Millions of plastic bottles are now slowly degrading in landfills across the globe. Until recently, there was little to no practical application for the old plastics that have long been used to create water bottles and other food packaging. But now, researchers have found that plastics can actually have a number of uses beyond packaging. Studies have shown that plastics can now be used to power your vehicle, and within this latest post, our junk removal team will take a look at the latest research on the subject.
The study of this new technique took place at the University of California in 2016. The research team found that they could use a cheap oil refinement byproduct called alkane and two catalysts to cause the breakdown of the plastics into their original components: hydrogen and carbon. Once plastics are broken down in this way, the resulting fuel can be used within the combustion process and could offer a great alternative to traditional oil products. In addition, because of the simplicity of the resulting fuel, the product burns cleanly, limiting emissions.
Scale Is a Difficult Challenge
While the process has not yet been put to practical use within the marketplace, it has been show to work effectively in testing. The key challenge for teams trying to replicate the results for the commercial space is scalability. Using the current method, the team has only been able to produce grams of fuel at a relatively low cost.
The costs for producing fuel in this way rise significantly when being scaled up to produce the tons of fuel required for the marketplace. This is principally due to two expensive ingredients used in the proces. Both the iridium catalyst and the rhenium catalyst used within this process are exceptionally expensive. The current trial method involved using a ratio of 30:1 of plastics to catalyst. To ensure the process is economically viable, research teams must be able to show they can achieve the optimal fuel output at a 10,000:1 ratio of plastics to catalyst.
While research is still taking place on the value of recycled plastics, the data shows the potential that using plastics for fuel can have in terms of reducing plastics at landfills and replacing our current fuels. We’re now moving towards a point where plastics could be reused effectively, and our environment could be protected from the breakdown of plastic products at landfills across the country. To discover more about this subject, contact our junk removal team today!