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Turning Plastic Waste into Fuel

Fuel in Bali comes to the public heavily subsidized. It is said that this subsidy could be risking the country’s budget. There is an elderly gentleman who has shunned fuel and cooks his meals using fuel that comes from plastic. Ida Bagus Ketut Atmaja is an inventor who is self-taught. His motivation is to ensure that the plastic problem is dealt with so that people can once again play without fear in the rivers. As such, he has created an incinerator that burns plastic waste. The fuel that comes from the plastic bags was actually a byproduct that was pretty much unexpected.

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The Plastic Mess

Plastic debris in Bali is found all over the place. There is a great need to clean up the environment which is littered with plastic paper and other plastic waste such as bottles. Ketut knew that there was a need to clean up this plastic mess since it is not bio-degradable. He realized that burning it in an open fire meant that poisonous gases were released into the atmosphere leading to more pollution. So he decided to burn it in such a way that the toxic fumes would not be released into the atmosphere and in the process discovered a surprise harvest.

The Solution

Ida Bagus Ketut Atmaja created a smokeless incinerator that is quite simple. It helps clean up the environment as he burns plastic in it and then turns the said plastic into fuel. The incinerator is oxygen-free. It makes use of neutral atmospheric gasses which then prompt combustion and makes it possible for the plastic to burn without giving out toxic fumes. This is how he discovered a surprise harvest of fuel.

How it Works

Once the incinerator is on and the plastic is burning, the gases emitted travel through a pipe that has been cooled using water and they condense to form a liquid. The liquid then drips into some bottles on the other end and can later be used in place of fuel. This fuel has been used successfully as motorcycle fuel. 1kg of plastic waste burned delivers 1 liter of fuel. Ketut says that each village could have a furnace of its own that they can use to burn the plastic and get free fuel. He says that he uses this fuel to cook his meals on a daily basis.

Plastic waste into fuel

Plastic bottle on the beach. Credit: Garden of Life

How we can help?

Consuming less plastic materials or recycling your plastic waste are actually helpful to make the world more sustainable. If you are willing to take extra miles like Ketut, but don’t have the capacity to do so, you can do as little as supporting our charity partners and more people like Ketut around you. Go ahead, spread your kindness!


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