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Chemical engineers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts are developing a process to convert plastic garbage collected from the ocean into fuel onboard diesel ships. The process, called hydrothermal liquefaction, compresses the plastic at high temperature and pressure to create “blue diesel”. This innovation would save time, money, and emissions by eliminating the need for ocean-cleaning vessels to travel back and forth to the mainland to offload plastic and refuel. The technology could also be useful on rivers, as most plastic waste enters the ocean through major river systems. The project is still in the early stages but shows promise.

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