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Posted Sat May 29 2010: from Chemical and Engineering News:
Turning Plastic Trash Into Treasure?
Plastic grocery bags are handy and durable, but after the bread and milk are put away, most of the bags wind up in landfills. Now Vilas Pol, a materials scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, has found a way to "upcycle" discarded plastics into carbon microspheres... For the new method, he places waste plastics, such as polyethylene bags and disposable polystyrene cups, into a closed, heatable reactor. Using mass spectrometry, Pol found that at 700 [degrees] C, the chemical bonds between the carbons and hydrogens break down. The products are solid carbon, as well as hydrogen and hydrocarbon gases. Pol says that the upcycling process could provide an environmentally friendly alternative to typical methods that produce solid carbon. He generates the same product but starts with discarded plastics instead of fossil fuels.
[Read more stories about: efficiency increase, plastic problems, technical cleverness]

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'Doc Jim says:
Pol has soooo been smokin' pot!

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