A new research claims plastic found in food packaging can be recycled for new material for electricity. This could also curb plastic waste in the future. The study led by scientists from the Swansea University found that although plastic could be recycled in a thousand different ways by means of conventional technology, other things could also be implemented after plastic was disposed from its previous use. The study thus focused on using chemical recycling. Through this method constituent elements of plastic could also make new materials. According to reports, while plastics were made of hydrogen, carbon and sometimes even oxygen, the amounts of the elements and their arrangement made every plastic unique. Experts claim plastic as very pure and as a highly refined chemical, which can be broken into elements and then bonded into different arrangements in order to make high value materials such as carbon nanotubes. For the study the team carried out plastic testing, especially with black plastic, which is easily recycled and is commonly used for packaging ready meals and for groceries in the supermarket. During the experiment, scientists removed the carbon and created nanotube molecules from the bottom with the help of carbon atoms. The nanotubes could transmit electricity and also light a bulb in a demonstrator model. Furthermore, nanotubes can be advantageous in creating a large number of things, ranging from conductive films for touchscreen displays, flexible electronics fabrics to antennas for 5G networks. Moreover, NASA has also used them in preventing electric shocks on the Juno spacecraft. After successful implementation of experiments, experts plan to develop high purity carbon electrical cables with the help of waste plastic material which could also improve the nanotube material’s electrical performance, in addition to increasing its output, thus making it ready for a large-scale deployment in the upcoming three years. The research study conducted by Swansea University is regarded as fruitful because it can overcome the problem of overheated and failing electricity cables. These problems further constitute 8% of electricity loss in transmission and distribution. “Many long range cables, which are made of metals, can’t operate at full capacity because they would overheat and melt. This presents a real problem for a renewable energy future using wind or solar,” commented Dr Alvin Orbaek White, fellow at the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI).
Tags : Energy Safety Research Institute, Alvin Orbaek White, nanotube material,