What is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)?

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What is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)? Blog Image


Recently, Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the United Kingdom have developed a system that can transform polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste and greenhouse gases into sustainable fuels and other valuable products using solar energy.

 Why in news?

  • The researchers developed an integrated reactor with two separate compartments: One for plastic and one for greenhouse gases. 
  • The reactor uses a light absorber based on perovskite - a promising alternative to silicon for next-generation solar cells. 
  • Tests of the reactor under normal temperature and pressure conditions showed the reactor could efficiently convert polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and CO2 into different carbon-based fuels such as CO, syngas or formate, in addition to glycolic acid. 
  • The reactor produced these products at a rate that is also much higher than conventional photocatalytic CO2 reduction processes. 


What is Polyethylene terephthalate?

  • It is a condensation polymer of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.
  • The by-product of the reaction is water so it is an example of condensation or step-growth polymerization. 
  • PET Plastic is a thermoplastic synthetic substance which malleable under heat and can be placed into nearly any shape.


Source: A new reactor powered by the sun can convert plastic, and CO2 into fuel