Plastic waste as a fuel: an example by ”Plastic Odyssey”
Every minute, 18 tons of plastic end up in the oceans. Once at sea, only 1% of this plastic floats and can be harvested. The remaining 99% is a serious threat to marine life.
While waiting for our consumption and production patterns to change dramatically, waiting for stopping the use of packaged products, we must tackle the problem at its root, the land. Among the potential transitional solutions, the conversion of plastic waste into fuel has a very encouraging potential. Four French merchant navy officers, entrepreneurs, and engineers – backed up by scientists and financial partners – have developed a pyrolysis unit that converts non-recyclable plastic waste into gasoline and diesel. They founded the “Plastic Odyssey” project to convince the coastal cities of Asia-Pacific, South America, and Africa that it is possible to recover their plastic waste at low cost while developing local jobs and cleaning up the oceans.
The founders of “Plastic Odyssey” were in Brussels on November 8 to present their project and make contacts with the European Commission. The main objective here is to give an international exposure to the project, beyond the French institutional support already acquired. Partnerships with potential Belgian sponsors will also be built.
In June 2020, Plastic Odyssey will set sail for a three-year expedition around the world on a 25-meter vessel powered solely by plastic waste. At each port of call, the explorers will organize cleanups and waste collections, recycle what can be, and turn the rest into fuel. The “Plastic Odyssey” catamaran will also serve as a workspace to build low-tech and open-source machines. A sorting machine, an extrusion machine, and a pyrolysis unit will be demonstrated and used with local visitors.
For now, “Ulysses”, a prototype boat powered by plastic waste, serves as a demonstrator. Christened on June 15 in Concarneau (Brittany, France), it’s the first boat to be equipped with a plastic-fuel unit, with a processing capacity of 5 kg of plastic per hour for a maximum production of 3 liters of diesel and 2 liters of petrol.
Plastic Odyssey is a non-profit organization. The technologies it develops and offers are collaborative and patent-free, affordable, easy to build and repair.
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