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36 tonnes of Valley plastic waste recyclable into oil Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Monday, 02 January 2012
 Kathmandu: There is a debate raging over the government’s reported plan to install a diesel plant, considering billions of rupees needed to import fuel to run the facility. Advocates of hydropower say, at a time when the country’s potential of generating tens of thousands megawatt of clean energy remains untapped, setting up plants of the said up to 200 MW capacity would make the country further dependent on fossil fuel, which the nation produces none.

A hefty chunk of Nepal’s foreign reserves is already spent on petroleum import. But the government has stuck to the plan saying that developing a hydroelectricity project big enough to address the huge supply deficit will take years and that thermal plant, which is said to take a maximum of six months to build, is the only ready solution. In such a fix, Blester, a Japanese invention, could help solve simultaneously two problems the country is facing—minimising fuel crisis and recycling plastic materials, systematic disposal of which has been a huge problem.
Eco Party, a group of Japanese experts along with some Nepalis, has been working as part of its project, School Oil Field Caravan, to create awareness on plastic waste that could produce valuable oil—diesel, petroleum and kerosene, among others, since May 2010 in several parts of the country.
According to Uwai Masanori, director of Eco Party, a machine dubbed Blester recycles plastic waste to valuable oil. Three types of plastics—polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene—could be recycled to produce oil which can be used as alternate fuel for power generators, boilers and vehicles.
“Hydrocarbon oil—made up of carbon and hydrogen—is the raw material used to manufacture plastics. The Blest machine converts plastics to the original oil form,” he said. A waste plastic oil reproduction machine can deliver 700 to 800 ml oil from a kilogram of plastic waste by heating it for around three hours. The machine consists of a reactor tank that stores plastic and heats it up to 420 to 450 degrees Celsius before a fermentation process. An oil container or glass tank is installed in the machine to collect the oil, along with a CPU monitor that controls the overall system. The machine for recycling plastic waste produced in a municipality costs around Rs 10 million.
According to the statistics with Japan Plastics Industry Federation, 70 percent plastic products in the world can be used to produce oil. “We have demonstrated how the machine functions to former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal. He had expressed commitment to promote this technology in the country,” said Amita Rajbhandari, a member of the Eco Party. Since the inception, the caravan that started from Kolkata in India, has toured around 1,553 km through Lumbini up to Pokhara.
“As the name suggests, we are demonstrating the machine at schools, trying to send the message across that used up plastic is a resource, not waste,” Rajbhandari said. “The aim of promoting this machine is to help the country address the power crisis by means of alternative fuel.”
According to Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the Environment Management Division at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, of the total 360 tonnes of waste collected in the Valley each day, around 10 percent (36 tonnes) is plastics.

Source: The Kathmandu Post, January 1, 2012
 
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