Monday, May 04, 2009

New Continent Discovered in Pacific Ocean

Only problem is, it's made entirely of plastic.
A high-seas mission departs from San Francisco next month to map and explore a sinister and shifting 21st-century continent: one twice the size of Texas and created from six million tonnes of discarded plastic.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Coolness abounds though, thanks to the efforts of Scripps and Brita:
With a crew of 30, the expedition, supported by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Brita, the water company, will use unmanned aircraft and robotic surface explorers to map the extent and depth of the plastic continent while collecting 40 tonnes of the refuse for trial recycling.
If that recycling proves to profitable it could be a boon! There are six million tonnes (at least) of plastic there, and we could tap into it all. Remember my post about limited resources? Bringing those resources back to the United States, and converting them for use by our country (and then keeping them here) would be great. These are, I believe, the technologies we need to work on if we're to stay relevant in the world economy of the future.

5 comments:

Epicanis ( http://www.bigroom.org/wordpress ) said...

If nothing else, I think it's likely that it wouldn't be too hard to come up with some process to turn the plastic waste into a biodiesel-like fuel. I seem to recall hearing that someone was working on a pyrolytic process for turning biomass into fuel, and I can't imagine plastics as an input needing a much different process.

Thomas Joseph said...

We're doing a ton of pyrolytic research at my center. I don't work on that directly, rather my focus is on downstream processes with the waste gases ... but whole companies are investing in this technology as well.

Here is a case in point. Polymer Energy. They claim to be able to get 775 liters of crude oil from every ton of recycled plastic.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that this is the first I've heard of this "Plastic Continent". How long has this been around? Why are there no photo's? Is this just another wack job from San francisco, to make us feel guilty?

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