Environmental impact assessment of converting flexible packaging plastic waste to pyrolysis oil and multi-walled carbon nanotubes

Ashiq Ahamed, Andrei Veksha, Ke Yin, Piyarat Weerachanchai, Apostolos Giannis, Grzegorz Lisak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A solution to low recycling rates of plastic waste is the conversion into multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) that have high value and can create additional revenue for plant operators. The purpose of this study was to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) of an integrated system that involves flexible packaging plastic waste (FPPW) pyrolysis, oil upgrading, and MWCNTs production. The objectives were to determine the environmental impact of MWCNTs synthesis from non-condensable pyrolysis gases, and to assess the environmental impact of MWCNTs synthesis from different plastic fractions. Integrating MWCNTs synthesis to the plastic pyrolysis process provides various environmental benefits including, reduction of contribution towards climate change, fossil depletion, human toxicity (cancer), and ionizing radiation potentials. Sensitivity analysis of MWCNTs yields provided the range of impacts on the environment and a critical yield of >2% for most impact categories was determined. Comparison of different plastic fractions indicated that using low PET content feedstock had lesser impact on the environment, and demonstrated comparable performance to mixed virgin plastics for most impact categories. The results highlighted the versatility of the integrated pyrolysis process for treating diverse plastic waste fractions with negligible effects from the impurities present in the actual FPPW during thermal processing.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Volume390
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • LCA
    • Plastic waste
    • Carbon nanotubes
    • Pyrolysis
    • Environmental impacts

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