According to Innovation Toronto, scientists have found a way to turn plastic waste into useful liquid products - such as engine oil, lubricants, detergents and even cosmetics.
A study published in the journal ACS Central Science estimates that up to 380 million tons of plastic are produced annually worldwide. And as the plastic market continues to grow, many analysts predict that plastic production could quadruple by 2050. More than 75% of these plastic materials are discarded after one use. Many of the plastic debris enter the oceans and waterways, harming wildlife and spreading toxins.
More than 75% of plastic materials are discarded after one use - (Image: Northwestern University).
When in nature or in landfills, plastics are not destroyed, because in their molecules there is a strong bond between carbon atoms. Instead, they break into smaller particles - microplastic .
While some people see these strong connections as a problem, a team of US scientists at Northwestern Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Ames Laboratory saw this as an opportunity.
They created a catalyst composed of platinum nanoparticles sized just 2 nanometers, deposited on perovskite nanotubes with a length of 50-60 nm. The team chose the SrTiO 3 perovskite because it is stable at high temperatures and pressures, and is an exceptionally good material for energy conversion.
To coat nanoparticles for nanotubes, the team used atomic layer deposition, developed at the Argonne National Laboratory, to allow precise control of the movement of nanoparticles to the surface. necessary.
At moderate pressure and temperature, the catalyst breaks the bond between carbon atoms in the plastic. This allows obtaining liquids with high purity.