Materials World October 2019
What’s the burning issue? Several readers have written to us in regards
to how we view and subsequently manage plastic waste in the UK.
On the surface, plastic is seen as a scourge, and its versatility and value is often overshadowed by difficulties arising from poor end-of-life planning.
Now, the national situation is changing, piling more pressure on to the problem – the UK can no longer export large volumes of refuse abroad so must find another means of disposal, recycling rates are variably but generally dropping, and there is a long way to go to reach the national target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Is incinerating plastic the answer? We take a look at some of the key statistics and hear opposing viewpoints on the debate of energy from waste on page 30.
Also in energy, we examine the ways in which Australia is diversifying its energy mix to balance cross-state power supplies and prevent further mass electricity blackouts. Read more on page 26. And we learn about a project producing carbon-neutral hydrogen fuel, report on rare earths, and look at the material requirements for building fusion reactors as well as the practical considerations of extending
the operating lifetimes of nuclear power plants.
In technology, we find out how a robotised laser deposition technique can improve industrial use of additive manufacturing to minimise waste, and run down the many methods of testing technical textiles.
Ceri Jones, Editor