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Can we remake plastic waste into rocket fuel?

bearnard97

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Have you ever heard about green rocket fuel that is made from plastic waste? Scientists from one space company figured out how to remake plastic waste into rocket fuel that has already been successfully tested
 

Michel Van

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For Hybrid rocket motor it could work

You press Plastic in thick tube and burn interior with liquid oxygen
ISP is not good but it works, but a environment clean fuel is this not !
 

Archibald

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Well plastic are hydrocarbons, no ? it must be feasible to turn them into rocket-hydrocarbons, which are many and varied: ethane, methane, kerosene...
 

bearnard97

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I know that only some kinds of plastic can be used to make that kind of rocket fuel. Such kinds like Polypropylene (PP). Polyester (PE). Polystyrene (PS) and its mixtures and analogs
 

Grey Havoc

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There has been work done on halogen based fuels, not to mention hydrogen-halogen fuel cells.
 

Archibald

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The exact quote is

Chlorine trifluoride (snip) “CTF” as the engineers insist on call-
ing it, is a colorless gas, a greenish liquid, or a white solid. It boils at
12° (so that a trivial pressure will keep it liquid at room temperature)
and freezes at a convenient —76°. It also has a nice fat density, about
1.81 at room temperature.

It is also quite probably the most vigorous fluorinating agent in existence-much more vigorous than fluorine itself. Gaseous fluorine,
of course, is much more dilute than the liquid CIF-3 , and liquid fluorine is so cold that its activity is very much reduced.

All this sounds fairly academic and innocuous, but when it is trans-
lated into the problem of handling the stuff, the results are horren-
dous. It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that’s the least of the prob-
lem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic
that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic
with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention
asbestos, sand, and water — with which it reacts explosively.

It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals — steel, copper, aluminium, etc. — because of the formation of a thin him of insoluble metal
fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat
of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere.

If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to
reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a
metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.
 

sferrin

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Polyethylene is, nominally, just carbon and hydrogen, but many plastics, like PTFE, include halogen substituents, which would result in pretty toxic products of combustion. Of course, a lot of plastic waste is incinerated, so the net pollution would probably be a wash.

Not necessarily. In one case you just light it on fire. In the other you spend a lot of energy converting it to another form and THEN lighting it on fire.
 

Arjen

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Or burn the stuff in an electricity-generating incineration plant. Where I live, they are fitted with exhaust scrubbers to eliminate most of the polluting chemicals - dioxins, NOx, SO2, etc. CO2 can be removed as well.
 

Foo Fighter

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Or burn the stuff in an electricity-generating incineration plant. Where I live, they are fitted with exhaust scrubbers to eliminate most of the polluting chemicals - dioxins, NOx, SO2, etc. CO2 can be removed as well.
I'd like those chemicals to be put to a good recycling us, not sure what as chemistry is not my thing but would that not be the ideal?
 

Arjen

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That would be ideal. As it is, with imperfect sorting of waste, it's often more economical to burn the lot.
 

bearnard97

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I`ve read an article that can actually convert particular kinds of plastic into ecosense rocket fuel As far as I understand, it doesn`t have any effect on air pollution and this rocket is eco-friendly. I guess this is a nice example of what kind of invention we must make.
 

bearnard97

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With the mass of plastic waste we face, probably that stacking them upward would be the cleanest way to reach orbital heights. ..
I don`t how efficient this petrol will be for long space journeys. As far as I understand, it was tested only on short space flights. But I guess it`s a nice step toward ``green`` launches all around the world
 

Foo Fighter

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I wonder if there is a way to use the method here (https://www.chemistryworld.com/features/recycling-clothing-the-chemical-way/4010988.article) to break down plastics to their base elements and separate them. Some could be burnt but other reused in various different combinations. After all, where there's muck there's money and lots of people scavenge century old waste sites for stuff to recycle and reuse. Perhaps we can even put out some of the underground coal, old tyres and peat that have burned for decades too?
 

bearnard97

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This petrol I`ve mentioned before was tested recently, and the result of this test has shown that he new type of rocket fuel ( remade of plastic )is 1% - 3% better than kerosene by its energy characteristics.
 

Grey Havoc

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Sorry, thought you were talking about an old joke there!
 

dannydale

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This petrol I`ve mentioned before was tested recently, and the result of this test has shown that he new type of rocket fuel ( remade of plastic )is 1% - 3% better than kerosene by its energy characteristics.
Then it would be great for closing the loop on the life cycle of plastic. Any benefits to rocket propulsion would be a bonus. I wonder what other types of engines are amenable to this fuel?
 

bearnard97

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This petrol I`ve mentioned before was tested recently, and the result of this test has shown that he new type of rocket fuel ( remade of plastic )is 1% - 3% better than kerosene by its energy characteristics.
Then it would be great for closing the loop on the life cycle of plastic. Any benefits to rocket propulsion would be a bonus. I wonder what other types of engines are amenable to this fuel?
As far as I understand that this special type of rocket fuel ( remade from plastic ) is not good for long space journeys. But it can be used only for small launches. I guess that there is a bigger issue in manufacturing ordinary type of rocket fuel and the resources we need to have to make it. Remaking plastic waste is a good way how to avoid this this problem
 

1635yankee

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There has been work done on halogen based fuels, not to mention hydrogen-halogen fuel cells.
Suddenly I'm reminded of Derek Lowe's and John Clark's thoughts about chlorine trifluoride.

Something about it being hypergolic with test engineers makes me glad my test engineering career was nowhere near rocket engines. Or John Clark's test facilities.
 

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