Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) have announced that they have come up with a breakthrough and very cheap way to recycle plastic waste into something useful. But then they admitted that they had not yet chosen laboratories with their own methodology and had not tested it in practice. Therefore, the beginning of cleaning the globe from plastic waste will obviously have to be postponed a little.
The idea of Singaporean scientists is to decompose plastic into components, releasing formic acid from it. It can be used to generate energy and is generally a useful material. There are several ways to extract acid from polymers that are part of common plastics, but Singaporeans have proposed a new one - very slow, but without emissions into the atmosphere.
Scientists have selected a solvent composition that, in combination with sunlight (it acts as a catalyst), destabilizes the structure of polymers. The prototype had to be illuminated for six consecutive days, simulating natural light, in order to extract formic acid from it. And it was a small piece of pure plastic - the authors of the technology admit that they do not yet know how to adapt it for processing large volumes of real waste contaminated with all kinds of chemicals. Therefore, they are in no hurry to introduce a novelty, but research on a promising technology will continue.