They manage to create liquid fuel with plastic

They manage to create liquid fuel with plastic

Plastic has been a difficult to moderate contamination problem for decades.

In fact, the latest research is only looking for methods to eliminate this plastic that has already gone so far as to form artificial islands and rocks, a couple of dubious honors from the human hand.

Now, thanks to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and whose research has recently been published in ScienceWe can have some hope. According to these researchers, it would be possible to convert polyethylene (the most common plastic on Earth) into liquid fuel.

Liquid fuel with plastic, a utopia come true

Every year some are made on Earth 100 million tons of polyethylene, a substance that does not degrade in the environment, so it can be really problematic. But, Can you imagine being able to get liquid fuel with plastic? It had previously been thought of burning such plastic in furnaces at high temperatures, but this process consumes large amounts of energy and produces more contamination if possible (even more difficult to remove than polyethylene itself). In short, it is not profitable.

After discovering the bacteria that eats plastic, there were hopes of being able to end this contaminating substance naturally, but it is an excessively slow process. Now Zheng Huang and his colleagues from the Chinese Academy of SciencesAfter four years of research, they have described a method to degrade polyethylene to as low as 150 C (low temperatures considering that normal combustions can touch 1000 C) thanks to the use of an organometallic molecule as a catalyst.

This molecule weakens the bonds in the molecular structure of polyethylene, accelerating its decomposition and transforming it into a liquid product. So far the method has already been successfully tested on plastic bags, bottles and food packaging.

Getting liquid fuel with plastic on a large scale, a new challenge

Obviously, the next objective is to reach convert large amounts of polyethylene to liquid fuel, managing, on the one hand, to recycle the large mountains of pollutants that are accumulating on the planet, and on the other, large amounts of fuel at our disposal without using oil.

At the moment, as Huang says, the catalyst works well if it is in a ratio of 30 to 1 with respect to the amount of plastic, but that is not enough on a commercial level, since it should serve in proportions of ten thousand to one or of a million to one. On the other hand, the metal used as a catalyst is iridium, a rare and precious metal; Attempts will be made to use another, such as platinum, which is cheaper, although it can be complicated due to the unknown effects of this metal. Each metallic catalyst is a world.

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