An Environmental Wonder: Jet Fuel Can Now Be Made From Plastic Waste
Have you ever wondered if our waste could be turned into something useful?
Well, now it can with new technological innovations that enable us to reuse the plastic waste in a whole new way! Scientists have discovered how to turn plastic waste into jet fuel; and the best part? It only takes one hour!
Rather than using fossil fuels to gas up a jet, polyethylene can be converted into liquid hydrocarbon products with a new process that is both faster and more energy-efficient than before.
The research was completed by professionals of chemical engineering and bioengineering in Washington state. They have studied the process necessary to determine how they can use a catalyst and solvent hexane to break down polyethylene faster.
Upon testing their process, the result was that 90% of the plastic was able to be converted into liquid jet and diesel fuel. Since there is more than one option for the outcomes of the plastic conversion from this procedure, it makes this process a realistic option for sourcing fuels in the future.
The old process required a much higher temperature to break down the plastics, but with the new process, we see a decrease in the necessary temperature range of up to half. Initially, the temperature exceeded 400 degrees celsius but can now be done with a temperature as low as 200 degrees celsius. This drastically reduces the energy used, improving its efficiency, bringing this process into a realistic light.
It is predicted that the process used to break down polyethylene plastics can be manipulated to break down the other mass-produced plastics in the polymer family. These include the top six plastics that are produced.
The research involved in this process was successfully completed in late 2020. Currently, the patent for this new process is pending in the United States. But soon enough, it will be approved and we will have another green alternative towards a sustainable life with research already being poured into it.
So, does this mean the turtles can be saved? Yes, they can!
Polyethylene is the most common polymer manufactured and it is also what the plastic bags and six-pack rings are made of.
This fuel conversion method helps get rid of plastic from the ocean and landfills before it can decompose into microplastics. This is just one of many ways science has discovered innovative ways to switch over to environmentally friendly alternatives. Replacing jet fuel with plastic is one of our beginnings to eliminate microplastics from the environment.
Another just as effective yet simpler innovative solution to reducing plastic waste was invented by a woman in Kenya. The startup company takes plastic waste and sand and binds them together to create high-quality sturdy bricks most commonly used for roads and walking paths. They have already converted over 20 tonnes of plastic waste into these heavy-duty bricks. Another great thing about these bricks is that they are even more sturdy than regular concrete bricks!
With all these innovative plastic waste conversions becoming a possibility, we are moving in the right direction towards carbon-neutral earth. Soon enough, we will be able to live a greener and more sustainable life!
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