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Engineering Materials

Update: Converting Plastics to Energy Could Boost US Reserves

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William K.
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
William K.   10/24/2014 7:05:57 PM
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The big challenge withm sorting the many types of plastic is in the sensing. Both optical and density properties are a reasonable set to look at, but doing the checking fast enough to be useful is the challenge. And there still remains the issue of cleaning the plastic enough to make the process work well.

So it is a great idea but there are a lot of challenges.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
Ann R. Thryft   10/24/2014 11:50:35 AM
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William K, many agree with your assessment of the relative amounts of energy consumed. Unfortunately, though, sorting is absolutely vital for higher quality, not just to get rid of contaminants that can affect the processing, but also to separate different plastics that require different treatments. We discussed some of those problems in this article: Fuel From Plastic Nears Commercialization.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
Ann R. Thryft   9/2/2014 1:27:14 PM
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shehan, as we've explained before, very few of these methods actually burn plastics. Even the few remaining ones that do are by law entirely closed-loop emission-contained systems. Today, this is a non-issue, at least in the US.
We can't give links anymore in comments, but I suggest you check out this article I did, and its comments, from two years ago:
Fuel From Plastic Nears Commercialization
It answers a lot of these questions.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
Ann R. Thryft   9/2/2014 1:24:29 PM
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Pubudu, you're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: CONVERTING PLASTICS
Ann R. Thryft   9/2/2014 1:23:05 PM
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bobjengr, glad this info is useful for you. As an FYI, none of the major methods used to convert sorted plastics to energy involves combustion. That's only used for general unsorted waste when plastics are contaminated or mixed--such as a toothbrush--and can't be sorted cost-effectively, or at all.

Pubudu
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
Pubudu   8/31/2014 11:35:38 PM
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Shehan yes it's true that government should look at those and also they should look at the future use of those also. Restriction of usage is a one option. 

shehan
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
shehan   8/31/2014 3:26:07 PM
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I hope the government is looking at the harmful emissions to the environment from using plastic to generate energy. 

William K.
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Re: Converting plastics to energy
William K.   8/30/2014 9:46:44 PM
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Breaking down the plastic polymers far enough to produce a usable fuel product isnot that hard a process, and it does not need nearly such tight controls as producing more complex products.And it can usually live with a fair amount of dirt and non plastic materials. So ot much sorting would be needed.

William K.
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Platinum
Been there and "done that."
William K.   8/30/2014 9:43:25 PM
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Plastic to energy recovery is not that new, although there is presently a lot more plastc to recover. Andcollecting it from he oceans is proably not yet economically feasble. But way back in theearly sixties we invented a variation of the od wax-filled "buddy burner" simply by replacing the candle wax with waste polyethylene recovered from litter. It did consume a lot of plastic bag litter since each device needed about half a pound of plastic. Wewould melt the bags in an old coffe ca over a small wood fire and then pour it over the edgewise rolled up cardboard, just like the more raditional versions used candle wax. The difference was that our burners were hotter, and cheaper to make, and they would not melt and get messy in the hot sun.

 

Pubudu
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Platinum
Re: Converting plastics to energy
Pubudu   8/30/2014 3:07:25 PM
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a2 its true but never forget the lesion from the history. 

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