Recycling dirty aluminum foil might not be practical — but it could be used to make biofuel

Read the full story from Waste Dive.

  • Dirty aluminum foil can be converted into a catalyst for biofuel production, according to a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. Recycling aluminum from all feedstock is critical, according to the paper, (published in Scientific Reports), because bauxite mining, the main source of aluminum, is environmentally damaging.
  • The researchers were able to dissolve the foil in a solution that turned it into crystals, and then used a second mixture to purify the crystals into pure aluminum salts, according to Mental Floss. Those pure salts can be used in creating alumina catalyst, which is a key ingredient in making dimethyl ether (DME), a diesel substitute.
  • According to the author of the paper, producing the alumina catalyst from dirty aluminum foil costs about $142 per kilogram (just over 2 lbs.), while the commercial cost for the alumina catalyst is around $360 per kilogram — demonstrating significant savings.

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