Mixed plastic waste is the bane of the rubbish tip. With much of it laminated, contaminated or otherwise, it often cannot be recycled using conventional techniques.

Yet new research at the Bristol Robotics Lab, in partnership with Recycling Technologies, is testing a new fuel made from mixed plastic waste material that can be used as an alternative to crude derived fuels in industrial and marine engines.

“This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to fossil fuels”

 

Research on Plaxx, as it’s been named, is also of interest to waste treatment companies, packaging manufacturers and local waste-handling authorities as its long-term application helps create a useable resource from waste which cannot be efficiently recycled mechanically.

UWE’s Associate Professor on the project, Farid Dailami explains: “This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to the fossil fuel, heavy fuel oil (HFO), currently used in marine diesel engines and industrial engines. Our research will compare the performance of this fuel with standard diesel fuel in order to gain data on how it performs and to ensure it won’t damage the engine or cause harmful emissions or gases.

“The aim is to demonstrate to producers and users of these engines that Plaxx can be a viable alternative to HFO and to pave the way for commercialisation of Plaxx.”

“Plaxx™ is very low in sulphur and is made from a waste product which otherwise would have to go into landfill or be incinerated”

 

He adds: “HFO is a fossil fuel which needs to be extracted and refined and therefore has environmental costs and consequences, whereas Plaxx is very low in sulphur and is made from a waste product which otherwise would have to go into landfill or be incinerated.

“Our research will seek to show if you put Plaxx into an engine it won’t harm the engine. In time Plaxx, as an alternative to HFO, has the potential to benefit local authorities and ultimately tax payers, by lowering the cost of waste management and turning plastic waste into a useable fuel.”

Keep an eye out for more about Plaxx™ research on the Bristol Robotics Lab website and partner company Recycling Technologies. You can also follow Bristol Robotics Lab on Twitter: @BristolRobotLab.

Image credit: Bo Eide

Alice Whale