Plastics are made from gas, extracted from oil fields. Through a specific process, the gas is transformed into what we know as bottles, coffee cups and toys. The bad part is that each of them ends up in a landfill, eventually.
Landfills are a serious issue that humanity is confronted with, because they are so many and we can’t afford wasting space and clean air to make new ones.
A researcher from Japan, Akinori Ito, has come up with a device that can theoretically remove the plastic from all of the world’s landfills and turn it into usable oil fuel.
Of course, this is still fossil-originated fuel, but its carbon footprint is so much smaller than that of the oil extracted and processed from crude. Ito says the reduction in carbon dioxide can reach 80 percent if his machine would be used worldwide.
The machine has been named after the product (or vice-versa): Blest. It is currently promoted all over the world, especially in third world countries and can be carried by airplane. Its creator says Blest can turn one kilo of plastics into one liter of oil with approximately 1 kW of electricity. “To make a machine that anyone can use is my dream,” Ito says. “The home is the oil field of the future.”
Blest’s working principle is simple: it heats the plastics until they melt, boil and then passes the gas through water, where they turn into oil. The oil can then be refined and turned into whatever fuel you like: gasoline, diesel or anything else.
The inventor doesn’t explain the exact method by which the plastics are melted, but there is clue on that in this 2008 article that shows how a team of American researchers turned plastics into oil by using microwaves… it’s a hypothesis, not something that I’m certain of, so if anyone knows the exact method, I’d be grateful if he/she posted a comment below…
I know the idea is not the greenest, but it’s green enough to mention it, only because it would get rid of those plastic-filled landfills, though with the price of carbon being thrown out into the atmosphere. Still, carbon capture and sequestration would be a solution to that issue, too. Both technologies exist, let’s put them together!