A Washington, DC-based company named Envion claims it has a solution for our plastic waste problems, according to Inhabitat the company has developed an energy-efficient process that turns plastic into $10 per barrel oil-like fuel that can be blended with other components and used as either gasoline or diesel. A $5 million test plant was opened in Washington, DC yesterday, so I guess we'll find out soon if the process works as well as the company claims.
Envion makes its plastic-to-oil conversion by heating up plastic to a pre-set temperature using infra-red energy. The process removes hydrocarbons without the use of a catalyst, resulting in a net gain of captured energy–82% of all material that goes in is transformed into fuel. In the past, attempts to turn plastic into fuel have resulted in a net loss of energy.
Each Envion machine can process up to 10,000 tons of plastic waste each year (including bottle caps) and produce three to five barrels of fuel per ton with a total electricity cost of 7 to 12 cents per gallon.