Skip to comments.A Plastic Wrapper Today Could Be Fuel Tomorrow[Bioplastic]
Posted on 04/10/2007 2:37:14 AM PDT by Dacb
Scientists worldwide are struggling to make motor fuel from waste, but Richard Gross has taken an unusual approach: 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.
It works in very mild conditions, lukewarm tap water, he said. The enzyme, cutinase, is present in nature, made by parasites to eat through the shiny surfaces of tree leaves, so the parasite can suck nutrients out of the inner parts.
A gene-splicing company, DNA 2.0, has taken some of the DNA from that parasite and spliced it into an e. coli bacterium, to mass produce the enzyme. The e. coli was chosen because it reproduces more readily than the original parasite.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Wouldn't it be easier, cleaner and more efficient just to burn it to make heat and electricity? Polypropylene is chains of C3H6. Polyethylene is chains of C2H4. Plastic already is fuel.
Ssshhh! You just wrecked the "research". As you say, they already are a good fuel as solids.
One big problem in using recycled plastics as fuels, though, is the lack of will or ability to separate out the types. One piece of a chlorinated like PVC could damaged equipment and really mess things up.
I had a neighbor who used to slyly burn his rubbish in his wood stove. The greenish-yellow grey smoke would come rolling down his roof when the PVC went in. I suppose the phosgene was taking care of mosquitos, but now that they moved, it's nicer around here.
I bet! LOL.
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.......
If you want on or off the DIESEL "KnOcK" LIST just FReepmail me........
This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days......
Extracting cash has replaced adding value.
Granted there can be a lot of nasty stuff in plastic. Those would have to be controlled in any plastic fuel based scheme anyway.
I confess to throwing the odd piece of cardboard into the stove without stripping off all the packing tape, but the thought of burning PVC has never crossed by mind. Nice neighbor. The pressure treated wood must have been a special joy too.