Chemical conversion of plastic waste into fuel
17.07.2020 | by Taugrel
The United Nations estimates that more than 8 million tons of plastics flow into the oceans each year. A new chemical conversion process could transform the world's polyolefin waste, a form of plastic, into useful products, such as clean fuels and other items. Wang, Kai Jin, a graduate student, and Wan-Ting Grace Chen, a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue, are the inventors of the technology, which can convert more than 90 percent of polyolefin waste into many different products, including pure polymers, naphtha, fuels, or monomers.
The team is collaborating with Gozdem Kilaz, an assistant professor in the School of Engineering Technology, and her doctoral research assistant, Petr Vozka, in the Fuel Laboratory of Renewable Energy of the School of Engineering Technology, to optimize the conversion process to produce high-quality gasoline or diesel fuels.
The conversion process incorporates selective extraction and hydrothermal liquefaction. Once the plastic is converted into naphtha, it can be used as a feedstock for other chemicals or further separated into specialty solvents or other products. The clean fuels derived from the polyolefin waste generated each year can satisfy 4 percent of the annual demand for gasoline or diesel fuels.
Some results of Wang's study were published Jan. Wang became inspired to create this technology after reading about the plastic waste pollution of the oceans, ground water, and the environment. Of all the plastics produced over the past 65 years 8. The remaining 79 percent have gone into landfills or the oceans.
The World Economic Forum predicts that by the oceans will hold more plastic waste than fish if the waste continues to be dumped into bodies of water. This is a catastrophe, because once these pollutants are in the oceans, they are impossible to retrieve completely.
The work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the global advancements in sustainability as part of Purdue's th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.
Wang said she hopes her technology will stimulate the recycling industry to reduce the rapidly rising amount of plastic waste. She and her team are looking for investors or partners to assist with demonstrating this technology at a commercial scale. Materials provided by Purdue University. Original written by Kelsey Henry. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News.
Wang said the technology could convert up to 90 percent of the polyolefin plastic. Story Source: Materials provided by Purdue University. ScienceDaily, 6 February Purdue University. Millions of tons of plastic waste could be turned into clean fuels, other products: Chemical conversion process could transform polyolefin waste.Scientists have come up with a new way to turn plastic waste into liquid fuel.
It uses less energy than previous methods, and produces a higher quality end product. The technique breaks down polyethylene - the most abundant plastic in the world, used to make everything from plastic film and food packaging, to water bottles and shopping bags. Around million tonnes of the stuff is produced every year.
As Fiona MacDonald reported for us earlier this year95 percent of plastic is thrown out after being used just once, and 8 million tonnes of plastic - or one garbage truck-full every minute - ends up in our oceans each year.
The solution is fairly simple - we need to turn plastic waste into a commodity that people can actually use, and given all the hydrogen and carbon that makes up polyethylene, liquid hydrocarbon fuel is the obvious choice. Without special treatment, polyethylene will just keep existing in its current state, thanks to the incredibly stable single atomic bonds that give it its structure. If you heat it up enough, these bonds will finally come apart, but not in any practical way.
To address this "low energy efficiency and lack of product control"Guan and his team paired up with researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in China to devise a plastic recycling technique that requires a whole lot less heat. The process uses chemical catalysts that are normally used to produce polymersand sets them to breaking down polymers instead. The first catalyst breaks apart the hydrogen atoms from the carbon atoms, which causes the carbon atoms to form bonds with each other.
These newly bonded carbon atoms form double, rather than single, bonds, which a second catalyst can come in and break. The separated hydrogen atoms are introduced back into the mix, and the process is repeated a number of times. All this chopping and changing, deleting, breaking, adding, and rearranging, allows the team to carefully and gradually change the structure of the polyethylene into either a diesel fuel or a wax that can be used for industrial purposes. But the downsides are the process is slow - taking about four days to complete - and the catalysts are expensive to use.
Robert Service explains for Science Magazine:. They are also expensive and decompose after breaking apart just a few thousand polymer chains, far less than the millions carried out by most commercial catalysts. Guan and his team are now working on how to make their technique even more efficient, so hopefully we can start dredging up all that buried pollution and finally making use of it.
The study has been published in Science Advances.Book your free demo and find out what else Mya 4 from Radleys can do. UK scientists have discovered a simple sunlight-driven process to transform plastic waste into hydrogen and other useful chemicals. Plastic waste contains a lot of energy and when you throw it away, you throw away energy. Kuehnel together with Erwin Reisnerfrom the University of Cambridge, and colleagues have devised a method that uses cadmium sulfide quantum dots as photocatalysts to degrade plastics.
The process, called photoreforming, is simple. They drop the photocatalyst onto the plastic then immerse the plastic in an alkaline solution. Irradiation with sunlight reduces water from the solution to hydrogen while the plastic polymers simultaneously oxidise to small organic molecules.
The group tested the system by photoreforming three common polymers; polylactic acid, polyethylene terphthalate and polyurethane. The results matched those of state-of-the-art hydrogen evolution photocatalysis systems that employed expensive sacrificial reagents.
New technique turns common plastic waste into fuel
Photoreforming requires four components — a photocatalyst, substrate, sunlight and water — to generate H2 at ambient pressure and temperature. To properly recycle plastics and transform them into new useable plastics requires pure and clean materials. The team demonstrated the applicability of the process to real-world waste by photoreforming a plastic bottle to hydrogen with an efficiency comparable to pure polymers.
We were worried that the stabilisers would stop us from using real waste or give a huge drop in performance. Plastic waste is recycled to hydrogen using sunlight and a CdS photocatalyst.
Further research on the bulk plastic solid waste polymers and on improving the technology to an economically viable one are still required. Kuehnel says they are now working to scale up the process and apply it to other types of waste. We could scale up the process and use it for treating the leftover waste in a recycling plant. Ultimately, maybe people could treat their own plastic waste in their gardens, similarly to compost, with a solar waste-reforming device.
You put your plastic waste in it and get hydrogen to heat your house or fuel your car. T Uekert et alEnergy Environ. Angeli Mehta explores the evolution of plastic recycling technology and looks to a rubbish-free future. One pot technique can turn polycarbonates into polymer used in specialist engineering and medical roles.The conversion process uses selective extraction and hydrothermal liquefaction to turn the plastic into naphtha, a kind of flammable oil that can then be used as a feedstock for other chemicals or further separated into specialty solvents or other products.
Wang became inspired to create this technology after reading about the plastic waste pollution of the oceans, ground water, and the environment. Of all the plastics produced over the past 65 years 8. The World Economic Forum predicts that bythe oceans will hold more plastic waste than fish if the waste continues to be dumped into bodies of water. This is a catastrophe, because once these pollutants are in the oceans, they are impossible to retrieve completely.
Wang hopes that the financial benefits of using her patented technology will stimulate the recycling industry to reduce the rapidly rising amount of plastic waste. She and her team are now looking for investors or partners to assist with demonstrating this technology at a commercial scale. Reprinted from Pursue University. You must be logged in to post a comment. Sign in Join. Sign in. Log into your account. Sign up. Password recovery.
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Mar 18, GNN Podcast.Polyethylene, the plastic and its derivatives used in making the majority of the world's disposable beverage containers, is produced at a staggering volume of over million metric tons each year, most of which ends up in landfills. High-density polyethylene HDPElow-density PE LDPE and linear low-density PE LLDPEare the types of polyethylene used in beverage and food containers because their chemical composition makes them inert and, therefore, not likely to degrade or interact with any of the chemicals normally found in things we're going to eat.
Unfortunately, this also means that because they don't react to most chemical compounds, they are not readily or easily broken down by substances generally applied to other recyclable materials. This fact has often led to various alternative methods of recycling, or upcycling plastic bottles into everything from plastic pellets to make snack bagsplastic string to be woven into other productsand entire villages made of plastic bottle houses.
Unfortunately, the standard industrial method to recycle such plastic waste usually involves less "friendly" forms of disposal. To help create a better industrial-scale method of recycling and chemical recovery, researchers from a joint US-China collaboration project at UIC and SIOC have come up with a new method to break down polyethylene that produces fewer toxic by-products and more useful compounds. Using by-products of petrochemical production known as alkanes saturated hydrocarbons where the hydrogen and carbon atoms are arranged in a branched formation in which all of the carbon to carbon connections are single bondsthe scientists were able to separate and reconstitute the polymer molecules into other useful compounds.
The process is what is know as cross-alkane metathesis, which is essentially a double-dissolution chemical reaction where two parts of two substances form two new substances. In this case, the technique selectively degrades a range of PE plastics into fuels and waxes under milder conditions and in a more controlled manner than in current industrial processes of plastic breakdown and recovery. Future work will see the researchers addressing efficiencies, including increasing catalyst activity and lifetime, reducing running costs, and evolving the processes to help turn other types of plastic waste into usable products.
The results of this research were recently published in the journal Science Advances. Source: UC Irvine. LOG IN. Menu HOME. Search Query Submit Search. Facebook Twitter Flipboard LinkedIn. Researchers have devised a way to recycle plastic waste into usable liquid fuel. View 1 Image. Colin Jeffrey. Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV.
Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf. Sign in to post a comment. Turning Plastic waste into fuel will help not only the waste disposal issue faced by all the advanced countries but also the valuable fuel generated will help to ease the fuel costs and transportation.
The scientists should be complimented for this unique research. All advanced including India countries should provide monetary support for this research that will help to reduce the overall cost and spped u the research early. Bhasker Raj Bangalore India.
DaveWesely June 23, PM. How does putting inert plastic into a landfill cause environmental problems?Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new chemical process to convert polypropylene and other polyolefin waste plastic into fuel and other new products. Polypropylene is used in everything from food containers to furniture and makes up around 23 per cent of all plastic waste. The conversion process relies upon selective extraction and hydrothermal liquefaction. Once the plastic is converted into naphtha a mixture of hydrocarbonsit can be used as a feedstock for other chemicals or further separated into specialty solvents or other products.
According to the researchers, clean fuels derived from the polyolefin waste generated each year could theoretically satisfy four per cent of the annual demand for petrol or diesel fuel. Wang was inspired to develop the technology after reading about the extent of plastic pollution humanity has created.
Around 8. The remaining 79 per cent have gone into landfills or the oceans. According to the World Economic Forum, by the oceans will hold more plastic waste than fish if current rates of dumping persist.How Steve Jobs Saved Pixar from Bankruptcy
This is a catastrophe, because once these pollutants are in the oceans, they are impossible to retrieve completely. I thought most products from Polypropylene are actually recyclable, is not it just easier and more cost effective to just recycle it to another product?
This process does not seems to be that environmental friendly!
It seems that the super-critical steam usage is to provide the extra hydrogen needed to make lighter hydrocarbons. They will need to find some catalysts as the reaction time at high pressure appears to be far too long to be economic. Look forward to more info on this process. You would think these could chew up a lot of garbage in a short time, but maybe too expensive. Containing super-critical water reactor is certainly no laughing matter at all, and long reaction times equate with poor economics.
Much easier to use high-temperature pyrolysis to convert plastic and other waste to gas for use in combined cycle generators. Skip to content. View jobs. Latest Articles Comments 5. Opinion Manufacturing. Amir 12th February at am. Reply Link. James Stewart 12th February at pm. Bill Church 13th February at pm. Cancel reply.Waste plastic management is biggest problem now due to their non-biodegradability nature. Now conversion of waste plastic into fuel oil is one of the best means of recycling plastic waste.
This technology not only protects the environment, but also helps us to conserve the valuable petroleum resources.
But type of plastics will also effect the rate of conversion of into fuel. This process involves catalytic degradation of waste plastic into fuel range hydrocarbon i. A catalytic cracking process in which waste plastic were cracked at very high temperature, the resulting gases were condensed to recover liquid fuels. Secondly, heat the reactor by burning the fuel materials such as coal, or wood, or natural gas, oil. The pyrolysis reactor will be slowly heated, when the temperature reaches around degrees, the oil gas will be generated.
Chemical process transforms plastic waste to fuel
Thirdly, oil gas will go into cooling system to be liquid oil. The gas which can not be liquefied under normal pressure will go back to combustion system.
It will replace the fuel material to burn the reactor, which is energy saving and environment friendly. When the temperature falls down to 40 degrees, the carbon black can be discharged automatically. Lastly, the hot smoke produced from the reactor can achieve national emission standard after being processed by the advanced dedusting system.
There is no doubt that the whole pyrolysis process is safe, energy-saving and environment friendly. And at the same time, we can get some end products from waste plastic pyrolysis. They are widely used in the different fields:.
And their daily handing capacity ranges from 6 MT to 24 MT. And the following is their detailed parameters information:.
New Chemical Process Converts Plastic Waste into Fuel, University Researchers Looking for Investors
Your Country:. Your Company:. Flow Chart of Converting Plastic into Fuel: There is no doubt that the whole pyrolysis process is safe, energy-saving and environment friendly. They are widely used in the different fields: 1 plastic oil from plastic waste can be widely used as fuel oil in industries such as steel and iron and boiler factories, ceramics, power or chemical industries or hotels, restaurants etc.
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