215: Turning plastic garbage into oil – on a desktop!


To convert plastic waste into fuel usually requires transporting the raw material to a fairly sizeable factory.


Akinori Ito wanted to make the process of plastic recycling more accessible, so that less landfill would be required — an increasing problem in his densely-populated native Japan.

So he invented a tabletop Batch-type machine (called Be-h), household appliance which converts plastic bags into fuel.

To operate, users put their plastic trash in a large bucket, then screw on a lid. The temperature inside rises, slowly melting the plastic, which becomes a liquid and then a gas. The gas passes through a tube into a container filled with water, where it than cools and forms oil again. That oil can then be burned as-is or further separated into gasoline, diesel and kerosene. A kilogram of plastic turns into about a litre of oil.

In 2011, Akinori set up the Blest Corporation to commercialise his solution which he called the Be-h. Initially it retailed for approximately $10,000, and Ito was planning to bring the price down as the system became more popular.

There was also a Small-scale system (with a max. capacity of 200kg/hr and a Big-scale system with two models (one with a max. capacity of 1000kg/24h and the other with a max. capacity of 2000kg/24h).

Discover Solution 216: Dry rice

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