The process of chemical conversion was established at Purdue University is enabling scientists to convert recycled shopping bags into pellets into oil. Using the procedure of distillation, oil is separated into the diesel-like fuel and gasoline-like fuel.
The United Nations predicts that around 8 million loads of plastics is flowing in oceans every year. The new procedure of chemical conversion can convert the world’s polyolefin waste, type of plastic, in useful products like clean fuels and new products.
Linda Wang, Maxine Spencer Nichols Lecturer in Davidson School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University and research team leader stated that their main aim is to produce a driving force for reprocessing by transforming polyolefin waste in the valuable products, involving naphtha, polymers or other clean fuels. The technology of chemical conversion has the ability to increase the revenues of the reprocessing industry and contract the stock of plastic waste”.
The inventors of chemical conversion technology that are transforming about 90% of polyolefin waste into several different products, involving naphtha, monomers, fuels or pure polymers are Wan-Ting Chen and Wang, Kai Jin, a postdoctoral scientist at Purdue University. A team of a postdoctoral scientist is working together with Gozdem Kilaz, an assistant professor in School of Engineering and doctoral research assistant, Petr Vozka, in Fuel Laboratory of Renewable Energy of School of Engineering Technology, to enhance the process of conversion to generate high-quality diesel or gasoline fuels.
The process of chemical conversion integrates hydrothermal liquefaction and selective extraction. As soon as plastic is transformed into naphtha, which can be recycled as feedstock for other chemicals or parted into specialty solvents or products. Clean fuels are obtained from polyolefin waste produced every year can fulfill about 4% of average demand for diesel or gasoline fuels.
Wang was influenced for creating the chemical conversion technology after analyzing about pollution of plastic waste of ground water, environment and oceans. In spite of the plastics generated in the past years, around 12% plastic is burnt and only 9% is recycled, whereas the remaining 79% is disposed into oceans or landfills. World Economic Forum estimates that in the coming year’s oceans will contain a lot of plastic waste as compared to fish if dumping the waste into water bodies will be continued.
Wang stated that “Plastic waste disposal, thrown away or recycled, does not results into the end of story”. “Plastics are degrading slowly and releasing toxic chemicals and microplastics into water and land. This is a disaster, owing to the presence of the pollutants in oceans, it is not possible to retrieve totally”.
Wang commented that the technology will be helpful in stimulating the industry of recycling to lessen the speedily growing quantity of plastic waste. The team of the wand is searching for partners or investors to help in demonstrating the technology at a commercial level.