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Waste Manag. 2017 Oct;68:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2017.06.002. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Improving the circular economy via hydrothermal processing of high-density waste plastics.

Author information

1
Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Pontoppidanstæde 111, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark. Electronic address: thp@et.aau.dk.
2
Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Pontoppidanstæde 111, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark. Electronic address: fco@et.aau.dk.

Abstract

Rising environmental concerns on climate changes are causing an increasing attention on circular economies. The plastic economy, in particular, is in focus due to the accelerating consumption of plastics, mainly derived from virgin feedstock, combined with the lack of plastic recycling strategies. This work presents a novel outlook on the potential of using supercritical hydrothermal processing of waste plastic fractions for tertiary recycling. The study investigates hydrothermal processing of nine different, high-density types of plastics into original resin monomers and other value-added chemical compounds. The outlook presents conversion yields, carbon balances, and chemical details on the products obtained. It is found that all the investigated resins are prone to hydrothermal treatment, and that high yields of monomers and high value compounds (up to nearly 100%), suitable for chemicals and fuels applications, can be obtained. For instance, for polycarbonate, styrene-butadiene, poly(lactic acid), poly(ethylene terephthalate), and poly(butylene terephthalate), original monomeric compounds can be reclaimed for manufacturing new resins. The promising results presented demonstrate that hydrothermal processing of high-density plastics is a prospective technology for increasing the circularity of the plastic economy.

KEYWORDS:

Hydrothermal liquefaction; Plastic monomers; Synthetic crude oil; Value added chemicals; Waste unrecyclable plastics

PMID:
28623021
DOI:
10.1016/j.wasman.2017.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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