29 Sep 2011:
New Process Converts
Plastic into Synthetic Crude Oil
A U.S. startup says it has developed a process to convert plastic waste into synthetic crude oil
, a system that company officials say will provide a new fuel alternative while also removing massive amounts of
Waste plastic ready for processing
industrial and municipal waste from landfills each year. Created by Oregon-based Agilyx
, the process essentially heats plastics into a mixture of gases, which are then cooled and condensed into long-chain hydrocarbons that can be converted into diesel, jet fuel, or other substances. The system, which Agilyx hopes to make available for commercial use within nine months, is capable of converting about 10 tons of plastic into 60 barrels of oil (2,400 gallons) per day. Currently, a single module, which would cost about $5 million, could create about 130 barrels of oil daily, Bob Schwarz, Agilyx’s chief financial officer, told the New York Times
’ Green blog. While refiners would ultimately process the landfill oil into a fuel, the system itself would likely be owned and operated by trash companies. The process is one of several emerging technologies targeting the recovery and reuse of roughly 2 trillion tons of plastic sitting in U.S. landfills. According to industry officials, the volume of plastics worldwide grows 7 to 9 percent annually.
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Business & Innovation
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Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.