Over the last two years the amount of PPE waste has boomed due to our increased usage of it. However, pyrolysis technology could help us turn much of this waste into something far more useful - renewable fuel.
What Is Pyrolysis Technology?
Pyrolysis technology is a thermal decomposition process, that could help us to convert biomass into renewable fuels. The process occurs in the absence of oxygen, which converts lignocellulosic biomass into carbon-rich solids and liquids.
Pyrolysis Technology for PPE Waste
But how would this work for PPE waste? Well, much of our PPE waste is made of polyvinyl chloride and polypropylene, two thermoplastic polymers with high oil content levels. A study from February 2021 states that these plastic wastes from PPE waste can be converted into valuable energy products like oil, gas and char through pyrolysis process.
There are several benefits to using pyrolysis technology; it is more environmentally friendly, more cost-effective and efficient and fills less land capacity as a result. Disposing of PPE using this method could certainly be more beneficial for the environment, but it is yet to be seen whether it will be rolled out on a larger scale.
Renewable fuel is already being tested on aircraft, and with much success. British Airways has started using renewable fuel to power a number of their flights, with plans to continue to do so throughout 2022.