Northeastern University student researchers have come up
with an apparatus to convert plastic waste into clean
energy without releasing harmful emissions.
leadership of Yiannis Levendis, distinguished professor
of mechanical and industrial engineering, a team of
undergraduate and graduate engineering students
developed a waste combustor, which breaks down
non-biodegradable plastics to create an alternative
source of fuel.
prototype was featured at the fifth annual MIT Energy
Conference this past March.
Self-sustainability is the key to the double-tank
combustor design. Plastic waste is first processed in an
upper tank through pyrolysis, which converts solid
plastic into gas. Next, the gas flows to a lower tank,
where it is burned with oxidants to generate heat and
steam. The heat sustains the combustor while the steam
can be used to generate electric power.
prototype can be scaled up to drive a large power plant,
which could connect to a plastic recycling center for a
constant flow of fuel," said David Laskowski, an
undergraduate student working on the team.evendis, who
has pursued research on the combustion of plastics and
other post-consumer wastes for the past 20 years, is
currently focusing on the concept of vaporizing solid
plastic waste, which would reduce levels of harmful
emissions during the combustion process.
inspiration behind my research is the quest to develop
clean, cost-efficient power sources in the face of
dwindling fossil fuel reserves," Levendis said. "It will
also help get rid of unsightly, non-biodegradable
plastic waste that cannot be recycled." (ANI)