New reactor powered by sun can convert plastic, CO2 into fuel

Source: The post is based on the article New reactor powered by sun can convert plastic, CO2 into fuelpublished in Down To Earth on 12th January 2023.

What is the News?

Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) have developed a system that can transform plastic waste(PET) and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels and other valuable products – using just the energy from the sun.

What have the researchers from the University of Cambridge developed?

Greenhouse gases and plastic waste are two of the biggest environmental problems the world faces today. 

Researchers from Cambridge have designed a reactor to tackle both at once, converting CO2 and used plastic bottles into useful materials, powered entirely by sunlight.

What is the reactor made of?

The reactor is made up of two separate compartments – one for plastic and one for CO2 – as well as a unit in each compartment that absorbs energy from light and uses it to trigger a catalyst that converts the feedstock into something more useful. 

– The light absorber is perovskite which is emerging as a promising material for solar cells while the catalyst can be changed depending on the desired final product.

How does it work?

Generally, CO2 conversion requires a lot of energy, but with this reactor, basically, one needs to shine a light at it, and it starts converting harmful products into something useful and sustainable.

What is Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET)? 

Polyethylene terephthalate is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. It is used in fibres for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, thermoforming for manufacturing and in combination with glass fibre for engineering resins.


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