Plastic Shopping Bags Into Diesel Fuel

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

reuse of shopping bags, green innovations, plastic bags into fuel

Photo courtesy of Frank Gruber via Flickr

  • Plastic shopping bags into diesel fuel: A new study published in the journal Fuel Processing Technology examined converting plastic shopping bags into fuel. According to the researchers, plastic shopping bags representing an abundant source of litter on land and at sea can now be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products. The conversion-using pyrolysis of the HDPE bags followed by distillation-produces a significant amount of energy and results in transportation fuel. Other products such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils can also be extracted through the process.
  • Old tires used in construction materials: Thanks to new research from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, old tires could now gain a new purpose as ingredients in construction materials. According to Mr. Mohamed A. Elgawady, a researcher at Missouri S&T and associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering. “Rubber has a lot of benefits in addition to its sustainability; it’s very durable and provides good insulation.” Both rubberized and conventional blocks are currently being tested in an environmental chamber at Missouri S&T. The rubberized blocks are also tested under cyclic compression loads simulating earthquake loads. Among many potential benefits, building construction using these new blocks could reduce heating bills by 50 percent and also improve a building’s resiliency during an earthquake by acting as shock absorbers.
  • Climate change is already hurting farmers: US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently stated that climate change is already hurting American farmers and rural residents, and warned that the U.S. needs to quickly adapt and prepare for changing weather patterns. He also announced new climate zones to help farmers deal with climate change. The government will be evaluating the climate risks in each of these zones, including drought, floods or forest fires. Seven new “climate hubs” will open in regions across the U.S., acting as clearinghouses for data and research about effects of climate change and will help develop plans how to deal with these new realities.
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