BEIJING - A Chinese computer scientist claims to have developed an economically viable technique for converting scrap plastic into high-grade diesel fuel and gasoline. Similar conversion methods have been used in the West, but at prohibitively high costs. According to Yang Yali, the scientist who invented the new process, a powder catalyst that took three years to develop is the key element that makes it all possible.
According to just-published news reports out of China, the Beijing Golden River Petroleum Products factory has been processing plastic scrap into motor fuels since September. Similar facilities will be operated by Shandong Taishan Industrial Co. and by the municipal government of Qiqihar in northeastern China.
At the Beijing factory, the news reports say, the powder catalyst is poured into a funnel along with scrap plastics. When heated in a tank to a critical temperature, the mixture changes into oil, which is then cooled and refined into gasoline or diesel oil. Yang asserts that his process produces gasoline for about 6.9 cents per pound.
But so far, there has been no verification of the claims by technically qualified foreign observers, nor have sufficient details of the process been made available to allow verification by independent researchers.