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India to soon convert its plastic waste into fuel
While plastic waste is becoming an issue of great concern, the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), a constituent lab of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has for the first time in the country developed a technology to convert plastic waste into petroleum products. The IIP has developed a technology that uses a combination of catalysts to produce diesel and petrol. Such a technology is so far available only in Germany, Japan and the US, while Australia and the UK are still working on it.

The technology converts plastic into gasoline, diesel or aromatics through the use of a combination of suitable catalysts. It will also produce LPG as a common by-product. According to IIP Director, M.O. Garg, the fuels obtained (gasoline and diesel) through the process employed in the technology meet Euro-III standards and are of ultra high-quality.

According to the officials, with almost nil sulphur content, the diesel obtained through the process is said to be of high quality. It will lead to vastly reduced emissions from engines. An engine run on this fuel will enable a vehicle to run for at least two km more per litre than ordinary diesel.

Garg also mentioned that they have applied for a patent and have developed this after nearly a decade of intensive research. They have plans to commercialise the technology although they are still engaged in the process of engineering to design heavy machinery and processes. The fuel is said to be ideal for captive users like the state road transport corporations, the defence establishment and railways. In the absence of effective implementation and enforcement of Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules of 1989, the handling of plastic waste continues to be a major challenge in the country. The technology, if commercially implemented, will considerably address India's rising problem of hazardous plastic waste.

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