Every year, over 260 million tons of plastic are produced throughout the world with a good amount being discarded in our oceans, forests, and other environments. Scientists speculate millions of metric tons of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans alone, wreaking havoc on those ecosystems and their inhabitants. With only four percent (two million tons) of plastic waste getting properly recycled in the United States each year, it’s no wonder the US is ranked 20th among the world’s biggest contributing nations of polluting our oceans with plastic. There are numerous efforts being put in place to counteract the disastrous effects these habits are having on the environment, but one particular method (which has already been around for years) involves bringing plastic waste back to its original state: oil.
Known as the Blest Machine, this device uses thermochemical decomposition- a process called pyrolysis, to produce oil from plastic waste. Seven percent of the world’s oil reserves (900 million barrels) are used to make plastic products, which makes all the plastic waste that gets dumped into the ocean a majorly untapped fuel source. While the Blest Machine (and general practice of converting plastic into oil) has been around for years, these concepts have received little attention and utilization. The Blest Machine’s inventor, a scientist named Akinori Ito, claims the device contains little byproduct (like CO2 emissions), and can turn one kilogram or plastic waste into one liter of oil.
The machine’s process of implementing pyrolysis is simple, and typically takes 3-4 steps to produce the final product. Plastic waste is placed into a large bucket inside the machine, where the temperature inside slowly rises to melt and eventually turn the plastic into a gas. Upon entering its gaseous form, the plastic passed through a tube into a water-filled container, where it cools and forms the oil. The final product can be burned in this form, or further processed into gasoline, diesel, or kerosene.
One of the Blest Machine’s biggest qualities is its compact and portable size. The device can be used in a person’s home, is easy to travel with, and comes in different sizes. While there are some relatively unanswered questions regarding the true extent of the Blest Machine’s reduced CO2 emissions and what happens to discarded chemical compounds during the conversion process, the potential effects this machine can have if mass-produced and distributed on a wide-spread level can have tremendous effects on the world’s environment and unrelenting pollution issue in our oceans. Since the average US household produces about 7.5 kilograms of waste per day (a great amount of it being plastic), the Blest Machine can provide a new way for people to recycle, while generating their own fuel. If one-third of the current US population (around 100 million people) properly utilized a device like the Blest Machine, we could see monumental differences in the rate of waste that’s produced in the US on a daily basis, and slowly develop a newfound independence from foreign oil.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)