Diesel from Plastic

If this is real, and it appears it is, then this is the most cool news to come out of recycling in a very long time.  I AM STOKED!!!  A month ago the magazine New Scientist reported about a company that has developed a process to take hydrocarbon based garbage like plastics and rubber and convert it back to diesel and gas using a specialized microwave oven system.

The machine developed by Global Resource Corp. uses microwaves to gasify plastics, rubber and any hydrocarbon based waste.  The lighter “natural gases” can be captured and the remaining molocules cooled back into a diesel grade oil.  The remaining byproducts are pure carbon black (a highly salable product), and any non-hydrocarbon based material.  A good example is that when 20 pounds of ground up automobile tires are processed the results are 8.5 pounds of diesel oil, 7.5 pounds of carbon black, two pounds of steel and two pounds of light gas.

The thought that they can convert tires back into nearly 100% usable products is very exciting.  A metals recycling company that specializes in recycling automobiles plans on using this process on the “autofluff”; the ground up non-ferrous metals, plactics, dirt, etc. that make up our cars.  They plan on using the resulting gas and diesel to run the machines to process the autofluff, and then sell the excess.

More exciting to me as an outdoors lover, is that this process can be used to clean up contaminated soil, resulting in clean fill and diesel.  It appears that even organic matter can be converted using this process.  I’d like to see if medical biohazardous waste can be made clean with this process.

I had a computer professor tell me that “the only free cheese is in a mouse trap”, and this news does appear to be to good to be true, but, GOLLY, wouldn’t it be fantastic!!

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