Show Details

Mobile Plastic Fuel

April 3, 2017

Mobile power reactors could turn plastic garbage into gasoline and diesel fuel.



Mobile plastic fuel. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly fuels his deLorean by stuffing garbage into a Mr. Fusion energy reactor. While that’s science fiction, garbage-powered transport may really be in our future. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers announced that they’ve developed a small reactor that can convert the plastic trash that’s littering our oceans into gasoline and diesel fuel. The project is the brainchild of sailboat captain James Holm and organic chemist Swaminathan Ramesh of EcoFuel Technologies. Ramesh says the machine sets off a chemical reaction that efficiently breaks down plastic into fuel. No further refining is needed, a big money-saver.

SWAMINATHAN RAMESH (EcoFuel Technologies):

So you produce and use the fuel to run your boat. It’s self-contained.


Ramesh says a larger version could power a small city without the need for a costly power plant. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard