Environmental pollution is one of the most pressing issues of today. As plastic makes up the lion’s share of total waste on the Earth, it’s crucial to develop a technology that will allow us to recycle it.
At present, there are over 5 billion tonnes of waste emitting harmful chemicals that are toxic for the plants and animals on our planet. This fact has long since troubled scientists, which has led to the development of eco-friendly packaging. Unfortunately, this hasn’t brought any tangible results, as landfills continue to grow with each day.
Chemical researchers from Purdue University (USA) have proposed an alternative approach to this problem, by creating a technology that would allow us to recycle plastic into fuel. The way it works: under extremely high temperatures (up to 500 degrees Celsius) and pressure (2300 times greater than the atmospheric pressure at sea level), polypropylene is burnt and dissolved in supercritical water - a phase of water that demonstrates characteristics of both a liquid and a gas. The process takes approximately an hour, and the output is a clean fuel that can be used to fill up a car.
There’s no talk of mass-scale implementation just yet, but researchers are hoping to see some interest from waste recycling companies.
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