Chemical energy in plastic is about 22 kWh per kg, roughly
twice that of gasoline (12.7 kWh per kg). Right?
The only problem is that you have to take the toxic gases and
re-heat them to break down the toxins.
The US Environmental Protection Agency, after extensive
and public review,
determined that destruction in high-
temperature incinerators is the Best Demonstrated Available
Technology (BDAT) for most organic hazardous wastes. This is
because incineration safely and effectively destroys the
hazardous constituents in the waste.
On the other hand, most experts maintain that this solution is
extremely not cost-effective and is also environmentally
counterproductive because it creates a need for constant
The cost of regular incineration is 130 USD per ton, producing
573 kWh. HT incineration is done at 1110C.
But if the plastic breakdown is done in advance, and only
the carbon compounds are introduced to oxygen for
and energy production, perhaps we would get much more of
energy back, than just trying to burn the plastic as an
This can be achieved in one of two ways:
1. The high-temperature breakdown of the plastic should be
done in a near-vacuum non-oxygen environment so that we
mostly carbon and hydrogen, which are only later introduced
oxygen to give cleaner combustion.
2. The plastic breaking up process at high temperatures could
be done in the presence of oxygen, so that the combined
heat and extra output heat would be immediately used for
creating energy, more than was available (and mostly ignored)
from the low-temperature incineration process.
I hope I'm clearer this time, and the idea won't be deemed as
cash to confetti anymore.
[link 1 Why high temp incineration is good]
[link 2 Why regular incineration of plastic is bad]
[link 3 Why regular incineration of plastic is horrible]