Fuel Alchemy: Plastic to Oil

By Admin
Written by Heather Rushworth The days of dumping trash into overcrowded landfills may be over. Just as you would not dump gold, diamonds, or hundred...

 

Written by Heather Rushworth

 

The days of dumping trash into overcrowded landfills may be over. Just as you would not dump gold, diamonds, or hundred dollar bills into garbage bins, you soon will hesitate to throw out your plastic water bottle, as the once typical trash is taking on a whole new value. New developments in technology seem to have done the unfathomable—and scientists have now found a means to turn plastic pollution into oil.

Scientifically referred to as “Thermal Depolymerization” the depolymerization process reduces complex organic materials—usually biomass plastic—into light crude oil. Scientists originally based this process of the geological processes they believed produced fossil fuels. Utilizing pressure and heat, the process breaks down the long chain polymers of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, decomposing them into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons.

Ultimately, the process runs off the principle that plastic was once oil, and should be easily converted back to oil, and utilized as fuel instead of material. Amazingly, plastic holds a higher energy value than just about any other type of waste.

The Japanese company Blest created one of the first machines to convert plastic into oil, and they are introducing their discovery to the planet by educating children in impoverished nations to utilize the technology in their villages.

Check out April's issue of Energy Digital!

The easy to use machine uses a temperature-controlled electric heater which converts the plastic into gas without burning CO2. This is a revolutionary technology for impoverished countries, which can use the oil to fuel their stoves, boilers, generators and even as fuel for their cars.

There does not seem to be a downside to this technology, as the invention runs off of twenty cents worth of electricity, with little environmental ramifications. While the machine is currently limited to processing polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene, it holds the promise of an eco-friendly source of oil, and a dramatic cut to our landfill waste.

In a world where the price of oil is always going up, the gross layer of smog is always thickening, and the garbage dumps are perpetually growing larger trash mountains, it is this type of invention which will put a dent in our over consumption, by consuming our own bi-products as non-hazardous fuel.  

 

DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY DIGITAL IPAD APP 

Share

Featured Articles

Alfa Laval to supply world’s largest green hydrogen plant

The facility is being built in NEOM, the US$500bn futuristic city being developed in Saudi Arabia

COP27 agrees to climate compensation fund

The deal is said to be a historic first in acknowledging the vast inequities of the climate crisis

North America's natural gas can help mitigate energy crisis

In the effort towards decarbonisation, North America could be a key player in providing affordable natural gas, addressing energy security issues

COP27: Egypt and Norway to build 100MW green hydrogen plant

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy company Masdar opens office in Saudi Arabia

Renewable Energy

Ørsted closes US$140m transaction with ECP for US portfolio

Renewable Energy