A new technology could tackle the plastic pollution crisis by turning rubbish into valuable products.
Oxford University’s Oxford Sustainable Fuels (OSF) plans to use pyrolysis to convert plastic, tyres and biomass into high quality transportation fuels and chemicals.
The technology thermally decomposes plastics and transforms them into an oil-like substance known as pyrolysis oil – this can then be upgraded to gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.
The process is able to handle mixed plastics, which means the time consuming and complicated process of sorting and separation is not necessary.
Currently, under a tenth of plastic is recycled, with most of the waste ending up in the world’s landfills and oceans.
The company has raised a £1 million investment from Chinese recycling firm GEM to develop and scale up the technology to a pre-pilot plant scale.
It plans to begin deploying the technology within the next five years.
Dr Tiancun Xiao, CEO of OSF, said: “It is our aim to become a key element of the circular economy by enabling the economic transformation of waste to valuable and needed products.
“We believe this to be a key element in the fight against plastic in the oceans by turning waste into a valued raw material.”