Pop quiz: what do we have far too much of and not nearly enough of on this planet? The answer: plastic waste and fuel sources, in that order. There’s a metric uh-oh-ton of plastic waste in landfills and the ocean, and nobody is sure what to do with it. A French duo may just have the solution that could ease our fuel needs in the bargain.
Cristofer Costes and Samuel Le Bihan, a self-taught inventor and former actor, respectively, are currently developing “Chrysalis,” a special furnace that melts down plastics at 450 degrees into viable fuels. Scientists have been developing plastic-to-fuel converters for as long as plastic waste has been a concern, but the attractive thing about Chrysalis is its low-tech nature and relative portability. The machine is about the size of a washing machine, and can turn a kilogram of plastic into a liter of fuel, separated into gas and diesel. “The idea is to encourage the collection of waste before it ends up in the oceans with a machine that fits in a shipping container and can create an income,” says Le Bihan.
With an additional grant of 50,000 euros from the local government, the team is currently developing a larger version of Chrysalis that can convert 50 kilograms of plastic into fuel every 80 minutes.