Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Plastic Oil' Could Improve Fuel Economy In Cars, Chemists Say

Date:
June 14, 2005
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Recycled plastic bottles could one day be used to lubricate your car's engine, according to researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky, who in laboratory experiments converted waste plastic into lubricating oil. These polyethylene-derived oils, they say, could help improve fuel economy and reduce the frequency of oil changes. The pilot study appears in the July 20 issue of the American Chemical Society's peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels.

Recycled plastic bottles could one day be used to lubricate your car's engine, according to researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky, who in laboratory experiments converted waste plastic into lubricating oil. These polyethylene-derived oils, they say, could help improve fuel economy and reduce the frequency of oil changes.

Related Articles


The pilot study appears in the July 20 issue of the American Chemical Society's peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels. ACS is the world's largest scientific society.

"This technology potentially could have a significant environmental impact. It could make a difference in communities that want to do something positive about their waste plastic problem, especially if there is a refinery nearby that could do all of the processing steps," says the study's lead author Stephen J. Miller, Ph.D., a senior consulting scientist and Chevron Fellow at Chevron Energy Technology Company in Richmond, Calif.

Americans use about 25 million tons of plastic each year. However, only about 1 million tons of it is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The remainder ends up in landfills.

Some researchers have tried to use recyclable plastic to produce fuels, but commercial interest in this application has been limited. Most of this plastic is polyethylene, which the Chevron and University of Kentucky researchers showed can be broken down by heat into a wax that can be converted into a high quality lubricating oil, Miller says.

Of the plastic used in the pilot study, about 60 percent was converted into a wax with the right molecular properties for further processing to make lubricating oil for uses such as motor oil or transmission fluid. These high quality oils derived from wax can assist auto manufacturers in meeting mandated fuel economy specifications, Miller says.

The process for converting wax to lubricating oil used in this pilot study was put into commercial use by Chevron in the early 1990s with waxy petroleum-derived sources. In the future, superior lubricating oils will be produced from wax derived from a catalytic process known as Fischer-Tropsch, which starts with natural gas, Miller says. This process will be used commercially overseas, primarily in the Middle East, where natural gas is less costly than in the United States. In the U.S., production of Fischer-Tropsch wax will likely be limited for a number of years.

However, this new study suggests that using wax derived from recyclable plastic can produce lubricants that are of equal quality compared to those derived from Fischer-Tropsch wax, Miller says.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Plastic Oil' Could Improve Fuel Economy In Cars, Chemists Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614000856.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2005, June 14). 'Plastic Oil' Could Improve Fuel Economy In Cars, Chemists Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614000856.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Plastic Oil' Could Improve Fuel Economy In Cars, Chemists Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614000856.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins