Producing fuel from plastic, a possibility – Researchers

Mr. Commeh pouring some of the fuel into an electric generatorTwo engineers and one energy expert at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have developed a new technology that can convert waste plastic into fuel.

Messrs Michael K. Commeh, Isaiah Nimako and Nene Amoatey, Researchers at Applied Industrial Ceramics and Rural Energy and Enterprise Development Unit (AIC-REED) of the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) of KNUST used “Reverse Function theory” and “Thermal Decomposition approach” to develop the technology.

The researchers, who made this known to the Ghana News Agency at a display of fuels from plastic waste at the KNUST, said the fuels can either be petrol, aviation fuel or diesel, which they say is their focus for now.

Mr Commeh, the team leader, said the project has attracted masters in science (MSc) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) students and hoped it would be the beginning of a contribution to the new discourse of creative sustainable economy.

He explained that climate change, with its inherent health issues; water scarcity, inequality and poverty are staring challenges facing the environment, social and ethical issues.

“This imperatively, calls for greater innovation and creativity,” adding that; “imagination, inspiration and the desire to passionately overcome these challenges will come from innovatively reframing problems into opportunities.”

Mr Nimako, also a leader, told the GNA that the project would leave a legacy that would radiate beyond the laboratory through social entrepreneurship approach as well as academic excellence.

Nene Amoatey, a team member said plastic waste has been a global menace and an issue for discussions at various conferences, seminars and platforms both locally and on the international front.

He said in Ghana alone, about 200,000 tons of waste are generated every day with close to 60 per cent made up of plastics and therefore “the research team sees waste as ‘money in transition’ and took the challenge in converting it into money, and plastic is one of them among others.”

According to the researchers, they are looking forward to setting up various plants throughout the country and called on donors, collaborators and investors to partner them to contribute their knowledge to solve the plastic waste menace whilst generating revenue alongside.

“The team believes the technology can be applied to e-waste to turn its plastic to fuel as well as retrieve gold, platinum, copper from electronic waste among others,” the researchers stated. GNA

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