05 May
Converting Ocean Plastic Waste into Energy Converting Ocean Plastic Waste into Energy

Converting Ocean Plastic Waste into Energy

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The folks at the American Chemical Society (ACS) couldn't have stated the problem more succinctly or dramatically.

In a press release, the ACS stated, "Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world’s oceans."

That's apparent from photos that depict the ocean plastic pollution problem in stark and vivid detail. It's not just an occasional bottle cap or container floating here or there. Huge amounts of discarded plastic materials have gathered in large masses. They might not be anywhere near your favorite beach, but it may only be a matter of time before they are.

Now a sailboat captain and Ph.D. chemist say that they are working on a process to recycle some of this plastic flotsam and, with the help of a compact mobile reactor, turn it into diesel fuel. It's possible that this process could one day pick up plastic from the ocean's surface and convert it into a fuel to power the boat that does the collecting.

The researchers presented their results last year at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the ACS.

Seafarer James E. Holm, who says he has observed the ocean and coastline become increasingly stained with pollution, said,  “A few years ago, I was sailing through the Panama Canal, and when I stopped at an island on the Atlantic side, I was stunned by the amount of plastic covering the beach. I thought if I had a chance to do something about it, I should.”

He teamed up with Swaminathan Ramesh, Ph.D., who wanted to discover a “killer idea” that had the capacity to bring about worldwide change.

Their work aims "to eliminate plastic waste by creating a market for it."

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Read 1868 times Last modified on Friday, 20 April 2018 05:03
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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