NDTV reports that Indian scientists have discovered a way to recycle plastic bags and turn them into fuel to power car's engines, generating roughly 700 grams of liquid fuel for every kilo of plastic bags put through the process.
The process reported in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, could, if implemented on a large enough scale, reduce pressures on landfill as well as ameliorating the effects of dwindling oil supplies in a world with increasing demands on petrochemicals for fuel.
In their approach, the team heats the plastic waste to between 400 and 500 degrees Celsius over a kaolin catalyst.
This causes the plastic's long chain polymer chains to break apart in a process known as thermo-catalytic degradation.
This releases large quantities of much smaller, carbon-rich molecules.
The team used the analytical technique of gas chromatography coupled mass spectrometry to characterise these product molecules and found the components of their liquid fuel to be mainly paraffins and olefins 10 to 16 carbon atoms long.
This, they explain, makes the liquid fuel very similar chemically to conventional petrochemical fuels.
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