I saw this article back around the first of the year sometime that talked about a machine that could turn plastic bags into back into oil and was pretty excited about it. I meant to write about it at the time, but I heard someone mention the process in passing at a ballgame of all places and thought I would go back to it. After a little bit of searching I was finally able to come up with the original article about plastic bag back to crude oil machine and to save you a bit effort, here is the link – http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/15/6059428-machine-turns-plastic-bags-into-fuel.
Of course I like the idea, as it is clearly a green option to a couple of options. The machine will take the plastic bags that we seem to have an overabundance of hear the US and converts them back to a form of oil that is very similar to some types of crude oil. So, we take the bags that end often blowing in the wind everywhere as litter – and convert them into something that is actually useful. And we eliminate what is purported to have happened to bags collected for recycling the past and ended up in the landfill all the same. Bonus for green usage as it will take things like soda bottles and other similar post consumer plastics.
So the technology is there and that is awesome. But is only on a small-scale at this point. The article suggesting with the size of the machine it is perfect for household use. Home use, imagine the possibilities. The oil in the form it comes of the machine can be used in some stoves and generators as is – which is pretty awesome. It can be further refined (and large machines that do a similar process) produce it in quantity enough that sometimes it used for gasoline and such after the process.
As if all that is not enough to be excited about regarding the machine, it is also praised for the high efficiency the machine achieves. Apparently a kilogram of plastic goes in, add a kilowatt-hour of energy, and out comes a liter of oil. Now, I admit I do not know how much oil would be required to produce the kilowatt of energy, but if it is praised as efficient I assume it has to be less to be a win, right?
So, right now you can buy one for your home for $10,000. Wonder how much the price is going to come down as they build more of the units, as at this price point it is still just a little outside the range the of the average consumer.
** – Image from the MSNBC article linked above.