Energy & Sustainability
Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

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Convert plastics back to oil using microwaves… –

A US company is taking plastics recycling to another level – turning them back into the oil they were made from, and gas.

All that is needed, claims Global Resource Corporation (GRC), is a finely tuned microwave and – hey presto! – a mix of materials that were made from oil can be reduced back to oil and combustible gas (and a few leftovers).

Key to GRC’s process is a machine that uses 1200 different frequencies within the microwave range, which act on specific hydrocarbon materials. As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas.

Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil – [via] Link.

8 thoughts on “Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

  1. OK, so what’s the energy economics on this? Does the microwaving take more energy than you get from the created fuel? If so, it might be an acceptable way to reduce the landfill load, but overall it may not be an environmental win.

  2. “Does the microwaving take more energy than you get from the created fuel?”

    Probably, but using solar collected energy or nuclear energy to power the microwave process may be a viable option. (It depends on the microwave’s role in the actual splitting of the hydrocarbons’ bonds)

    “but overall it may not be an environmental win.”
    You are right since it still eventually will put CO2 back into the atmosphere.

  3. From link – “GRC says its Hawk-10 can extract enough oil and gas from the left-over fluff to run the Hawk-10 itself and a number of other machines used by Gershow.” It must vary from application to application, but at least it gives a payback in some cases.

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