What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Japanese Machine Converts Plastic to Oil

August 24, 2010, 2:40 PM
Screen_shot_2010-08-24_at_2.37.15_pm_8-24-10_

The perils of plastic are nothing new to most of us. A lesser-known fact, however, is that plastic has a higher energy value than just about any other type of waste. To harness this energy while addressing the waste problem, Japanese company Blest has created a machine that converts several types of plastic into oil.

Rather than burning the plastic using flame, which generates CO2, the machine uses a temperature-controlled electric heater to convert plastic into crude gas, which can then be used to power gas-based household appliances like stoves, boilers and generators or, if refined, can even be pumped into a car or motorcycle. Small yet highly efficient, the machine produces nearly one liter of oil – gasoline, diesel or kerosine – from every kilogram of plastic, requiring only 1 kilowatt of electricity for the conversion.

Though the machine currently processes only plastic class 2, 3 and 4 (polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene) and not class 1 (PET bottles), it still offers a remarkable solution to a serious problem and has many potential applications. Blest CEO Akinori Ito says there currently over 60 machines installed at farms, fisheries and small factories in Japan as well as a handful abroad. They can be used for everything from converting trash left behind by tourists into oil to power tour busses and boats to powering restaurant kitchen stoves with plastic from food packaging.

via

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

 

Japanese Machine Converts P...

Newsletter: Share: