Turning Plastic into Petrol: The Future of Recycling in Australia

Turning Plastic into Petrol: The Future of Recycling in Australia

October 15, 2019 4 By Stanley Isaacs


With China’s recent ban on recycling
foreign waste, Australia is scrambling to figure out what to do with the 600,000
tonnes of recycling waste generated every year. The team from Monash Chemical
Engineering see this as an opportunity using their research to help solve the
recycling crisis. Here there’s an opportunity for us to develop an
industry here in Australia, here in Victoria. What Professor Bhattacharya has
built is a prototype processing plant on campus that turns everyday plastics into
petrol. Plastics originated in the first place from petroleum. Converting the plastics back into liquid fuel, that’s the work that we do. In as much as we are able to reduce the use of plastics, I do not think we will be able to completely
eliminate the use of plastics from packaging, therefore at the end we will
have to find out what we can do with this, and that’s where our research is
adding value. The process involves heating shredded plastics to high
temperatures creating oil and gas vapours that are then mixed with the catalyst to
produce either diesel or petrol fuels. I’d like to see this technology
commercialised in five years, here in Victoria day-in day-out these plants
will be operating and producing liquid fuels. Not only will this have a major effect on landfill but it may also reduce the creeping price at the pump. We are reusing we are recycling many of the ingredients which are very low cost ingredients, we are turning them into a high-value product, either the liquid fuel or gas. It makes very good economic sense as well.