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  Eco Friendly Plastic Fuel (Conversion of Waste Plastic into Liquid Hydrocarbons/Energy)  A major breakthrough in the arena of Non-conventional sources of energy! Waste plastic problem is an ever-increasing menace for global environment. Because of flexibility, durability and economy, a phenomenal rise is observed in the plastic consumer base. More than 150 million tons of waste plastic is generated worldwide each year. Though plastics have opened the way for a plethora of new inventions and devices it has also ended up clogging the drains and becoming a health hazard. Plastics being non-biodegradable get accumulated in the environment. If this problem is not addressed properly, it will lead to mountains of waste plastic. Throughout the world, research on waste plastic management is being carried out at war-footing. In developed countries, few waste plastic disposal/conversion methods have been implemented but are not efficient and economically feasible. According to nationwide survey conducted in the year 2003 more than 10,000 MT of plastic waste is generated every day in India. Unfortunately there is no definite policy to cater waste plastic generated. Every year losses due choking of drainage lines due to waste Plastics are in crores of rupees. Every year millions of rupees losses are suffered by agro-economy because of death of animals due to eating plastics. Our country faces the critical problem of fuel and energy deficiency. The fast depletion of petroleum reserves in the world and frequent rise in prices of crude oil affect our economy adversely. India is not self-sufficient in case of petroleum and crude oil. The national production capacity is capable of fulfilling not even 30% of the total fuel demand. The remaining whopping 70% is fulfilled by importing crude. Most of our precious foreign exchange is spent on importing crude. Prof. Mrs. Alka Umesh Zadgaonkar, Head of Department of Applied Chemistry at the Nagpur based G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering, invented an Environment friendly catalytic-additive process for disposal of waste plastic. The invented process involves degradation of waste plastic using `catalytic-additive’ and is different from the generally existing pyrolytic processes. The products obtained in the process are Liquid hydrocarbons, Gas and residual Coke. Recycling of plastic by conventional methods Recycling is not the complete solution for disposal of the waste plastics. After third/fourth recycling the plastic is totally unfit for reuse and hence ultimately it ends up in land filling. Some types of the plastics are not suitable for recycling. However, recycling of plastics is only suitable for processing segregated plastic materials and is not suitable for assorted municipal waste plastics.  The problems associated with the recycling process are as follows: ã Many types of plastics are used hence it is difficult to segregate them for specific purpose ã Plastics contain a wide range of fillers & additives ã Many times plastic is associated with metal, Glass etc ã Sorting of plastic is technically difficult as well as expensive ã Recycling of plastic degrades the quality of the end product ã Laminated plastics are non-recyclable. Salient features of EPF (Eco friendly Plastics Fuel) technology ã Generally the plastic waste contains about 2-4 wt% PVC, 5-8 wt% PET, 15-20 wt% PP, 20-25 wt% LDPE, 15-20 wt%, HDPE 10-15 wt%, 7-10 wt% of ABS, Nylon, etc. The output product does not change appreciably either qualitatively or quantitatively irrespective of any input changes or proportions ã Batch Process has been successfully. Converted into Continuous Process ã Effects of feed variation collected from municipal waste have been studied and offers a complete solution for Waste Plastic disposal ã Improvement in product quality from variety of feed generated from municipal plastic waste has been achieved. The process: The invented process involves degradation waste plastic using `catalytic-additive’ and is different from the generally existing pyrolytic processes. The laboratory scale set-up was developed in batch mode in which individual as well as mixed plastics were successfully converted in to fuels. Now the commercial 5MT/Day plant operates on continuous mode. The products obtained in the process are Liquid hydrocarbons (65-75%), LPG range Gas (15-20%) and residual Coke (8-12%).  All around the globe companies and individuals are starting to produce fuel from waste plastic. As only 8% of waste plastic is recycled in the U.S., 15% in Western Europe, and much less in developing countries, this reuse of plastic could potentially keep enormous amounts of plastic out of landfills and out of the oceans.  Why Plastic Waste Is A Problem Over 500 billion pounds of new plastic is manufactured each year and roughly 33% of that is single use and thrown away. As so little plastic is recycled, we need to reframe plastic waste as an underused resource vs. one that’s destined for the landfill. If all plastic waste made it into the landfill, it would surely be mined in the future, but currently all plastic waste does not make it into our landfills. The United Nations estimates plastic accounts for four-fifths of the accumulated garbage in the world’s oceans. We need to stop polluting our oceans with plastic before it is too late, and start collecting all plastics suitable for this new, fairly simple, technology, a technology that is available now. Image via: coastalcare.org   How Plastic Waste Is Turned Into Fuel The technology is not overly complicated. plastics are shredded and then heated in an oxygen-free chamber (known as pyrolysis) to about 400 degrees celsius. As the plastics boil, gas is separated out and often reused to fuel the machine itself. The fuel is then distilled and filtered. Because the entire process takes place inside a vacuum and the plastic is melted – not burned, minimal to no  resultant toxins are released into the air, as all the gases and or sludge are reused to fuel the machine. What Plastic Can Be Used? For this technology, the type of plastic you convert to fuel is important. If you burn pure hydrocarbons, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), you will produce a fuel that burns fairly clean. But burn PVC, and large amounts of chlorine will corrode the reactor and pollute the environment. Burning PETE releases oxygen into the oxygen deprived chamber thereby slowing the processing, and PETE recycles efficiently at recycling centers, so it is best to recycle PETE traditionally. HDPE (jugs) and LDPE (bags and films) are basically polyethylene so usable as fuel as well, just slightly more polluting as a thicker heavier fuel is created. But additional processing can turn even HDPE into a clean diesel.
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