All of us know there’s more plastic waste in the world than ever before. It fills out dumps, it forms islands in the ocean, and even when you put it in the recycling bin, there’s a better-than-even chance your plastic only isn’t going to be turned into something new. While scientists have been trying to find solutions to this massive problem for years, there’s a facility being built in the U.K. that might provide us a way to turn waste plastic from garbage into a valuable resource on a large scale in the near future.
Today’s Trash Might Be Tomorrow’s Treasure
According to Intelligent Living, the facility will be built in Cheshire by Peel Environmental. It’s the first of as many as 11 planned facilities across the U.K. The facility’s purpose is to take waste plastic and convert it into fuel-grade hydrogen gas by using a process referred to as Distributed Modular Generation. This process works because a sealed chamber is filled with plastic waste and then heated to an extremely high temperature. This process produces carbon, as well as what’s called synthetic gas, syngas for short. The syngas is then piped to another chamber where it’s modulated and transformed into fuel-grade hydrogen.
It’s estimated that the facility, once it’s complete, will be able to handle 35 tons of plastic waste per day. And the hydrogen, once it’s generated, could be used to fuel vehicles, to produce electricity for the power grid, it could be used for heating applications, or in dozens of other ways.
This will be the first time this technology is used on a large, commercial scale. However, if the current plans go through, the total facilities could handle over 380 tons of plastic per day, converting it into a useful, industrial-grade resource. If the technology spreads and hydrogen power becomes far more common, it might seriously impact fossil fuel usage. It will change the way large swaths of the transportation section run and turn used plastic from a problematic waste material into a valuable commodity practically overnight.