How often do you find your recycling bag overflowing with milk bottles, food packaging and an array of miscellaneous household plastic? News just in, groundbreaking technology pioneered by the University of Chester in northwest England has just developed a solution to dealing with plastic waste. It involves melting down the waste you produce and turning into power which also means less pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers at the University of Chester have found a way to use dirty plastic waste to produce hydrogen, which can heat homes and fuel cars without producing greenhouse gas emissions. The process uses a glass kiln, heated to 1,000°C, to instantly break down unrecyclable plastic to release a mix of gases including hydrogen.
Perhaps the most game-changing part of this tech innovation is that the unrecyclable plastic you collect doesn’t need to be sorted, or even washed, to be utilized. The process takes all mixed waste, in its contaminated form, and transforms it all into electricity.
In its current form, the technology can only demonstrate small-scale conversion of plastic to hydrogen and electricity (with no plastic remaining) but developers have plans to expand both the capacity and the reach.
In the UK and South East Asia, the developer Waste2Tricity (W2T) is working on an expansion, currently building a plant near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. At the plant, they will produce low-cost and low-carbon hydrogen fuel and electricity to power the site.
Peele Environmental, the owner of the plant, said the project could help keep 25 million tonnes of “contaminated” plastics, which cannot be recycled, from ending up in landfills or the ocean.
The Executive Direction of Thornton Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester, Professor Joe Howe, had this to say about the prototype: “Surely the world must wake up to this technology. It will make waste plastic valuable with it being able to power the world’s towns and cities and most importantly it can help clean up our oceans of waste plastic now.”
The university researchers developed the project alongside Powerhouse Energy, which hopes to take the technology to Japan and south-east Asia, where hydrogen-fuelled buses are already on the roads.
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