New Chemical Recycling technology for Non- Recycled Plastic Waste

New Chemical Recycling technology for Non- Recycled Plastic Waste

Most of the countries are suffering from Non-recycled plastic pollution. The scenario is much more critical in developing countries. Sustainable recycling process  of non-degradable plastic has been a major challenge from last several decades. But now a new study has found that non-recycled plastics can add value in new chemical recycling technology. This technology can provide a better sustainable solution to land filling non-recycled plastics wastes.

Gasification- The new and better solution

Gasification and many other technologies that provide an alternative solution to the Curing of non-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW), it has been found that adding non-recycled plastic waste to gasification feed stock increased the amount of useful primary agricultural byproducts with minor increase in energy output. Simultaneously this method keeps out non-recycled plastics from landfills while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

New Chemical Recycling technology for Waste plastic
Figure1: Methanol Production for Plastic Mixture Feedstocks compared to 100% Biomass Feedstock.


Figure 2: Ratio of Methanol Production for Plastic Mixture Feedstocks compared to 100% Biomass Feedstock, includes estimates from equilibrium model

The study on “the effect of Non-recycled plastic (NRP) on gasification: A Quantitative Assessment” also found that with new chemical technology including NRP in the feedstock helped remarkably reduce by up to 76% of  the number of waste by-products to landfills.

Craig Cookson, Senior director of recycling and energy recovery for ACC’s Plastic Division said “We are committed to finding sustainable solution for post-use, non-recycled plastics and are pleased to see that Gasification is another viable option for valuable new products and it also helps to increase energy output”

The Study

Earth Engineering Centre (EEC) of the City College of New York (CCNY) has conducted this study with the city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. A Montreal based waste to energy company “Enerkem” also helped for this study. Enerkem have commercialized a Gasification system that turns non-recycled wastes into useful products like methanol and ethanol.

EEC performed four trials of gasification feedstocks with different percentages combination of plastic wastes (NRP): e.g 0 %, 8%, 15% and 50%. The study found that the feedstock with 50% NRP provided the best result. With a feedstock of 50% biomass and 50%, NRP increased the amount of syngas that earlier produced by 80% when compared to 100% feedstock of Biomass. The gasification process needed a two percent increase in energy input to create syngas.

Later this syngas was converted into methanol. Using feedstock with 50% NRP. Finally, methanol production increased by 42% or equivalent to 4.2 million gallons per year. The result is also able to reduce nearly 21,000 tons of CO2 annually.

Study Results

  • up to 42% more methanol production
  • up to 28% improvement in thermal efficiency
  • up to 80% increase in syngas energy content and only a 2% increase in energy inputs
  • net displacement of as much as 21,000 tons of CO2 equivalents
  • decreased char/ash to landfill by up to 76%

“Carbon and hydrogen rich plastic have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use process like gasification to convert these plastic materials in to useful fuels, chemicals and other products” said Marco J. Castaldi, PHD, director of EEC at CCNY.

This study was joint effort by North American Plastic Alliance and funded by American Chemistry Council, with support from Canadian Plastic Industry Association and Plastic Industry Association.


Link of Original Study Paper:

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