Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has set in motion a project to treat plastic waste to manufacture a kerosene-like fuel. The Clean Kerala Company has started the process of setting up two plants in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi with private participation. These plants would have a capacity to treat 10 tons of plastic waste per day.
Plastic will be converted to fuel through a thermochemical decomposition technology known as pyrolysis. The idea is to convert plastic, a petroleum byproduct, back to its earlier stage through three stages of treatment. The resulting fuel has been found useful even to power vehicles.
The fuel from plastic would cost only less than Rs 25 per litre to make, it is estimated. The fuel can be used in steel and cement and other manufacturing industries. It has high demand and can fetch a decent price, the government expects.
Half of the refuse that chokes Kerala is found to be plastic-based. The government had entrusted the Clean Kerala Company to suggest a solution to this increasing menace. The company had collected 150 ton plastic through local self-government bodies and sold it to a private company in Tamil Nadu. The private company, however, backed out as it could not recycle dirty plastic.
This prompted the Clean Kerala Company to seek alternatives including pyrolysis treatment.
Two companies based in Chennai and Bengaluru have responded to the tenders to set up the pyrolysis plants. The government would have to hand over three acres of land for setting up a plant. It will get up to 25 per cent of sales of the fuel manufactured in the plants.
The mounting plastic waste problem would be solved to a certain extent if the project becomes effective. About 1,500 ton plastic waste is estimated to have deposited in Brahmapuram near Kochi. Tons of plastic materials are burnt across Kerala for want of takers. This is already creating serious health hazards.