Made in Croatia

Ex IT Wizz Zeljko Brigljevic Creates Furnace That Breaks Down Plastic

By 19 January 2022

January the 19th, 2022 - Former IT king Zeljko Brigljevic has created something quite impressive indeed - a furnace that breaks down environmentally harmful plastic and warms up the room.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Zagreb-based company Makro Gradnja, with Zeljko Brigljevic at the helm, has been carefully developing this innovation that is now available on the market for a decade now - Macro Converter, a specially designed biomass stove that, simply put, heats the space while removing plastic and creates fuel, which makes this Croatian product unique.

According to Zeljko Brigljevic, it could cheaply heat family hotels, mountain lodges, family farms, nursing/care homes, churches, health centres, and at the same time work to clean up the environment and create energy suitable for purchase.

"We've combined biomass heating, which is very popular in more developed countries, with the simultaneous decomposition of plastics, ie ''pyrolytic depolymerisation'', which produces energy. Simply put - we designed a biomass or wood chip stove, which is practically everything that burns - from abandoned Christmas trees, furniture scraps, seagrass, agricultural scraps - and added the possibility of plastic pyrolysis. Such a furnace provides the most favourable heating because fuel is found everywhere, and at the same time it removes plastic from the environment and produces pyrolytic oil from it. The pyrolysis process can also convert rubber.

Excellent fuel can be obtained from old trainers. The oil can be delivered for further processing to industries, such as a small refinery, and such fuels on the free market reach purchase prices of up to ten kuna per litre, which also gives the user the opportunity to earn some money,'' explained Zeljko Brigljevic, who was the head of MakroMikro for 25 years, engaged in the sale of IT products.

He sold the company to Stublic Impex in Sesvete near Zagreb seven years ago, but while he was its director, the idea of ​​the Macro Converter was born. He said he noticed a growing pile of unusable plastic, toner cartridge cases, ink cartridges - that needed to be disposed of responsibly, and that the disposing of this form of waste cost almost more than buying a brand new product. That's how he came up with the idea of ​​a furnace that wouldn't only solve the problem of properly dealing with plastic waste, but go a step further at a time when renewable energy is an imperative in the world, and he realised everything through the company Makro Gradnja.

''The key advantages are the most favourable type of heating, the removal of plastic from the environment and all this with the possibility of making a profit by producing energy from waste. In short, in winter, everyone has to warm up at home. With the explosion of energy prices, biofuel heating is the safest, leads to long-term self-sustainability and independence, and reduces the risks of rapid increases in energy prices, such as gas. It also provides the opportunity to make money by selling pyrolytic oil. Most importantly, it is useful for the planet in order to reduce the amount of plastic lying around harming the environment,'' explained Zeljko Brigljevic.

The price of one furnace would range between 25 and 35,000 euros, depending on the level of the equipment required, and buyers can expect a return on investment between two and four years, depending on how often pyrolysis is used for heating. The product is suitable for all who have 12 m2 to accommodate the containers with the ovens and storage for the wood chips. It is ideal for farms, households with more buildings or larger houses, greenhouses, small and medium enterprises that have halls, warehouses, institutions, smaller hotels, or in short - all buildings up to 1000 m2.

Zeljko Brigljevic is being assisted in his venture by his son Boris, who, while developing the Macro Converter, graduated from the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology and also ''cooked'' the first batch of pyrolytic oil back in 2011 from old toner cartridges. He accepted, as Zeljko Brigljevic himself says, his father's "totally crazy idea", which then matured after the World Expo held in Las Vegas. Along with his son Boris, Brigljevic is especially grateful to the machinist, turner, welder and constructor Vlado and electronics and power engineer Perica.

There is interest in stoves, but they have reduced it to individuals who want energy-efficient solutions and who follow global trends in the need to care for nature.

"They've usually got significantly more good wishes than money, but that's also the case here in Croatia. As for our clients, I see people who are aware of the need for self-sustainability and want smarter solutions in the context of waste management. Our plan is to sign a long-term contract with our customers and buy pyrolytic oil and coal,'' he explained.

They are currently in the phase of presenting the Macro Converter to the domestic market, and by testing the echo corrections, they are preparing for serious clients.

"We can only hope that someone will recognise its potential for the environment, the economy and the population. But our focus will be on markets where there is significant interest in similar products, ie in more developed countries. The plan is to make series of products with the existing company,'' Zeljko noted.

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