foto credit Deviantart.net
PTF, “Power to Fuel”: its Mission Vision and Values or put more simply: What’s with the Music on the Website?
Chemistry is akin to Music: both are a form of composition of discrete elements and then they are blended all over again. What then emerges, needs a specific label and correct positioning, otherwise the people who consume, cannot be reached. And when the people cannot be reached, we cannot charge for the final product. And then we cannot pay, or even attempt to charge the composers. The question that remains: who pays. Cradle to cradle is a fascinating concept, but very hard to pin down. Let’s agree, then, that we are all in this together. The entire value-responsibility chain must be identified.
The first song we featured in 2014, was Birdie’s “People”, and we were very grateful for the inspiration. If nothing else, PTF is about people, meaning hearts and minds. Nothing we do or aspire to, can be done without the people who actually flip the switches. Including their families and their extended families. Without the carpenter, no trestle-table to rest the plastic calculator on and much though we value automation, it always takes at least one person to turn on the light. The second song we featured, was “Koop Islands Blues”, because the conventional blues are an everyday part of our business. This slightly eerie little song, reminds of Astrud Gilberto’s rendition of “Girl from Ipanema”, and the relevance being that Gilberto never spoke English (so she must have been pretty well un-aware of the meaning of her lyrics) and it reflects PTF’s journey through partnerships. Partnerships found, and lost again, and made again, because we were so young.
The science of recycling, production to distillates and ‘petrochemicals’ in itself is still in its infancy, even anno 2015, in the sense of what exactly PTF has missioned for itself. The actual niche we have carved out at PTF is at once generic, but also highly specific. Apart from people, we also appreciate machines and value elegant engineering.
We even researched history during our own development.
“Petrochemistry is a science that can readily be applied to fundamental human needs, such as health, hygiene, housing and food. To many, this comes as a surprise. The word "chemistry" itself conjures up a world of mystery - what it really does is very much taken for granted. Yet it is a fascinating science and an inventive business sector, constantly adapting to new environments and meeting new challenges”*.
“The chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasures amid smoke and vapor, soot and flame, poisons and poverty; yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that may I die if I were to change places with the Persian king.”
Johann Joachim Becher, 1635 to 1682. Johann J Becher was born in Speyer, and in Speyer, a small but lovely place near Frankfurt in somewhere in the heart of Europe, they even invented the word petrol.
The third song we featured, was “Boots of Chinese Plastic”. It is the leap in understanding we have made in the last 5 years. Plastic is both our passion and our fear, but also our business. Plastic dominates our thinking, our innovation and it is practically a religion to us. If in our own youth we were reached by Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather”, already pointing to western modernization’s careless exploitation of that which is termed the “factors of production”, then we too progressed through the 1980’s without a second thought about our own over-consumption and careless treatment of our consumptive environment.
Plastic: as PTF, we were stopped short in our tracks by “Plastic”: this wonderful commodity, this ever present super-product, and every day part of our convenient lives, the vastness of the implications of the product. How to solve the perceived problem? But what is exactly the problem and how to define it? The problem is such, that it just does not go away, and at first, and still does, attracts dreamers and academics, who hang their hats on a mission without a result in sight. But they flagged it up and so it cannot be ignored.
Our Commercial values
At PTF we do not deal in generalities. We deal in facts. How much does the feed-stock cost and what can it be turned into? How much does shipping, transport and storage cost and how many people does it really take to change a light-bulb, and how many traffic-movements does the driver need to perform before he can break for lunch.
What is the actual effect of our business on the environment and do we make a difference to the local citizens. Can we truly clean the oceans, or is that too vague an issue to tackle? We therefore left that ocean-issue to the ivory-tower, on the basis that even unrealistic publicity is a form of free advertising. The dreamy ocean-cleaners have delivered much to add to our cause, by bottom-line money saved which PTF does not have to spend on public awareness-advertising. While the ocean-cleaners raise “guilt-money” PTF is still patiently waiting for the geo-apps developers to locate that famous plastic island.
In short: since 2009, we researched, planned, investigated, adopted, discarded and calculated. We built a business case, we re-calculated, we piloted, we tested and we rolled-out. We travelled Europe and even the World, on a shoestring, we checked facts about mountains of waste plastic and landfills measuring 40 meter-deep by 20 football-fields wide and explored the environmental plain, from Spain to Africa, from Germany to Switzerland, from the US to Asia- as well as the realism of extracting any feed-stock from the damage already done. We never yet set about re-educating anyone in terms of consumption, because we figured that we are not in the business of educating our fellow-men, but in the business of carving out a space, a deliverable process, that can stand the technical test of time. We even verified medical and hospital waste plastic, and we had endless discussions with car-manufacturers. PTF built a data-base that is superior to any environmental enthusiast’s statistic.
The full cradle to cradle process we are able to operate today is the conversion of waste plastic to ultra low sulphur marine gas oil, so we can at least power the very ship that transports the cargo it carries. A small scale on the world level, but with realistic expectations of ROI, and our incremental investments of 100s of millions of dollars per plant. We shunned investment from parties who would not add value to our cradle to cradle business-case and we continue to maintain an investor profile which reflects our values and long-term deliverables.
The colleagues at PTF today, are people who definitely care much for the environment which we represent and so we pooled our skill sets from the learning curve we were privileged to obtain from our first employers and to date, knowing that we are ourselves the very deliverables we stand for (given that we are all made of carbon) and thus achieve the bottom-line results. We hope you enjoy the music.
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