Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New pyre for PET recycling

A method for extracting active carbon from plastic waste has now been developed and offers the industry considerable advantages.
New pyre for PET recycling
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) waste constitutes a large proportion of waste generation. A great number of consumer products such as food and beverage containers are manufactured in part or entirely from this plastic.

Fortunately, PET is fully recyclable and its polymer chains can be recovered for additional use. As such its environmental and economic impact could be enormous, and intensive research and developments have been undertaken to further improve the recycling technologies.

One such, undertaken by an Andalusian research group, has developed a method that removes active carbon from PET wastes. A major advantage of their process is that it transforms volatile organic substances into active carbon.

The process has two stages. Firstly, through a pyrolysis process, salts are generated from the transformation of the volatile organic substances. These toxic salts are then processed at a lower pyrolitic temperature to generate active carbons. Thus, at the end of this process two different types of active carbons are produced.

The important fact to note here is that both types of active carbons have large surface areas and micropore volumes. These micropores are distributed in a unimodal fashion, making them ideal for the adsorption of large amounts of pollution. Furthermore, the narrow microporosity makes it possible to select the active carbon for specific applications.

This technological process has a global impact. Firstly it's yield volume in attaining active carbons is approximately double that of more traditional processes. As it also requires lower pyrolitic temperatures, it improves both its cost-efficiency and its energy consumption. And finally, the active carbons it produces are extremely well suited for several applications in both water and air pollutants.

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Record Number: 82655 / Last updated on: 2006-06-27
Domain: Environment