Monday 23 August 2010

Akinori Ito invents a machine converting Waste Plastic into Oil

"it is estimated that 7% of the world’s annual oil production is used to produce and manufacture plastic. That is more than the oil consumed by the entire African continent. Plastic trash is also polluting our oceans and washing up on beaches around the world. Tons of plastic from the US and Japan are floating in the Pacific Ocean, killing mammals and birds."

Akinori Ito, CEO of Blest has invented a machine that turns plastic back into oil using temperature controlling electric heater. The interesting thing he says in the video is how he uses the machine to teach people that plastic is not waste, but a resource that can be reused.

"The machines are able to process polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene (numbers 2-4) but not PET bottles (number 1). The result is a crude gas that can fuel things like generators or stoves and, when refined, can even be pumped into a car, a boat or motorbike. One kilogram of plastic produces almost one liter of oil. To convert that amount takes about 1 kilowatt of electricity, which is approximately ¥20 or 20 cents’ worth. The company makes the machines in various sizes and has 60 in place at farms, fisheries and small factories in Japan and several abroad. Currently the smallest version, shown in the videobrief, costs ¥950,000 (US $9,500)."

Although Akinori Ito's machine seems to be a worthwhile invention, I do wonder whether using 650Wh of electricity to produce one liter of oil from 1kg of plastic is all that environmentally sustainable ?

Due to much interest in this technology and since posting this story the Japanese Blest company has further developed its technology. The machine demonstrated in the video above is now available to purchase for $12,700 plus tax, and they have also have added to 2 industrial scaled machines as well as two machines to refine the oil into useable gasoline. Click here to learn more.
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