Scientists have a & # 39; world first & # 39; developed a method that can make non-recyclable plastic fuel that can be used to power cars and homes.
Experts from the University of Chester focused on materials that cannot be recycled, such as food packaging or plastic extracted from beaches.
They hoped to turn it into environmentally friendly hydrogen and electricity, while leaving no more plastic.
Developers claim that this is the first time that experts have developed a method where all types of dirty plastic are used and no residue is left behind.
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A working demonstrator at Thornton Science Park in Cheshire (photo) has proven that a & # 39; world first & # 39; method can turn non-recyclable plastic waste into electricity and hydrogen fuel
The process involves taking the unsorted, unwashed plastic and cutting into 2 inch (5 cm) strips before it is melted in a 1000 ° C oven. All plastic waste, including these ground circuit boards, can be placed in the machine and converted into electricity
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Plastic, which can be dirty and mixed, is cut into 2 inch (5 cm) strips
- The air is squeezed out before entering a closed glass rotary oven at 1000 ° C that immediately melts and gasses the plastic
- This so-called syngas has a very low CO2 content and is now diverted to an industry standard system – a pressure swing absorption (PSA) – for extracting hydrogen with two tons per day
- The rest of the gas is used to generate electricity via gas engines, because the plant will produce electricity as a by-product of hydrogen.
The process involves taking the unsorted, unwashed plastic and cutting into 2 inch (5 cm) strips before it is melted in a 1000 ° C oven.
Gases that produce in this procedure are then converted into energy.
It is hoped that the patented technology will soon be able to not only power its own 54-hectare factory in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, but also 7,000 homes on the electricity grid in one day and 7,000 hydrogen cars to two weeks in the UK. .
The innovation, created in collaboration with PowerHouse Energy, will then be rolled out in Asia to eliminate plastic from oceans and beaches around the world – with the Japanese government already interested, the company claims.
Professor Joe Howe, executive director of the Thornton Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester, said: & # 39; The technology converts all plastic waste into high-quality, low-carbon hydrogen syngas that can then be used to power gas engines.
& # 39; A by-product of this process is electricity, which means that waste plastic can not only fuel cars, but can also have the lights on at home. The world must certainly wake up with this technology.
& # 39; It makes waste plastic valuable because it can provide power to the cities of the world and the most important thing is that it can help clean up our oceans of waste plastic. & # 39;
The innovation could be rolled out across Asia to help eliminate plastic from oceans and beaches around the world – as litter is often found on the world's idyllic sands
Waste plastics such as those from plastic bottle labels (left) and plastics washing up on n beaches (right) can now both be used to generate fuel
Over the past two years, the innovative method has been tested through a prototype demonstrator (photo) at the University of Chester. An identical, although slightly smaller version of the huge oven will now be built at the Protos plant at Thornton Science Park, Ellesmere Port next spring
Thomas Mahy, 21, examines the previously unrepeatable plastic in the working demonstrator that can be converted into usable fuel and energy
An artist's impression of the new Protos site in Cheshire, which is expected to be completed next spring
The efficient system could be implemented in China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia to clean up waste plastic, with plastic on the beach becoming an epidemic
The last two years the innovative method has been tested with the help of a prototype demonstrator at the University of Chester.
An identical, although slightly smaller version of the huge oven will now be built at the Protos plant at Thornton Science Park, Ellesmere Port next spring.
The efficient conversion system will then be rolled out in China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia to clean up waste plastic, with plants purchasing cheap plastic waste – some from beaches – for just $ 50 USD per tonne.
Howard White, vice chairman of Waste2Tricity, who has the exclusive license to develop the technology in the UK, Japan, Korea, China and Southeast Asia, said: “We must have found a solution to the waste plastic problem in the world when we turn off the plastic tap in China, India and Asia – an area that produces 90 percent of the world's ocean plastic.
& # 39; Cleaning up the oceans is all well and good, but we must prevent plastic waste from entering the ecosystem.
& # 39; The University of Chester team has helped us develop this technology, which will soon be ready for large-scale deployment to remove most of the ocean plastics and low cost and low carbon dioxide-hydrogen the go-to fuel for the future. & # 39;
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