Converting inert plastic waste into energetic materials: A study on the light-accelerated decomposition of plastic waste with the Fenton reaction

Cheuk Fai Stephen CHOW, Wing Leung WONG, Ching Wan CHAN, Chung Sum CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Better treatment and management strategies than landfilling are needed to address the large quantities of unrecycled plastic waste generated by daily human activities. Waste-to-energy conversion is an ideal benchmark for developing future large-scale waste management technologies. The present study explores a new approach for producing energetic materials by converting inert plastic waste into energy (thermal and mechanical energies) via a light-controlled process through the simple chemical activation of plastic waste, including polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. The inert and non-polar polymer surfaces of the plastics were modified by generating a number of sulfonic groups (−SO₃⁻) using chlorosulfuric acid, followed by grafting of Fe(III) catalyst onto the polymer chains to obtain activated polymer. Elemental analyses of these activated materials showed that the carbon-to-sulfur ratio ranged from 3:1 to 5:1. The FTIR spectra indicated the presence of C=C bonds (vC=C: 1615–1630 cm⁻¹) and S=O bonds (vS=O: 1151–1167 cm⁻¹) in the activated polymers after chemical reaction. These activated materials were energetic, as light could be used to convert them into thermal (1800–3200 J/g) and mechanical energies (380–560 kPa/g) using hydrogen peroxide as the oxidant under ambient conditions within 1 h. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-180
JournalWaste Management
Volume75
Early online dateFeb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Fingerprint

plastic waste
energetics
polymer
decomposition
energy
oxidant
chemical reaction
hydrogen peroxide
waste management
human activity
plastic
catalyst
sulfur
material
acid
carbon

Bibliographical note

Chow, C.-F., Wong, W.-L., Chan, C.-W., & Chan, C.-S. (2018). Converting inert plastic waste into energetic materials: A study on the light-accelerated decomposition of plastic waste with the Fenton reaction. Waste Management, 75, 174-180. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.01.034