Scientists turn plastic into jet fuel ingredients in an hour

Scientists turned 90% of plastic into jet fuel and other valuable hydrocarbon products within an hour

at moderate temperatures. The process is easy to customize the process to create specific products. The research results are published in the journal Chem Catalysis.

In recent decades, the accumulation of plasticwaste has caused an ecological crisis: the oceans and pristine environment are polluted by it all over the world. As they decompose, tiny pieces of microplastics enter the food chain and become a potential threat to human health.

At the same time, the processing of plastics is veryproblematic. Typically, the plastic is melted and re-molded. However, this reduces its economic value, and the quality for use in other products is significantly reduced. Chemical processing allows for higher quality products, but this requires high reaction temperatures and long processing times. This makes this method too expensive and cumbersome for industrial enterprises.

To solve the problem, WSU researchersdeveloped a catalytic process to efficiently convert polyethylene to jet fuel and valuable lubricants. Polyethylene is used more often than other plastics: in bags, milk cartons, shampoo bottles, corrosion-resistant pipelines, wood-plastic composite lumber and furniture.

Using a catalyst made of carbon anda silvery white metallic ruthenium, as well as some commonly used solvents, scientists converted about 90% of plastic into jet fuel components and other hydrocarbons in just an hour. The temperature in the process did not exceed 220 ° C. It is more cost effective than analogs. Previously, this required a minimum of 500 ° C.

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