Is it possible to turn plastic into crude oil? An Oregon based company by the name of Agilyx claims that not only is it possible, they have already invented a process in which discarded plastic is converted into oil. A model has been in the works for over the past 18 months, with the company setting it’s hopes for marketing commercial versions within the next year.
The system which converts plastic into “black gold” consists of an compilation of pipes and containers, which cooks plastics down into a gas, which is then condensed from a vapor to a sequence of hydrocarbons that can be converted into diesel, jet fuel, or other fuel-like substances.
One factory prototype can convert 40 tons of plastic into 130 barrels of oil per day- an impressive amount of fuel, no doubt, but nothing near as impressive as some of the larger modules that are in the works.
Large corporations and investors are always looking for new ways in which to recycle and help the planet. Some people mark the current era we are in as a “Nascent Golden Age of Garbage.”
The United States produces approximately 243 million tons of municipal solid waste per year. The Houston-based national waste pickup business, Waste Management, has recently invested in Agilyx, as well as other “resource recovery” companies. Not only that, but Waste Management has also started listing itself as a resource services company.
French oil company Total, along with Kleiner Perkins Caufield &Byers have also invested in Agilyx.
Two trillion pounds of plastic are currently rotting in landfills throughout the United States. Plastic has to be extracted in order for a trash hauler to generate methane from organic materials. Plastic is particularly reusable, with about 25 % of the nations complete plastic volume. Only a very small percentage of plastic in landfills is easily recycled. Some nations actually consider burning plastic for fuel a form of recycling.
This actually causes an even bigger environmental hazard, much to environmental activists chagrin. Nobody is quite sure how much this trash crude oil will generate – or cost in order to make. Other uses are currently being investigated for old household items found in landfills. Modular Carpet Recycling can extract commercially workable nylon from old carpets; Lehigh Technologies has a specially designed mill used for grinding expired pharmaceuticals to recycled rubber.
It won’t be long before ordinary household items, such as glass windows, couches and benches will be receiving their time in the recycling spotlight.
“I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.” ~Thomas Edison Quote