Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

September 10, 2005


New Technology Produces Methane, Isobutane Fuels from Waste Plastic

Keywords: Government Reduce / Reuse / Recycle Renewable Energy University / Research institute 

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) of Japan, and Polymer Decomposition Laboratory (PDL) have succeeded in jointly developing a direct gasification technology to obtain gaseous fuels from waste plastics, AIST announced on May 17, 2005.

The new technology enables a continuous supply of marketable fuel gas while promoting the recycling of waste plastics. As a small-scale fuel generation technology that can be spread out geographically, this breakthrough has the potential to expand the waste plastics recycling business.

After three years of research, AIST created a horizontal moving-bed reactor based on a process designed by PDL and verified that practical and versatile fuels such as methane and isobutane can be obtained from polyethylene and polypropylene, with recovery rates of between 70 and 94 percent (by weight).

The new technology's excellent electrical heating performance and control of gaseous components made high-speed continuous gasification possible. These features are expected to help overcome two major challenges for plastics recycling: they allow more options in the size of processing capacity, which affects the cost of recycling of waste plastics; and they produce value-added products from the recovered material.

The technologies were proven to be economically viable even when processing three tons or less of plastics per day, meaning that even small-scale recycling facilities can produce the fuel gas. AIST aims to put the technology into commercial use within about two years.

Posted: 2005/09/10 09:43:14 AM
Japanese version