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Dutch designer managed to make scrapyard Volvo run on plastic

It's a solution to several problems

  • A Dutch designer made a scrapyard Volvo run on plastic
  • He made a ‘de-refinery’ on the top of the vehicle
  • However, some have criticized his project

Published on May 10, 2024 at 7:11PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 12, 2024 at 1:57PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis

A Dutch designer has managed to make an old Volvo run on plastic.

It simultaneously eliminates household plastic waste and powers a vehicle, talk about the proverbial two birds and one stone.

And who doesn’t have plenty of plastic sitting in their household recycling bin?

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Gijs Schalkx is a designer who had the idea to retrofit a scrapyard car to enable it to use a readily available alternative fuel, plastic waste.

But you don’t just pop used milk bottles in the tank, these everyday items are turned back into oil first.

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Schalkx dubbed the project: ‘The Plastic Car (Is Made of Metal)’.

The car in question is a clapped-out diesel Volvo 245 that he sourced from a German scrapyard.

Once the car was in place, Schalkx first repaired it to a road-legal condition.

Next, he fitted a ‘de-refinery’ on the roof complete with a reactor.

Plastic was put in the reactor and then heated in an oxygen-free environment.

It then evaporates into gas before being condensed into an oil-based fuel.

This fuel is filtered down a tube into a tank at the back of the car.

From there the car can use it as a power source.

And it worked, allowing Schalkx to drive the car for six months.

With sustainability in mind, he used only his own household waste to produce fuel – which set limits on how far he could go, Schalkx told Dezeen magazine.

To put the results into context: the Volvo 245 consumes one kilogram of plastic per seven kilometers.

It takes the refinery just over an hour to produce 12 liters of fuel.

Per Dezeen, Schalkx admitted that the car was ‘very inefficient’ because it could only cover 100 kilometers per month.

However, he claims that honesty was one of his major objectives.

While some questioned and criticized the burning of plastic in an apparent quest to be more sustainable and kinder to the environment, Schalkx clapped back.

He questioned what car manufacturers constituted as ‘sustainable design’, with his project focused on reusing and repairing available commodities instead, by increasing consumer knowledge of how things work.

On a far bigger scale,this futuristic NASA spacecraft could be powered by the sun in what’s considered a huge breakthrough.

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