Plastic waste has been a global menace and an issue for discussion at various conferences, seminars and platforms both locally and international. In a bid to contribute their knowledge to solve the plastic waste menace whilst generating revenue alongside, Mr. Michael Commeh, of the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) of the College of Engineering (CoE) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has developed a new technology that can convert waste plastic into fuel.
Mr. Commeh together with Isaiah Nimako and Nene Amoatey, Researchers at Applied Industrial Ceramics and Rural Energy and Enterprise Development Unit (AIC-REED) of the TCC of KNUST used “Reverse Function theory” and “Thermal Decomposition approach” to develop the technology.
Over the past year, they have developed a setup that can under stated conditions convert waste plastics both (Low Density Polyethylene LDPE and High Density Polyethylene HDPE) to fuel. The fuel can either be petrol, aviation fuel or diesel which they say is their focus for now.
The proposed “MIN fuel” currently runs on a petrol engine. The American standard test also proved that it can be used to run any diesel or petrol engine as well as form an excellent blend (admix) with petrol of low octane number, as proved by their test.
The team believes the technology can be applied to e-waste to turn its plastic to fuel as well as retrieve gold, platinum, copper etc. from electronic waste.
The fuel is the best for exhaust, better than the normal fuel on the Ghanaian market, environmentally friendly, a good mix for all fuels and has higher performance. It is also safe and meets all the standards of the Ghana Standards Authority when it was tested by them.
In an exclusive interview with the University Relations Office (URO) Mr. Commeh revealed that the fundamental aim of the project is to make use of limited resources to advance technology. He said irrespective of limited resources it did not take place in a developed country but Ghana, which is a great achievement as a developing country.
He indicated that as global sister universities are doing, it would be good if the University would adopt the project to improve the image and the global ranking of the University.
He said in Ghana alone, about 200,000 tons of waste are generated every day with close to 60 per cent made up of plastics and therefore “the research team sees waste as ‘money in transition’ and took the challenge in converting it to fuel, and plastic is one of them among others.”
Mr. Michael Commeh solely financed this project with his research allowance, but
looks forward to setting up various plants throughout the country and called on donors, collaborators and investors to partner them to contribute their knowledge to solve the plastic waste menace whilst generating revenue alongside.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) of KNUST has shown interest and promised a thirty thousand Ghana Cedi (GH¢30, 000.00) support for scaling up to two barrel a day production.