Researchers in the U.S. and China team up on a solution for PE, and the company behind a planned facility in Indiana brings on an engineering expert.

Molecular method: Scientists in the U.S. and China have discovered a new method for converting PE to fuels, reports. The discovery from scientists at the University of California, Irvine and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry uses alkanes, types of hydrocarbon molecules, to separate polymer molecules into other compounds. The process is less toxic than using caustic chemicals and less energy intensive than heating the plastics to high temperatures.

Progress in Indiana: RES Polyflow, which is commercializing a patented process for converting plastics to ultra-low-sulfur fuels, has hired Shambaugh & Son, L.P. to provide engineering, procurement and construction management services for its planned facility in Ashley, Ind. The company says the facility, scheduled to begin operations in 2018, will be the largest plastics-to-fuel facility in the world.

Diesel substitute: Engineering firm Ricardo is teaming up with U.K.-based Recycling Technologies to push forward commercialization of a fuel made of residual mixed plastic waste. The goal is to use the fuel as a substitute for diesel and other fossil-based heavy fuels. It could also be used as petrochemical feedstock.