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Directory:Plastic and Energy

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Non-oil-derived plastics, recycling plastic, solar applications of plastic; and other alternative, clean-energy related applications or contexts of plastic.


Plastic Harvesting

Polymers Back to Polymers and Fuel

  • Waste to Energy / Tire Recycling Breakthrough - Delta Energy's DEPolymerization™ process takes one of the world's biggest pollution problems - discarded tires - and turns them into usable fuel, made possible by a secret chemical compound. 99% of the original tire is turned into something useful, from natural gas to diesel fuel to carbon that can be reused in the rubber and plastics industry. (; Nov. 12, 2007)

Plastic to Energy

  • Waste to Energy / Plastic >
    Plastic Bags Into Power? - In a process that is as simple as throwing bits of plastic in a chamber and heating it up, Vilas Pol of Argonne National Laboratory can turn the plastic into tiny spheres of pure carbon just a few microns across. These spheres, which conduct heat and electricity, could be useful in a long list of applications from tires to batteries to lubricants. (Discovery; June 25, 2010)
  • Waste to Energy > Plastic and Energy >
    Transforming waste plastic into an alternative fuel - A team of researchers at Northeastern University are developing a double-tank waste combustor for converts plastic waste into energy without creating harmful emissions. Plastic is first processed in an upper tank, which converts the material into gas through pyrolysis. Then, the gas moves to a lower tank, where it’s burned with oxidants, generating heat and steam, which drive combustion and generate electric power. (PhysOrg; May 10, 2010)

Plastic Back to Oil

  • Featured: Waste to Energy > Plastic > Oil >
    Blest Machine recycles plastic back into oil - A Japanese device converts certain plastics into oil -- and it is presently commercially available in sizes ranging from a tabletop version for a home to larger continuous feed versions for small industrial use. The plastic is boiled, not burnt, and the gaseous fumes are vented into a water bubbler, which cools the gas into oil. (PESWiki; December 17, 2010)
  • GRC Microwave Turns Carbon Items into Oil and Gas - Frank Pringle of Global Resource Corp (GRC) has invented and refined an efficient microwave energy process to turn plastics, discarded tires, and other carbon-based substances such as shale, coal, and tar sands into gas and oil.
  • Polymer Energy LLC Turns Waste Plastics into Renewable Energy - The Polymer Energy™ system uses catalytic pyrolysis to efficiently convert plastics (primarily polyolefins) into crude oil. The system can handle as high as 30% impurities such as metals, glass, dirt, water, etc. in the feedstock, making pre-sorting, cleaning, or drying unnecessary, reducing overall operational costs.
  • New Envion Facility Turns Plastic Waste into $10/Barrel Fuel - Washington, DC company claims it can turn plastic into an oil-like fuel for just $10 per barrel, which can be blended with other components and used as either gasoline or diesel. The process entails heating up plastic using infrared light, which removes hydrocarbons without the use of a catalyst. (Inhabitat; September 16, 2009)

Non-Fossil-Based Oil for Plastic

  • Biomass / Alternative Fuels / Non-Fossil Oil >
    Bacteria Make Oil from Biomass - A Georgia company has announced that they have devised a simple, natural way to convert anything that grows out of the Earth into oil. The inventor's formula is simple. Basically, biomass (such as grass clippings or wood chips) plus the right bacteria equals hydrocarbons, which make not just fuel but plastics and other petroleum products. (PESWiki; May 10, 2008)

Plant-Based Plastic

See Directory:Plant-Based Plastic - separate index page

Image:Plant_3-leaf_95x95.jpg Image:Polylactic acid PLA cup 95x95.jpg Image:Biomass-HMF-plastic or fuel 95x95.jpg Image:Liquid wood 95x95.gif

Non-Oil-Based Plastic

  • Genomatica develops novel bioplastic - San Diego-based Genomatica said today it has developed genetically engineered E.Coli bacteria that could replace the need for petroleum in the process to make some plastics. (CleanTech; Sept. 16, 2008)
  • US Survey: 70+% of Americans Don't Know Plastic is Made from Oil - 40% believe plastic will biodegrade at some point. In truth, nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption – approximately 2 million barrels a day – is used to make non-biodegradable plastic. Survey was cosponsored by Metabolix, Inc., a company using bioscience to provide clean solutions for plastics, fuels and chemicals. (BusinessWire; Apr. 20, 2007)
  • New Bio Plastics from DuPont - More biopolymers are approaching commercial viability, adding to latex rubber and nylon-11 (made from a by-product of castor bean oil), which presently account for only a small fraction of the millions of polymer products in use today. (TreeHugger; July 6, 2006)
  • Waste Plastic Becomes Clean Burning Fuel - Penn. State University has developed PlastoFuel pellets from dirty waste Agri-plastics. GR Technologies of Korea has patented burner converting same to alternative energy. (Blogspot; June 6, 2005)
  • Plastics > Huge potential for bioplastics - It almost sounds too good to be true - turning cow pats into plastic. But the unlikely-looking liquid in the flask Dr Steven Pratt holds is the key ingredient to an environmentally friendlier drink bottle. (PhysOrg; July 17, 2006)
  • Bacteria are key to 'green' plastics, drugs - Scientists are using a genetically modified bacteria that metabolizes glucose from grain sorghum and produces almost pure succinate, a key ingredient of many plastics, drugs, solvents and food additives. (EurekAlert; Aug. 22, 2005)

Other Alternative Energy Applications

Plastic Batteries


  • Plastic / Solar > PV >
    Low-cost, more efficient solar cells mostly plastic - By growing arrays of silicon wires in a polymer substrate, researchers at Caltech have demonstrated what they say are flexible solar cells that absorb up to 96 percent of incident light and harvest over 90 percent quantum efficiency, compared with 25 percent for the best silicon solar cells. The wires are made up of 98 percent plastic, potentially lowering the cost of photovoltaics by using just 1/50th the amount of semiconductor material used today. (EETimes; Feb. 18, 2010)
  • XsunX Developing Solar Film for Buildings' Windows - See-through thin film plastic Power Glass™ integrates solar collection capabilities in a cost-comparable substrate to existing film products, taking energy gain into consideration. (PESN; June 9, 2005) (Thanks Sandi)


  • New Plastic to Cut CO2 Emissions and Purify Water - Scientists have created a plastic material that mimics pores found in plants and is exceptionally efficient. It can separate carbon dioxide from natural gas a few hundred times faster than current plastic membranes. (Slashdot; Oct. 15, 2007)


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