Thursday Feb 29, 2024
Thursday Feb 29, 2024

Can fuel be produced from plastic waste?

2022 Jul 07, 16:38, Kathmandu
Waste at Buspark, Kathmandu. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

Per capita waste production per day in Nepal is 317 grams as mentioned in a report prepared in 2013 by the Waste Management and Processing Centre with support from Asian Development Bank (ADB). This figure has changed to some degree in recent years. An individual produces half a kilo or 500 grams waste in a day. The proportion of plastic waste is reported to be 12 percent.

One thousand one hundred and forty metric tons waste is generated in Kathmandu Valley daily. Managing this waste has always been a headache to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the government authorities. 

The streets in Kathmandu are littered with waste and are stinking for lack of proper waste management. On the other hand, millions of rupees are spend just for managing it. Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Senior Scientist Dr Rabindra Dhakal said that 342 thousand litres of fuel can be produced from the plastic waste.

According to the NAST senior scientist, 570 metric tons of the entire solid waste generated in the Kathmandu Valley can be processed to produce 342 kilolitres or 342 thousand litres of fuel. "It is possible to produce petrol, diesel and kerosene by processing plastic waste. It also helps in climate change as the fuel is produced at home and this saves our depleting foreign currency reserves as well," he asserted.

NAST had installed the system to produce fuel from plastic in 2016. Then Chief of NAST, Technology Faculty, Dr Suresh Kumar Dhungel and Chairman of the Eco Party Japan, Chiseko Matsumoto signed a bilateral MoU for producing fuel from plastic.

Although this technology was new for Nepal, it was in practice in other developed countries. Works have been carried out at NAST regarding producing fuel using technology and equipment provided by Eco Party Japan. About a litre of crude fuel can be produced from one kilogramme plastic through this technology initially installed at NAST. Currently, NAST has a machine that can process 10 kilograms plastic.

As shared by Dr Dhakal, if the government invested in producing fuel from plastic waste, the country's foreign currency reserve can be saved.

"We are poor despite having the means and resources and gradually becoming dependent on import. Fuel can be produced from the plastic waste that is thrown in the streams or that is burnt," Dr Dhakal insisted and urged the government to work in this option without any delay.

Around one litre of raw fuel was produced from one kilo of plastic using the technology during a trial run in 2016. Dhakal, said that they are very happy to bring the technology producing fuel from plastic into the country.

The NAST has set a target to bring the large capacity technology producing fuel from plastic into the country within one month.

Chief Dhungel said, “All required process has been forwarded. We will install the technology within a month.” Normally, 700 millilitres of petrol is produced from one kg plastic.

Stating that a lab would be set up at NAST premises within next 45 days, Dhakal said that South Africa, America, Canada and other countries produced fuel from plastic waste in a commercial scale.

Although it has been many years since the technology was introduced in Nepal, works to that end have not progressed. The impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been felt all across the globe.

Fuel import is also one of the main reasons for the depletion of the foreign currency reserve in Nepal. As per the statistics shared by NOC, fuel worth more than Rs 250 billion has been imported in the 11 months of the current fiscal year alone.


waste production Waste Management and Processing Centre Asian Development Bank Kathmandu Valley Nepal Academy of Science and Technology plastic waste
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