Low density polyethylene products constitute a significant part of plastic waste. A team of scientists at the University of Washington, led by Professor Hanu Lei, has developed a technology for converting them into real jet fuel.
At first, researchers used plastic bags, milk cartons and mineral water bottles for recycling. The plastic was crushed into granules about 3 mm in size.
Then the granules were placed in a so-called tubular reactor on top of a layer of activated carbon. As a result of heating the plastic and carbon to a temperature of 571 ° C, the process of thermal decomposition, pyrolysis, began. Carbon, acting as a catalyst, forced the plastic to decompose, releasing hydrogen.
After testing seven different types of activated carbon, the scientists were able to produce a mixture of 85% jet fuel and 15% diesel fuel. The technology makes it possible to separate these types of fuel. In addition, carbon can be separated for later reuse and reactivated as soon as it begins to lose its catalytic effect.
“We can now extract almost 100% of the energy from the plastic we tested. - explains Lei, - The resulting fuel is of very good quality - as well as associated gases, which also have their useful applications.