Waste Polyolefinic Plastics Can Be Facilitated Into Liquid Fuels and Waxes at Low Temperatures

Apr, 2021 - By SMI

Waste Polyolefinic Plastics Can Be Facilitated Into Liquid Fuels and Waxes at Low Temperatures

A new catalyst invented by Japanese scientists can make life simple to reuse waste plastic through new materials such as wax and fuel.

Plastics are incredibly helpful in daily applications, however they are impossible to recycle, which ensures that the bulk of them wind up in landfills or pollute the atmosphere. Japanese scientists have successfully recycled a popular plastic into valuable items such as wax and fuel, thanks to the use of an innovative catalyst. Researchers from Tohoku and Osaka City Universities set out to discover a modern catalyst that could break down plastics at lower temperatures for the new research. The researchers discovered that mixing ruthenium and cerium dioxide produced the most powerful catalyst, capable of recycling polyolefinic plastics at temperatures over 392°F.

Plastics are designed to be highly resistant to chemical reactions. This makes them ideal for pharmaceutical bottles and cans, and it also makes them difficult to break down as they need to be discarded. Thermal recycling systems, for instance, necessarily require temperatures around 572 °F to 1,650 °F that absorbs a significant amount of electricity.

Masazumi Tamura and Keiichi Tomishige, co-authors of the report, concluded, "Our approach worked as an efficient and reusable heterogeneous catalyst, showing much higher activity over other metal-supported catalysts, acting even under mild reaction conditions." “Moreover, a plastic container and waste plastics could be converted into useful chemicals in large quantities.”

This isn't the only way to recycle plastic. A team from UC Berkeley recently announced a revolutionary method for turning polyethylene into a clingy new adhesive, while others are creating new plastics from the ground up that are quickly recyclable. According to the researchers, 92 percent of the waste plastic was turned into usable materials. It was converted into liquid fuel in 77 percent of the cases, and wax in 15 percent of the cases, allowing plastic recycling a more viable alternative.

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