Petrol from plastic

An energy efficient technique

Published: Thursday 15 December 2005

Potential fuel: discarded plas a university researcher from Uttar Pradesh has developed a novel technique to produce valuable petroleum products, such as petrol and diesel, from discarded plastic bags.

Several techniques are being explored to tap valuable petroleum products from plastic waste. But what sets the work of Deepak Pant of the chemistry department in Krishna College of Science, Bijnor, apart is the possibility of carrying out the entire reaction at temperatures half of that required by other procedures such as fluidisation. This was possible because of the addition of alumina, an aluminium compound found commonly in nature, in equal measure as the plastic, said Pant in a paper appearing in the Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research (Vol 64, No 12, December, 2005).

Though the technique is yet to be tried out at a pilot plant, Pant's laboratory studies found that 60-70 per cent of the end products can be used as liquid fuels. "Another significant aspect is that the final products are rich in branched chain and aromatics and hence fuel-grade," says Pant .

"Our ballpark estimation is that the overall cost of production (of fuel) will come to Rs 28-29 per litre, provided municipalities supply the plastics in collected garbage free of cost," Pant told Down To Earth.

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