Plastic Waste Could Power the Cars of the Future

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 16:50

Scientists at Swansea University have developed the groundbreaking process that could be a cheaper alternative to recycling as the plastic does not need to be cleaned first.

Dr. Moritz Kuehnel, from the university's chemistry department, said: 'There's a lot of plastic used every year – billions of tones – and only a fraction of it is being recycled. We are trying to find a use for what is not being recycled, Daily Mail reports.

'The process produces hydrogen gas. You can see bubbles coming off the surface. You can use it, for example, to fuel a hydrogen car.'

Light-absorbing material is added to the discarded plastic before it is placed in an alkaline solution and exposed to sunlight, which creates hydrogen.

But it may take years before the plastic-to-fuel process can be rolled out on an industrial level.

The work, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and an Austrian petrochemical company, has also shown how the remains of the plastic could be recycled to make new plastic.

Recent research has suggested hydrogen fuel cell cars could one day challenge electric cars in the race for pollution-free roads - but only if more stations are built to fuel them.

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