Japanese inventor, Akinori Ito, has created a household appliance which converts plastic bags into fuel. The fuel can be used for various applications such as the generation of heat.
[Image Source: UNUChannel via Youtube]
According to The World Counts, we use 100 million tons of plastic every year, of which 10 percent end up in our oceans. The plastic gets broken down into tiny pieces in the ocean. These tiny pieces are eaten by fish, turtles, whales, seals, sea lions and seabirds. These animals are unable to digest the plastic which remains in their gut. This can prevent food digestion which may lead to a slow and painful death.
The Future of Plastic
Ito realized that since plastic bags are created from oil, they can be converted back into their original form. The crude oil produced can be used to heat generators and some stoves. It can also be used for gasoline when refined. It can even be used for a car, a boat or motorbike.
One kilogram of plastic can produce approximately one liter of oil. The conversion process requires approximately 1 kWh of electricity, which is worth approximately 20 cents.
By converting plastic into oil, we are eliminating CO2 pollution. Although the end product is still a fuel that will give off CO2 when burnt, this recycling method could revolutionize the way plastics are treated. It raises awareness of the potential of plastic fuel.
The system is made for household use which has the potential to create energy independence among consumers. This in effect creates less of a need to extract more oil from the earth.
How It Works
The machine uses highly efficient pyrolysis which is the transformation of a compound into a smaller and simpler compound under high temperatures. It is able to process different types of plastics such as polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene. However, it is unable to process PET bottles.
The process begins with the heating of the plastic. It is then fed into the pressurized oxygen-free oven. It is heated to 427° C (800°F) which converts the plastic into a liquid. The machine then transforms the liquid into gaseous state. The gas produced is trapped and allowed to cool. The vapors condense when cooled and form crude oil.
The video below shows Ito demonstrating the machine at work.
The crude oil formed by the machine is a mixture of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and heavy oil. The machine does not produce any toxic substances when fed with the proper materials such as polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene. Furthermore, the machine produces a small amount of inert char residue which can be disposed of with the regular garbage.
Purchasing the Product
The machine is sold by Ito’s Blest Corporation. It is however quite expensive as it retails for approximately $10,000. Ito hopes to bring the price down as the system becomes more popular.