A few products are just a little too iconic of our current environmental predicament. The Hummer. The computer you bought two years ago. The plastic bag. These items (and others) generate a lot of controversy along with waste, but at least one of them might now get a second chance to green up the auto market (hint: it's not the Hummer).
A Swiss company has announced that it has a process to turn plastic bags into diesel fuel. Just-Auto reports that Clyvia Technology GmbH in Germany has developed a way to extract valuable mineral fuels from petroleum-based products and can then turn the fuels into diesel (or heating oil). Biotherm Technologie AG is the Swiss company that is offering the service, which heats up the plastic bags (or whatever) up to 400 degrees C to get the diesel. While it certainly takes energy to get the bags that hot, Biotherm Technologie "claims it's 25 cents a litre cheaper than current pump prices for diesel - a differential which grows bigger with every rise in the price of oil," Just-Auto writes. The big question is if this will make the "paper or plastic" even more difficult to answer in the future.

UPDATE: added a press release from Biotherm Technologie AG after the jump.

[Source: Just-Auto]
From the Trash Can to the Fuel Tank: The Solution to Europe's Energy Problems

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, November 28/PRNewswire/ -- Supermarket bags and plastic sheeting, cable sleeves or vehicle components - all materials which can be converted into diesel or heating oil. Instead of being discarded as garbage, such petroleum-based synthetic products can find their way into the fuel tank. This not only contributes towards relieving energy supply shortages, but simultaneously solves a waste disposal problem.

In an era of rising oil prices Switzerland's Biotherm Technologie AG offers a process for producing mineral fuels from waste plastics or waste oil. And it's 25 cents a litre cheaper than current pump prices for diesel - a differential which grows bigger with every rise in the price of oil.

The process was developed by Clyvia Technology GmbH, Germany, and is similar to the cracking of crude oil. At 400(degrees)C it breaks down long hydrocarbon chains, which then vaporize and condense as diesel oil.

Christopher Stampfli, designate CEO of the Schaffhausen company, says of the business model: "This process is attractive not just to public and private waste disposal operators, but many industrial corporations and freight operators can apply it to cut their disposal costs and simultaneously generate energy - either for their own vehicle fleet or to sell at the gas station."

10 million tonnes of plastic waste go unused

Europe produces over 20 million tonnes of plastic waste and 2.5 tonnes of waste oil annually, but currently only half of this is exploited. The rest could be converted into top-quality fuels by the Clyvia process. This would benefit everybody: the plant operator, the environment, and finally drivers and house owners, who can save considerably on their gas or heating bills.

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