It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out

page: 1

log in

+8 more 
posted on May, 9 2019 @ 01:45 PM

The new material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, was reported in the journal Nature Chemistry

The researchers first discovered the exciting circular property of PDK-based plastics when Christensen was applying various acids to glassware used to make PDK adhesives, and noticed that the adhesive’s composition had changed. Curious as to how the adhesive might have been transformed, Christensen analyzed the sample’s molecular structure with an NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy instrument. “To our surprise, they were the original monomers,” Helms said.

After testing various formulations at the Molecular Foundry, they demonstrated that not only does acid break down PDK polymers into monomers, but the process also allows the monomers to be separated from entwined additives.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (, May 6, 2019 -
Plastic Gets a Do-Over: Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out. (video)

Plastics are everywhere. They are made to produce specific applications. One of these is poly-ethylene terephthalate, or PET. It is often used in consumer products. The problem is, they have to add additives to the PET formula to make it rigid (or to make it bendy), add colors, etc., you get the idea. "There is more than just the PET plastic added in the mix."

When comes time to recycle it, they grind it up into pellets and heat it up to melt it back again. All of those chains of polymers break down to monomers and reform polymers. Along with all the other chemicals that the original use plastic had with it. And there is no guarantee that your recycled plastic will have the properties you are looking for. So the plastic is burned for heat energy use instead. Or buried in a landfill. Or tossed in the sea by the tons to join the mosh pit in one of the ocean's gyres.

This announcement changes that original method of manufacturing by creating a new polymerized plastic PDK. The additives are still used but the compound that adheres to the plastic and additives is dissolvable. That way, the additives fall off, the PDK polymers can be reduced down to clean plastic monomers, separated, and re-used back as new PDK plastic.

In other words, the have factored in recycling from the point of manufacturing with no (or very little) waste. A circular life cycle for plastic!

It is only one form of plastic, it is still in the lab, but it will help in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" equation.

Some other plastic news:

Powerhouse Energy developer Waste2Tricity (W2T) has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with recyclers Advanced Sustainable Developments (ASD), which will see them work together at the Protos site in Cheshire.

Source: - Waste2Tricity and Advanced Sustainable Developments join forces to tackle plastic waste

These guys are turning waste plastic to hydrogen at a new demo plant in England. This is one article about the MoU just signed.

-and- - Researchers develop viable, environmentally-friendly alternative to Styrofoam.
Using plant cellulose, they have created an alternative to Styrofoam.

Every little step helps as we are drowning in plastics. This is just some good news I had to share on a couple fronts in this battle.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 02:31 PM
If some rich person isn't buying up the mineral rights to all the old landfills in the world, they're missing out on a golden opportunity to get them while they're still available.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 02:40 PM
a reply to: Blue Shift

There are no shortage of them- after china banned importing plastic garbage, chinese owned illegal recycling facilities started popping up in third world countries, taking in plastic by the shipload from other countries.
They resell what they can make a profit from, and dump the rest. When the site fills up, the company closes its doors and moves elsewhere.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 02:42 PM
a reply to: Blue Shift

Just wait until "waste" CO2 can be turned into something useful! Then Big Oil will be falling all over itself to figure out a way to make money off of free bio-fuel. Probably something dumb like make you pay more for gas because you are "stealing" their CO2 from the air!

People will quietly pay for it, too!


Anyway, for those that do not know about the "plastic to hydrogen" plant, here is some more info.

Peel Environmental has announced a partnership with Waste2Tricity to provide a ‘UK first’ plastics to hydrogen plant at its 54-acre Protos site in Cheshire.

Using Distrubted Modular Gasification, an advanced thermal treatment technology developed by Powerhouse Energy, it will produce a local source of hydrogen from unrecyclable plastics.

This £7 million plant will treat up to 25 tonnes of waste plastics a day that would otherwise go to landfill or be incinerated.

UK’s first plastics to hydrogen plant being developed in Cheshire.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 02:54 PM

What do we do with hydrogen?

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 03:05 PM

ts building block is a monomer called diketoenamine: a compound formed by sticking a triketone to an amine.

Condensing these units into a long string forms a plastic called poly(diketoenamine) – or PDK – and the bonds can be dissolved with ease using nothing more than a 12-hour soak in a strong acid bath.

"With PDKs, the immutable bonds of conventional plastics are replaced with reversible bonds that allow the plastic to be recycled more effectively," says chemist and team leader Brett Helms.

By breaking the polymers down easily, the plastic's core units can be separated from any additives over and over again in what is described as a closed-loop cycle. - Scientists Just Revealed a Brand New Type of Endlessly Recyclable Plastic.

Just some sciency and technical-nerdy information on what PDK actually is!

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: Peeple

The UK plant will use it for busses and semis. Some will go to electricity generation. If all goes well, other recycling plants will open and it will go towards hydrogen cell vehicles (end consumers). But first the demo plant.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 04:58 PM
This sounds like an exciting discovery. I used to work in plastic manufacturing and running recycled plastic was always a pain in the ass. It never re-melted and came out the extruder the same as the original plastics. Usually it would have to be blended with brand new plastic at certain ratios to meet the customer's demands.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 05:49 PM

originally posted by: Peeple
What do we do with hydrogen?

Use it to burn the rest of the plastic. That's the easiest way to recycle it. Burn it. As long as your facility has decent particle scrubbers to get the non-flammable biohazards and excess carbon, you can burn it to create electricity, steam heat, whatever. It's fast, greatly reduces the total volume of the waste material, reduces further stress on landfills, and you can take the leftover debris and build with it or put it in asphalt for road surfaces.
edit on 9-5-2019 by Blue Shift because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 06:57 PM
a reply to: thov420

That's why I love ATS! There is always somebody who has (or had) "hands on" experience! Thanks for the info!

a reply to: Blue Shift

There is a stragery with Waste2Tricity's plan. They are located in NE England near shipping and other industrial plants. They plan on using some H2 to fuel semis, busses, and vehicles running around the port. Some will go to electrify businesses to keep costs down on huge manufacturing. Plus they get to be "first ever" 'green' "save the environment" and "hydrogen economy" and all the other "green" tag buzz words. "Cleaning the air. Busses powered by clean hydrogen from waste plastic..." makes for feel good signs! Even if the company is mostly owned by a shipping company! Ah, irony.

Plastic is a hydrocarbon. It kind of makes sense that yeah, eventually, it is going to be burned in some manner!

This way, you could also be creating clean water too (since the "exhaust" from fuel cells is water).

I am just glad somebody is showing us other naked apes how it should work!

posted on May, 10 2019 @ 12:04 AM

I'm excited! Go team research!

posted on May, 10 2019 @ 07:21 AM
Environmentalism is another reason humans should live in space. You can't destroy the planet with plastic if all the plastic is in space.

posted on May, 10 2019 @ 01:09 PM
This is what you do with the hydrogen

The Fischer–Tropsch process is a collection of chemical reactions that converts a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. These reactions occur in the presence of metal catalysts, typically at temperatures of 150–300 °C (302–572 °F) and pressures of one to several tens of atmospheres. The process was first developed by Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, in 1925.[

posted on May, 10 2019 @ 05:21 PM
a reply to: dubiousatworst

The trick will be the reduction of CO2 to CO.

Right now it “costs” too much to use coal or gas to make electricity to take CO2 out of the atmosphere to reduce it back to boo-fuel.

If that gets solved then as I told Blue Shift, TPTB will fall over themselves to try and ban us from making our own fuel.

Sux being addicted to one dealer...

top topics


log in