Non-recycled plastics (NRPs), which make up 12.4 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW), have high value as a feedstock for conversion to energy or fuel because of their potentially significant heating value. (Source: Gershman, Brickner & Bratton/US EPA)
Ann, this was really interesting. The other product of the process, shown in the last slide, is ash. Did your sources say anything about it, such as what volume / weight percentage is it compared to the original feedstock, or if the ash has a use, its toxicity?
I agree, Rob, and Ann has been on top of this. I really like to see the efforts around re-use of material, especially plastic, that would otherwise just become landfill or ocean pollution. If this material was created and used then it makes sense that it can be deconstructed and reused. Thanks for keeping a close eye on these efforts.
Thanks Elizabeth and Rob. This is an area that interests me a lot, because it hits so many different targets: getting non-recycled plastic out of the environment, using waste creatively, re-using some already produced and very expensively-produced energy sources, and making non-petroleum-derived fuel.
TJ searching the PDF of the report on "ash" produced these statements: "The combustion process and cleaning of the gases produce fly and bottom ash, further processed to remove metals for recycling. The ash can be used as alternative daily cover at landfills or as construction aggregate." There's also some further discussion of how ash is created and handled within different up-/down-cross-draft gasification systems.
Elizabeth, I am concerned about the tons of plastic and other wastes being discharged at sea instead of used for energy. I wonder if a gasification plant could be constructed aboard cruise ships, providing fuel energy as well as reducing the overboard waste.
This seems like a very good solution to the problem of plastic but any idea about what is approximate cost of setting up a gasification system and the running cost? It can be a key factor in determining the feasibility of this process?
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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