Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Plastic oil’ could improve fuel economy in cars, chemists say

14.06.2005


Recycled plastic bottles could one day be used to lubricate your car’s engine, according to researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky, who in laboratory experiments converted waste plastic into lubricating oil. These polyethylene-derived oils, they say, could help improve fuel economy and reduce the frequency of oil changes.



The pilot study appears in the July 20 issue of the American Chemical Society’s peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels. ACS is the world’s largest scientific society.

"This technology potentially could have a significant environmental impact. It could make a difference in communities that want to do something positive about their waste plastic problem, especially if there is a refinery nearby that could do all of the processing steps," says the study’s lead author Stephen J. Miller, Ph.D., a senior consulting scientist and Chevron Fellow at Chevron Energy Technology Company in Richmond, Calif.


Americans use about 25 million tons of plastic each year. However, only about 1 million tons of it is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The remainder ends up in landfills.

Some researchers have tried to use recyclable plastic to produce fuels, but commercial interest in this application has been limited. Most of this plastic is polyethylene, which the Chevron and University of Kentucky researchers showed can be broken down by heat into a wax that can be converted into a high quality lubricating oil, Miller says.

Of the plastic used in the pilot study, about 60 percent was converted into a wax with the right molecular properties for further processing to make lubricating oil for uses such as motor oil or transmission fluid. These high quality oils derived from wax can assist auto manufacturers in meeting mandated fuel economy specifications, Miller says.

The process for converting wax to lubricating oil used in this pilot study was put into commercial use by Chevron in the early 1990s with waxy petroleum-derived sources. In the future, superior lubricating oils will be produced from wax derived from a catalytic process known as Fischer-Tropsch, which starts with natural gas, Miller says. This process will be used commercially overseas, primarily in the Middle East, where natural gas is less costly than in the United States. In the U.S., production of Fischer-Tropsch wax will likely be limited for a number of years.

However, this new study suggests that using wax derived from recyclable plastic can produce lubricants that are of equal quality compared to those derived from Fischer-Tropsch wax, Miller says.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Linear potentiometer LRW2/3 - Maximum precision with many measuring points
17.05.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht First flat lens for immersion microscope provides alternative to centuries-old technique
17.05.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>