Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Universitas Gadjah Mada designs a smart car that processes plastic waste into low emission fuel

A group of students from Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) was able to design a smart car that has the ability to process plastic waste into low emission fuel.

According to the announcement made by UGM, Chemical Engineering students make up the Smart Car Microalgae Cultivation Support (MCS) team. They are Herman Amrullah, Sholahuddin Alayyubi, Thya Laurencia Benedita Araujo, and Naufal Muflih.

Team Chairman Mr Herman explained, to a group of reporters at the UGM Public Relations Office on 23 July 2018, that they were able to develop a technology that can change plastic waste into liquid fuel which reduces the levels of emission. 

He added that they modified the car by adding pyrolysis reactor tube to contain and process the plastic waste into liquid fuel. The tube has a capacity to hold up to 2 kilograms of waste. The waste undergoes pyrolysis process which utilises the heat from the emission. The temperature may reach 400-500 degrees Celsius. The waste is then converted to liquid fuel that is stored in a tube under the car body.

He further discussed that the 2 kilograms of waste converted by their car will produce 2 litres of fuel. All types of plastic can be processed into fuel except for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC contains chloride that is corrosive to the machine and is hazardous to the health.

A Microalgae Cultivation Support (MCS) technology is installed in the car which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted.

Mr Alayyubi added that the car was designed after concerns were raised regarding the huge amounts of plastic waste that are polluting the environment. Since plastic waste is a derivative product of petroleum, they thought why not convert it back to petroleum.

However, they realised that so much energy is required in order to convert waste into fuel. Therefore, they came up with the idea to utilise the heat coming from the emission being used in the process.

The smart car has recently won Shell Ideas 360, a world competition in London, besting 3,336 university teams coming from 140 countries. The UGM team was guided by Hanifrahmawan Sudibyo, S.T., M.Eng., and Yano Surya Pradana, S.T., M.Eng.

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