no one believed that it was going to work. According to the myth, a Greek God was in love with a princess named Cassandra, but after she rejected him, he cursed her with the ability to look into the future, while making it so that no one would ever believe her.
“The Chairman of the board saw similarities in this story with my journey, and thought that ‘Cassandra’ was a well-fitting name. Also, it is a bit controversial with a female name in the male dominated oil industry”.
The thermal units used in the oil production are capable of processing different feed materials simultaneously – from vehicle tyres and rubber to non-recyclable plastics and waste generated by up and downstream activities of oil industries. The environmentally friendly, continuous process of turning waste material into oil takes place in a concealed, oxygen-free environment (the CASO reactor) with no emissions or ash. The patented thermal technology, invented by Olsson, utilises catalytic cracking to generate oil from the hydrocarbons contained in the waste materials by generating high temperatures through kinetic energy.
The CASO thermal units are totally automatic, and require a minimum number of staff. They are designed to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week with little down time for maintenance, and each unit is run and monitored by a computerised system in a separate control room. The technology is currently implemented in Iraq and Spain, but Cassandra Oil has got very far in the preparations of contracts with partners on almost all continents.
“We are planning to install 120 machines around the world over the next six years as we do have enough partners in the pipeline to achieve this. As of today, we can produce 22 machines each year, so we will most probably achieve our goal by a high margin.” Olsson explains.
The CASO machines have a relatively high energy efficiency, where 90 percent of the produced oil is sellable and 10 percent is used to operate the machine. The oil that is produced has a higher value than district heating, making the product highly competitive on the market. Cassandra Oil did not need to put much effort into making themselves visible on the market so far, and little marketing spend has been necessary. Instead, clients often contact the company, having heard about the environmentally friendly business idea and wanting to be a part of it.
The rubbish disposal industry all over the world is intensively looking for solutions to handle the increasing waste and therefore sometimes offers Cassandra Oil compensation to take care of it. They have quickly gained important contacts with players in the rubbish disposal industry, the oil industry and also influential politicians. Cassandra Oil has joined forces together with the Spanish group Sacyr to implement the first CASO WtE plant in Spain to process and turn waste plastics and waste tires into oil. The collaboration is working so well that they are currently looking into further expansion in the area in the near future. The company also have an agreement with the government of Iraq, giving them sole right to all heavy oil in Iraq for the next 25 years.
“There is an incredible amount of heavy oil in Iraq. The problem is that we don’t have enough financiers that want to invest in our operations in Iraq. No one wants to inject money into the country due to the current instable situation.”
Though the future looks bright for Cassandra Oil, it has not always been a walk in the park for the Swedish oil producing company. The production and implementation of the CASO machines took longer than expected. Having businesses in several countries as well as ongoing discussions about future contracts all over the world, it has been a challenging journey not in the least due to language barriers. The recently more complex political relationship between Saudi Arabia and Sweden has also come to affect Cassandra Oil and their ventures in the Middle East. And on top of that, two weeks after the plant site housing was implemented in Iraq, ISIS came.
“We have a heart-to-heart relationship with the former Minister of Environment in Iraq, but we have lost one year of operation with them due to the problems that have occurred. Business in Iraq is profitable but we need to prioritise safety of our employees.”
When Anders Olsson speaks of Cassandra Oil’s future, he does it with great optimism.
“There are a lot of companies that develop ideas but don’t have the stamina to realise the whole process as we do. We satisfy a need that no one else does, which is to process waste materials that no one else wants. Because many countries have made policy changes in regulations regarding garbage disposal, an increasing amount of stakeholders are coming to us because their need to get rid of waste and this boosts our business.”
In the future, Cassandra Oil is looking to expand its business and enter more countries where oil production will be profitable. Another vision is to exhume old dumps and use the minerals that can be recycled. Other possible future markets that is to be considered is landfill mining, oil shale, oil spill and electronic waste.
“Electronic waste is highly profitable due to the amount of gold, silver and copper. We want to eliminate the plastics and the isolation to get ‘cleaner’ minerals that we could use for other purposes,” Olsson tells The LINK.
The core business of Cassandra Oil truly is genius. In a time when it is imperative to not only think about our environmental footprint but actually turn ideas into action, great initiators that can make a change on the global impact, while inspiring others, are vital. Cassandra Oil not only serves its shareholders and creates prosperity by generating jobs in countries where it is needed, they also contribute to the future by helping the environment, leading a path for others to enter.