Japanese Inventor Creates Machine that Converts Plastic Bags into Fuel


Written by Megan Treacy on 14/02/11
Plastic bags have been the enemy of environmentalists for pretty much as long as they have existed.  Not only are they made from oil, but they clog our landfills for hundreds of years.  Many cities, states and countries have banned plastic bags altogether, but for most of the world, they'll be hanging around for a while longer.
In an attempt to deal with the millions and millions of plastic bags used every year, Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has created a machine that can turn plastic bags into fuel in a carbon negative process.  The machine, which is now being sold by the inventor's Blest Corporation, heats the plastic and traps the vapors in a system of pipes, where the vapors are cooled and condensed into crude oil. The crude oil can be used in generators and even some stoves, but with one more refining step, it can be used in gasoline.
The very efficient machine can process two pounds of plastic (including polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene) into a quart of oil using only one kilowatt of electricity.
Obviously, once the fuel is burned, it will release CO2 into the atmosphere, but it's allowing the oil that created the plastic to be used twice instead of just once and then sent to a landfill.  That cuts down on the amount of oil we need to extract and keeps plastic out of landfills.
The machine is meant for households, but it currently costs $10,000, which is pretty steep.  Ito hopes that the cost of the machine will drop as production increases.
via CleanTechnica
Image via Blest Corporation

4 comments:

Grace said...

hmmm... wonder what kind of other toxins it lets off when the plastic bag breaks down.

Green Bag Lady Teresa said...

I thought the SAME thing Grace! Hmmmm. Thought it was worth posting about though. At least people are thinking about solutions!

shilpi said...

It is a good attempt for the existing load of plastic trash. But this should not be an excuse for people to get more plastic and then try to stuff it into this machine. I know some people would do exactly that, especially after spending so much on the machine might as well use it no!

Green Bag Lady Teresa said...

I completely agree Shilpi, I am just hoping that it can be used to clean up the existing problem and not an excuse for more!!!!