Adelaide, Australia — An Australian inventor has developed a expertise he says can convert waste plastic into power and fertilizer utilizing anaerobic digestion.
David Thompson, based mostly in Adelaide, mentioned his plastic-to-energy expertise, which he calls “poet,” an acronym for polymer natural power therapy, has been used efficiently for polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene.
He mentioned in an article revealed on The Lead, a promotional web site for South Australia, the poet system “prepares waste plastic in a manner that microbial digestion can happen shortly and I believe that is actually the important thing to creating it a industrial alternative.”
Thompson expects to have the primary two machines, every able to processing 20 metric tons of plastic every week, working commercially in mid-2018. The machines can be constructed at wastewater therapy vegetation within the state of Victoria.
The identical microbes will deal with plastics and water concurrently. The microbes then die and go away behind liquid and strong biomass, which can be utilized as fertilizer, and biogas, which may be separated into methane and carbon dioxide.
Thompson informed The Lead the methane could possibly be used to create warmth and power, probably to energy the wastewater plant, and there was potential for the carbon dioxide to be captured and reused.
“Mainly, plastics go into an anaerobic scenario in wastewater the place the microbes digest the plastic and create power,” he mentioned.
Thompson mentioned Australia has greater than 550 wastewater therapy vegetation: “At the least half would have anaerobic digestion amenities hooked up so it is a good alternative to go down that path.
“I already have inquiries from abroad, together with a big consortium in South America that’s fairly to get entangled and take the expertise over there,” he mentioned.
Thompson mentioned the poet system didn’t impression current recycling practices as a result of it targets plastics destined for the landfill and can add a brand new income stream for waste trade firms. He mentioned greater than 1 million metric tons of plastics unfit for recycling goes to landfill in Australia yearly.
Poet is a semifinalist within the 2017 Australian Applied sciences Competitors, which promotes startup applied sciences with international potential. Winners can be unveiled in October and November.