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Forget Recycling – This Startup is Turning Plastic Into Green Fuel

Podcast Summary

We know that plastic is a big problem. Of the billion tons plus we produce annually, only 7-9% actually gets recycled – the rest ends up in our landfills and waterways. What if we could take the plastic littering our planet and turn it into something useful? That’s exactly Lloyd Spencer’s goal. As the Chairman, President and CEO of CarbonMeta Technologies, Lloyd has helped shape the ambitious vision for his company: to up-cycle plastic waste into high value carbon products – like graphite, carbon nanotubes, and graphene – and hydrogen products – like green fuel. 

In this episode of Energy Superheroes, Lloyd chats about the fascinating technology behind CarbonMeta, how his broad background has helped shape his career, and his advice for young people worried about our planet:

  • When you break it down to a molecular level, plastic is really just a bunch of carbon and hydrogen (with a few other lesser elements in the mix). Lloyd’s company uses novel technology patented by the University of Oxford to dissolve chemical bonds and release both the carbon and hydrogen from the plastic. By mixing plastic with a catalyst and then putting the combination in a microwave-like device, CarbonMeta can separate the individual elements and make them into something useful – whether that is graphite for battery anodes or hydrogen-based green fuel. Unlike typical recycling methods, CarbonMeta’s tech isn’t picky about what types of plastics it can process or how clean the materials need to be, making this a better solution for hard-to-handle waste. 
  • Lloyd thanks his insatiable curiosity for his success. He encourages all innovators to follow what interests them and collect a variety of skills in their lifetime – you never know where it may lead you. Lloyd has dabbled in computer science, business law, robotics, and much more throughout his career – all of which opened doors for him and presented him with unexpected opportunities. 
  • Lloyd is highly optimistic about our climate future. He points to the fact that humans have always been incredibly resourceful in the face of a challenge and sees climate change as no different. For young people especially, Lloyd believes that the climate change dilemma holds incredible opportunity to make a lasting difference. Today’s youth have a better understanding of the bigger global picture and access to technological tools that were not available decades ago. 

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