A waste-free processing method will make most of the plastic environmentally sound

A waste-free processing method will make most of the plastic environmentally sound

A group of chemists from the University of Illinois in Urbana Shampein, the University of California in Santa Barbara and Doe have developed a cost-effective way to convert polyethylene into polypropylene.

Polyethylene in many low-value organic molecules with limited demand.

In a paper published in the journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers suggest an alternative: to create a plastic propylene, a key ingredient of polypropylene, which is the second most popular plastic to occupy up to 25% of the market.

The essence of the technology is to cut every very long molecule of PE many times to get many small pieces. Three catalysts are explained by the authors of the study. The first catalyst removes hydrogen from polyethylene, creating a reaction point in the chain. The second divides the chain into two parts and closes the ends with ethylene, and the third removes the reaction point on the polymer until it leaves only individual propylene molecules.

Researchers note that the method they have proposed does not require significant energy costs, and that the tests result in a scaled reactor that converts polyethylene into polypropylene with up to 95% output.