Plastic to Fuel
- GS prelims, GS Mains paper III
- Sci-tech, Environment, Plastic pollution, Fuels
What’s the news?
- Recently, scientists at Washington State University (US) have found a way to transform plastic into jet fuel.
PLASTIC POLLUTION FACTS AND STATS
- At least 4.8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each yearworldwide.
- Scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.
- Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.
- Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
- 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.
- Less than a fifth of all plastic is recycled globally
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight)
- Plastic is found in the ocean as far as 11km deep, meaning synthetic fibers have contaminated even the most remote places on Earth
How can plastic be used as a fuel?
- There is a lot of hydrogen in plastics, which is a key component in fuel.
- To produce jet fuel, the researchers melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon.
- The carbon is a catalyst or a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction.
- After testing several different catalysts at different temperatures, the best result they had produced a mixture of 85 percent jet fuel and 15 percent diesel fuel
How can the citizens help recycle plastic?
- Imagine it this way – you’re buying the contents, but renting the container.
- That’s the idea, with plastic, glass and metal drinks containers.
- You buy your soft drink and it’s 10-20p more expensive than it was before, but when you take the bottle back to the retailer and post it into the ‘reverse vending machine’ you’ll get your deposit back.
- This is called Deposit Return Scheme in UK and can be replicated in India.