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Waste-To-Fuel System Powered By Solar



Waste-To-Fuel System Powered By Solar

(CTN News) – Cambridge University has developed a device that can convert plastics and greenhouse gases into fuels and products that can be used.

The waste-to-fuel process is a focus of many leading researchers seeking ways to reduce pollution, mitigate climate change, and make low-cost, sustainable fuels.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a system that uses electricity from solar panels to power plastics-to-fuel and carbon dioxide-to-fuel processes. Nature Synthesis published the results.

At the same time, the system is capable of converting two waste streams into two chemical products. In a solar-powered reactor, this is the first time that a process has been achieved.

By converting CO2 and plastics into a variety of products, the reactor is able to serve a variety of industries.

There is a huge problem with plastic pollution around the world. A large number of plastics thrown into recycling bins are incinerated or end up in landfills, according to Erwin Reisner, professor at Cambridge University.

The conversion of CO2 into syngas, a building block for sustainable liquid fuels, was demonstrated in early tests. In order to make glycolic acid, plastic bottles were converted into glycolic acid.

According to the research team, the system can easily be tuned to produce different products by changing the catalyst.

In this device, waste plastics and greenhouse gases are addressed, which are two of the most significant environmental problems facing humanity today.

By using solar energy to power the process, further emissions can be reduced that would otherwise be released by conventional power sources.

Cambridge researchers chose to use a perovskite-derived light absorber rather than conventional silicon-based solar cells. A perovskite-based photocathode was chosen for the reactor as it allows the integration of a variety of CO2-reduction catalysts.

Reisner believes that developing a circular economy, in which waste is turned into useful items instead of being disposed of in landfills, is vital if we are to address the climate crisis and protect the natural world in a meaningful manner.

“Using the sun to power these solutions means that we are doing it in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.”

The European Union, European Research Council, Cambridge Trust, Hermann and Marianne Straniak Stiftung, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) supported the research. St John’s College in Cambridge is the home of Erwin Reisner.

Cambridge scientists plan to develop the reactor over the next five years in order to produce more complex molecules.

Researchers believe that similar processes could be used to develop an entirely solar-powered recycling facility.

Can waste be used as fuel?

Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery. This process is often called waste to energy.


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