Plastics have immensely contributed when it comes to making our lives convenient and to the betterment of modern life. They help us save energy by insulating our homes, they make our vehicles lighter and fuel efficient, they are widely used in the field of medicine to keep medical supplies sterile. However, with the multiple benefits that plastics offer, there is a rising challenge with disposing of them effectively.
To combat this issue in India, Satish Kumar, a Hyderabad-based professor who is a mechanical engineer, has come up with a remarkable solution of converting plastic waste to petrol. He aims to solve the plastic pollution problem by converting 50 tons of non-biodegradable plastic into petrol. At Rs. 40/- per liter, which is half the price of commercial petrol, Satish has been selling his petrol to multiple small and medium enterprises. Although the recycled fuel has not been tested on automobiles, it has been used by industries for running their machines, which in-itselfis an incredible feat.
According to Kumar, all types of plastic can be used to make petrol except Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). The petrol was made with the help of a 3-step process called plastic pyrolysis. This process does not require any water nor water is discharged. Petrol, diesel and aviation fuel can be produced by this process. Around 400 liters of fuel can be produced with almost 500 kg of non-recyclable plastic.
A major advantage of this process is that it does not cause air pollution as the process is carried out in a vacuum. Currently, Satish’s company is generating 200 liters of petrol each day out of 200 kgs of plastic and selling it at a rate of Rs. 40 – 50 per liter to local industries. With such significant minds working towards recycling plastic waste to petrol, it makes us wonder what could be next?