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Can we remake plastic waste into rocket fuel?


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  • 1 month later...

The problem is energy!  In order to be useful as fuel,  a chemical has to have energy contained in through the way the atoms are put together.  Plastic, while made of complicated molecules, doesn't have much energy stored in it.

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21 hours ago, HallsofIvy said:

The problem is energy!  In order to be useful as fuel,  a chemical has to have energy contained in through the way the atoms are put together.  Plastic, while made of complicated molecules, doesn't have much energy stored in it.

What makes you think that?

Presently, there is a great deal of research being carried out in plastic-to-energy technology.

According to this source: “The molecules that make up plastic products are a powerful source of energy. For example, in a facility that converts waste into energy, non-recycled plastics can supply more than 15,000 BTUs per pound. That’s more energy per pound than any type of coal”

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On 5/11/2021 at 3:22 AM, HallsofIvy said:

The problem is energy!  In order to be useful as fuel,  a chemical has to have energy contained in through the way the atoms are put together.  Plastic, while made of complicated molecules, doesn't have much energy stored in it.

This kind of fuel has already been tested and this test has shown that it is better than kerosene. The result of the test has shown that it`s 1% - 3% better than kerosene by its energy characteristics. But I am not sure if it`s possible to use the new rocket fuel in long space journeys.

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Posted (edited)

However, there is a problem, the alternative rocket fuel also called as a green fuel can be remade only from particular types of plastic.The following types of plastic can be converted into ecosene fuel: Polypropylene (PP).
Polyester (PE).
Polystyrene (PS) and their mixtures and analogs

Edited by bearnard55
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3 hours ago, SpaceTourist33 said:

As I understand, this fuel can't be used for long spaceflights, right? So engineers need to modernize this fuel to make it suitable for interplanetary flights.

I guess you are right. I assume that this type of fuel must be more advanced for some long space journeys. But still, this type of fuel can be used for some small launches which are aimed at some microgravity mission and experiments without any modernization.

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18 hours ago, bearnard55 said:

I guess you are right. I assume that this type of fuel must be more advanced for some long space journeys. But still, this type of fuel can be used for some small launches which are aimed at some microgravity mission and experiments without any modernization.

Of course. Taking into account how many small launches occur every month (remember SpaceX tests alone), using an eco-fuel is a good step towards cleaner environment. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/21/2021 at 10:52 AM, SpaceTourist33 said:

Of course. Taking into account how many small launches occur every month (remember SpaceX tests alone), using an eco-fuel is a good step towards cleaner environment. 

Yeah, many launches are made like test launches or delivering microsats into orbit by different space agencies. So it would be a great idea to use eco-fuel in the launches I`ve mentioned

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