Using Plastic Bags to Make Petroleum Products
March 2, 2014 by
Plastic bags have been a constant nagging concern for environmentalists worldwide. While there have been bans and additional charges imposed on these bags, they continue to pile up in oceans and landfills, deteriorating the state of the environment. Thankfully, researchers have come to our aid by coming up with an innovative way to use these non-biodegradable substances to our benefit.
Plastic in Petroleum Products a Reality?
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) researchers from the University of Illinois, have discovered ways to transform plastic into petroleum through pyrolysis. Through pyrolysis, plastic bags are heated in a chamber without oxygen to obtain crude oil. While this technique has been previously employed by researchers, the ISTC researchers have gone a step further to fractionate the crude oil to obtain petroleum products. The results of the conversion were products such as naphtha, natural gas, waxes, lubricating oils, diesel, and gasoline. The diesel produced through the process, can be mixed with ultra-low-sulfur diesel and some biodiesel fuel types. The diesel was tested to see if it complied with the US standards.
ISTC senior research scientist, Brajendra Kumar Sharma, said that the diesel mixture they produced, had an equal energy content, with an octane number that was higher, and lubricity that was better than that of the ultra-low-sulphur diesel. The research team found that the plastic-converted diesel could be blended with regular diesel without any issues, and the same with biodiesel. Another laudable benefit of the process is, the amount of energy it produces is more than the energy it uses. While petroleum crude oil distillation process gives about 50-55 percent of fuel, this process recovers nearly 80 percent of fuel.
Switching from Petroleum Products to Wholesale Reusable Bags
Despite these advances in science, a safer choice would be to get used to an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. While these ground-breaking discoveries have no doubt brought a positive side of plastic bags to the front for the first time, the non-biodegradable plastic bags still continue to impact our environment negatively. Wholesale reusable bags, on the other hand, are environment-friendly and do not pose a threat to our environment. As people start getting accustomed to using wholesale reusable bags, we can slowly cut down the plastic bag numbers, doing much good to our environment.