Scientists at the University of Swansea in Wales have found a new way to make fuel from discarded plastic. The experiment with which they converted the waste into hydrogen yielded positive results.
It is not news that hydrogen has the potential to become the fuel of the future. In fact, there are already cars that drive this. Now that it has become clear that you can also get this fuel out of discarded plastic, its popularity will only increase.
Making fuel by a chemical process
Moritz Kuehnel, a chemist at Swansea University, arrives BBC how they produce hydrogen through a chemical process with a material that absorbs light and sunlight.
The process works for every piece of plastic, without needing to be clean. “Even if it contains food or some fat from a margarine tub, that doesn’t stop the reaction. It makes it better, ”says Kuehnel BBC. According to the researcher, this makes the extraction of fuel a lot cheaper than the recycling of plastic.
Hydrogen from medical plastic
The researchers are also thinking of the possible applicability in the pandemic. Face masks, plastic aprons and glasses can all be converted into fuel. While this seems like a good solution to both the fuel and plastic problem, the researchers have yet to determine whether pathogens (such as virus particles) die in the process.
But also beyond medical waste, it may be a solution that can dispose of billions of tons of non-reusable plastics. This is because, according to Kuehnel, it is cheap and easy to implement. Even in developing countries without proper recycling infrastructure and incineration facilities it is easy to apply.
Cleaning up driving plastic
The Welsh government has great confidence in the fuel project, backing it with £ 47,000 (about £ 54,000) in funding. Although there is still a lot of research to be done, there is a chance that in the future we will drive on hydrogen extracted from plastic.
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