A Plastic Wrapper Today Could Be Fuel Tomorrow

Scientists worldwide are struggling to make motor fuel from waste, but Richard Gross has taken an unusual approach that seems straight out of the movie ‘Back to the Future: making a “fuel-latent plastic,” designed for conversion.

It can be used like ordinary plastic, for packaging or other purposes, but when it is waste, can easily be turned into a substitute diesel fuel.

The process does not yet work well enough to be commercial, but the Pentagon was impressed enough to give $2.34 million for more research. The technique could reduce the amount of material that the military has to ship to soldiers at remote bases, because the plastic would do double duty, first as packaging and then as fuel.

It would also reduce trash disposal problems, according to the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, known as Darpa.

Dr. Gross, a professor of chemistry at Polytechnic University, in Brooklyn, is turning plant oils, of the kind already used to make biodiesel, into “bioplastic.” The plastics can be films or rigid, as are commonly found in food packaging. Then he uses a naturally occurring enzyme to break down the plastic into fuel.

More info:  New York Times article

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: