Details have recently been released of an important R&D+I project which produces fuel from plastic waste. The product obtained can be used by standard diesel vehicles and in domestic and industrial boilers and electric generators.
The initiative, funded by Spain’s Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness, seeks to take advantage of the high energy value of plastic waste that usually ends up on rubbish tips while simultaneously reducing Spain’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.
Using thermal and catalytic cracking, which subjects thermoplastics to a certain range of temperatures, the material is transformed from a solid to a gas state. Part of the non-condensable gas powers the process and makes it self-sustainable while another part is condensed into gasoline, kerosene and diesel which, once distilled, are comparable to commercial fuel and can be used by standard vehicles. According to initial tests, around 0.8 litres of fuel can be obtained from each kilo of plastic.
This R&D+i project complies with the new Law on Waste and Land Contamination, because the materials used are not recyclable plastics but those outside the selective collection circuit and from the plastics industry itself.