Plastic waste, the scourge of the environment - clogging landfills and responsible for the deaths of thousands of marine life every year - have been given a new lease of life through an exciting new technology which converts waste plastic into useable fuels and gases.
In what is a world's first, Enviro-Hub Holdings, a main-board listed waste management and recycling company in Singapore, has announced the construction of a S$50 million plastic-to-fuel commercial plant after researching for a long-term environmental solution for plastic waste since 2005.
Using a patented technology developed in India, for which Enviro-Hub holds an exclusive license, the company built a pilot plant that was able to revert plastics back to its constituent - oil. The technology heats waste plastic with a special catalyst that breaks it down into 85 per cent diesel, 10 per cent liquid petroleum gas and 5 per cent coke.
And the good news is that the diesel produced - unlike older technologies - will have a low sulphur content and lower carbon dioxide emissions. The heating process of converting the waste plastic into fuel will also be emissions-free.
Enviro-Hub's new facility will initially be able to take up to 100 tonnes of waste plastic a day and at about 30,000 tonnes a year, it will produce 20 million litres of diesel, four to five million kilograms of gas and 1,500 tonnes of coke. The plant will also be self-generating, using about 5 per cent of the fuel it produces to power itself with the rest being sold to other industries. There are also plans to expand the plant's capacity to handle up to 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste by the end of 2008.
With an estimated 4 billion tonnes of plastic waste discarded worldwide every year, the commercial potential is huge and Enviro-Hub's initiative will go a long way in coming to grips with plastic waste - a persistent environmental scourge - and is a great example of using technology to come up with sustainable solutions for environmental issues.
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