Of all the myriad kinds of municipal waste generated by cities, plastic is among the most difficult to recycle and reuse in an environmentally safe manner.
Now, however, a Vadodarabased firm, Green Earth Foundation, is claiming to have invented a technique to convert plastic to industrial fuel using a zero-discharge, zero residue process. “One kg of plastic can be converted to one litre of hydrocarbons with properties matching those of diesel,” said Green Earth promoter Manoj M Sharma.
Although he doesn’t come out and actually say so, the inference is clear; the fuel can also be used to power vehicles that run on diesel. Sharma says he’s holding discussions with a2z Limited, the Indore Municipal Corporation’s secondary waste collection contractor, to procure plastic needed for the process. “All kinds of plastic HDPE, LDPE, PVC can be recycled and converted to fuel using this process,” said Sharma. “But PET is unusable”, he added.
Sharma said the technique had been patented by Niladri Bhattacharya, a Kolkata-based inventor. So what’s the Indore connection? “We’re planning to set up operations here,” he said. Sharma said after the plastic was collected the first step was to remove impurities. “It is then packed into bales which are then placed in a reaction vessel after which the catalyst is added”. It is then heated until the mixture begins to evaporate.