Chemists Just Turned Plastic Into Liquid Fuel | Gizmodo "....Chinese chemists have developed a remarkably efficient method for converting polyethylene into liquid fuel. If it proves scaleable, it could make a real dent in global plastic pollution. ... Zheng Huang, an organic chemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has spent the last four years developing a different approach. Writing today in Science Advances, Huang and his colleagues describe their method for degrading polyethylene at temperatures as low as 150 degrees Celsius, by adding an organometallic catalyst—a small, commercially available organic molecule doped with the metal iridium—to the reaction. The catalyst weakens bonds responsible for polyethylene’s stiff structure, accelerating its breakdown into a liquid product. 'Our products are much cleaner than those obtained by conventional [combustion] methods,' Huang told Gizmodo, adding that his method is also easier to control and can be used as a diesel fuel. It’s been proven on small samples of plastic bags, bottles, and food packaging."