Converting plastic waste into fuel
Scientists have developed a new method to convert plastic waste into hydrogen through pyrolysis, a high-temperature chemical process.
Unlike PET bottles, plastic waste containing contaminated food packaging, Styrofoam and plastic bags is difficult to recycle. Most of the time it is incinerated or dumped in landfills. This leads to water and soil pollution.
With a newly developed method, researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore can now convert plastic waste into two main products: Into hydrogen and a form of solid carbon called carbon nanotubes - a high-value material used in biomedical and industrial applications. Hydrogen is useful for generating electricity and running fuel cells such as those found in electric vehicles, with the only by-product being clean water.
Plastic from the sea
For the trial, marine litter was collected from local waters in collaboration with the Ocean Purpose Project, a non-governmental organisation. Together with industry partner Bluefield Renewable Energy, the joint research project shows that all non-recyclable plastics can be converted into fuels and high-value materials.