One of the countries that are under a lot of stress because of crisis following the rising fuel costs and the chronic problem in unmanaged plastic waste is the Philippines. While solutions are being cooked up on a global scale, there are also many individual efforts being taken by many of its citizens.
Just recently, Bacolod-based Filipino inventor, Jeremy Navarro, has discovered a way to convert plastic trash into fuel in forms of kerosene, gasoline, and diesel. According to Navarro, he accidentally stumbled upon the discovery as he was attempting to reverse the process of plastic production, hoping to turn back used plastic into its original form or to its basic components.
Pyrolysis, the process used by Navarro, started by drying up the plastic waste that has been cleaned off food, soaps, or other contaminants. The clean and dry plastic will then be shredded into smaller pieces, and later heated in a thermal chamber.
The plastic would then melt because the thermal chamber is sealed off, having very little oxygen. This set up prevents the plastic from burning. The vapor produced by melting plastic would pass through cooling pipes and would result in a distilled form of liquid.
According to Navarro, the produced liquid has an identical chemical composition with regular fuel. However, the newly-discovered fuel has a significantly lower sulfur content, which results in a cleaner burn. The inventor pointed out that this method of producing fuel has a lower production cost of 10%-20% as compared to commercially available fuel. As the fuel is made from used plastic waste, Navarro argues that his discovery has the makings of a more environmentally friendly fuel.
Poly-green Technology and Resources Inc., Navarro’s company, is based in Payatas. The area is known to be a landfill where most of the plastic used for the process was hauled from. Navarro reports that his company is able to melt down about two metric tons of plastic daily, producing a minimum of 1,600 liters of clean fuel.
Although Pyrolysis has been around for some time, Navarro has made a few changes that have made its process unique. Their process has an approved patent from the Philippine Intellectual Property Office. Navarro’s research was acknowledged by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as the winner if the 2008 Outstanding Creative Research.
Navarro has lobbied his plans to put up additional facilities in provinces surrounding Metro Manila. However, as of the moment, his discovery has only been gaining attention from the media. Experts believe that with the proper attention, funding, and support from the local government, providing clean fuel could end the country’s fuel crisis.