In another move towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle and low-cost and pollution-free technology, two men from Kerala, India are claiming to achieve something truly incredible. Sreejith V.S. and Perinjanam panchayat president Sachith K.K. revealed that they have developed a prototype pyrolysis plant where plastic waste is recycled via burning and distillation to extract petrol and other byproducts. The prospect of processing non-biodegradable waste and creating useful products like petroleum can be a game changer in the efforts towards creating environmentally friendly technologies.
Mr V.S. Sreejith has been working in the niche of solid waste management for several years, and also holds the seat of Director of Science Centre in Kodungallur. In an interview, Sreejith said: “Petroleum is converted to plastic products by heating it at a particular temperature. In the pyrolysis plant of the prototype which we have developed, a reversal of polymerization happens. The plant is at present burnt using LPG for display, but the bio-gas from organic waste will be used for the purpose when the civic body puts the technology to use to processing plastic”
The inventor states that their plant is so efficient that out of 10 kg of plastic, 9 litres and 600 ml of petroleum can be extracted. In further explanation of the process, Sreejith states that the plastic burnt in the plant can generate gas using the small-chain hydro-carbons, while the long-chain hydrocarbons can be condensed into petroleum liquid form using water. The fuel, both petrol and gas, can be used as a substitute for LPG or bio-gas.
The process’ validity and feasibility remain to undergo peer review, but in a demonstration at the community hall of Perinjanam last Tuesday, the plant was shown as successfully working. The quality of the petrol and gas produced and their BTU values also remain to be tested, and the inventors say they have sent the samples to laboratories and well-known petrochemical companies for quality and other kinds of tests.
The duo claims that the liquid petroleum extracted can be further distilled into other byproducts like turpentine, wax and many others. The leftover carbon in the burner can also be utilised for water purifiers and paint production.
Since the plastic waste is usually very cheap, the only expense will for the plant will be of labour, making it financially feasible as well. The inventors are now looking to obtain an NOC from the Pollution Control Board in order to start petrol production soon. They added that an amount of Rs 2 lakh had already been allocated for the waste management project.
This is a really good news for the environment, and maybe a bad one for the mega petroleum companies in case this is proved to be a viable technique.
Similar attempts and concepts have been presented previously, one in particular published by three researchers Christine Cleetus, Shijo Thomas, and Soney Varghese. Another USA based company called Plastic2Oil also claims to be making low sulphur fuel from waste plastics.
Know about any other ingenious technologies that are striving to save the world? Let us know in the comments’ section.