Eccentric Energy - Plastic fantastic?
31st January 2019
To follow up on our May 2018 blog about the merits of plastic power, this month’s Eccentric Energy firstly looks at replacing plastic packaging with seaweed. We also share two more ideas about using plastic waste as a source of energy.
Kelp to help with sustainability
A report in Wired magazine reports that several companies are pioneering the use of seaweed because of its many advantages as a raw material.
One idea is to use brown seaweed (or kelp) as disposable packaging since it takes only a few weeks to biodegrade in soil. This compares to the 700 years it takes for a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle to degrade - making it a far more sustainable solution.
Needless to say, we’ll be keeping our eyes on these developments and will keep you posted.
Foot on the gas
As the debate continues about banning single-use plastics, scientists at Swansea University are investigating a method of turning plastic waste into hydrogen gas suitable for use as vehicle fuel.
The process involves cutting the used plastic, roughening its surface then coating it with a photo catalyst. Once the coated plastic is in a special alkaline solution, the photo catalyst material absorbs sunlight (or the light from a solar simulator) and transforms its energy into hydrogen.
However, scaling up and making this a viable method for creating fuel may take a few years yet - unless the researchers are able to put their foot on the gas.
Cool air in Bangladesh
Ashis Paul, a creative supervisor at advertising agency Grey Dhaka, designed a zero-electricity device called the Eco-Cooler. This uses the wind, airflow pressure and a grid of old plastic bottles to cool down the tin huts where 70% of Bangladesh’s population lives.
This DIY solution involves cutting the used bottles in half and mounting them - necks facing inwards - on a board that fits within the hut’s windows. When air enters the wider part of the bottle on the outside and blows through the smaller diameter of the neck, the change in pressure brings down the temperature of the air inside. Cool idea.
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