A group of researchers representing Purdue University in West Lafayette presented a technology that allows plastic to be converted to fuel. The development is not only capable of providing a significant share of the demand for gasoline or diesel, but also is expected to help to improve the ecological situation on our planet.
Experts called their technology idrothermal liquefaction. It allows you to melt polymers of propylene, and then dissolve them in supercritical water (in this state the substance is “between” the liquid and gaseous phase). As a result, plastic turns into a substance from which it is possible to obtain hydrocarbon fuels.
The problem of environmental pollution with plastic is becoming more and more urgent every year. Although part of the plastic trash is sent for recycling, today only a small portion goes through the process. At the same time, much of the plastic (by some estimates, up to 12 million tons per year) is dumped into the ocean. Plastic debris is found, among other things, in small fish and jellyfish, and since these creatures are food for other marine life, microscopic particles of plastic “rise” along the food chain, threatening, among all the aforementioned creatures, humankind, who also eat the fish. Large marine inhabitants also suffer from such debris, recently in Indonesia a dead body of a large whale had swum ashore, with about six kilograms of plastic in its stomach.
There are also other evidences of plastic contamination is more shoking, if you still have not been convinced. Scientists recently discovered that the so-called “garbage patch”, slowly moving between Japan and California, includes more than 350 million tons of garbage. Similarly, in May last year, Australian scientists discovered on a relatively small and separate from society island in the Pacific Ocian 38 million items weighing about 18 tons, of plastic trash.
Experts suggest that if we keep maintaining the current rate of ocean pollution by the middle of the century, the plastic in the ocean will be more than the fish.