Dec 12 - as countries around the world struggle to reduce plastic waste, researchers in Singapore said today they have developed environmentally friendly technology that USES artificial sunlight to break down plastic into fuel for power generation.
Experiments on plastic decomposition were conducted at nanyang technological university in Singapore
Researchers in Singapore say they have converted plastic into formic acid (formic acid), a fuel used in power plants, using a catalyst that neither damages the environment nor costs much money, agence france-presse reported.
In laboratory experiments, researchers at nanyang technological university have mixed plastics and chemicals into a solution that can be broken down using artificial sunlight.
Plastic breaks down within six days, a process scientists hope will one day take place in real sunlight.
"We can turn plastics that pollute the ocean into useful chemicals," said Soo Han Sen, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in nanyang technological university's school of mathematics and science, who is leading the two-year research project.
"We hope to turn this into a fully renewable process that is carbon neutral."
Other ways to recycle plastic often involve melting it with fossil fuels, which produce climate-damaging greenhouse gases.
But only a small amount of plastic has been converted to formic acid so far, and su acknowledges that the process still faces challenges in successfully replicating it on a large scale.
More people and money will be needed to develop the technology, and so far researchers have only experimented with pure plastic fragments, not plastic waste.