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Ocean Plastic to Energy

April 6, 2018

Technology for turning plastic trash into energy could keep the garbage out of the ocean.

Transcript

Plastic trash ends up in the ocean. (Bo Eide/ public domain, via flickr)

Plastic trash ends up in the ocean. (Bo Eide/ public domain, via flickr)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Electricity from plastic. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Plastic trash is piling up in our oceans much faster than once thought. And just reducing, reusing and recycling the waste before it gets there isn’t enough, according to Frédéric Sciacca, chief technology officer at the Race for Water Foundation. At the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference, he described efforts to partner with island and coastal communities around the world to develop small, modular power plants to convert their excess trash into gas or electricity at extremely high temperatures.

FRÉDÉRIC SCIACCA (Chief technology officer, Race for Water Foundation):

Right now, as we speak, the majority of plastic is ending in the landfills, and that’s why we need to act now to be able to turn it into a resource.

HIRSHON:

He says the technology can complement recycling efforts because it requires only minimal cleaning and sorting.

SCIACCA:

And that’s why it’s an important part of the answer.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard