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here are millions of tons of plastic waste produced in India every month. On the other hand, there is an extreme scarcity of fuel in the form of oil and petrol. For years, scientists have been wrestling with these twin problems, hoping that there would be some link between the two, that by some process, waste could be converted into fuel.
 The scientists at IIP, the Inidian Institute of Petroleum, a constituent lab of the Counsil of Scientific and Industrial Research, has finally solved this problem. Technology of this kind is so far available in Germany, Japan and the United States, while Australia and the UK are still working on it.
 Therefore, India will soon be able to convert its plastic wastes into high-grade petrol and diesel.
 The technology converts plastic into gasoline, diesel or aromatics through the use of a combination of 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. They will cause less emissions, and they will be more efficient than ‘regular’ fuel.
 This ‘plastic fuel’ can also be cheaper, according to Mr Garg. Since there is a mammoth amount of solid waste generated in the country, the cost of producing petrol and diesel from this process will be half the price of the current price, inclusive of the cost of plant operations, manpower, and distribution.
 If commercialised, this breakthrough could alleviate both problems – of waste and of fuel scarcity – with one stone.

Amit Batra

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