INL researchers change the garbage game with MSW to biofuels success

February 13, 2022 |

In Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory researchers are leading new studies to decontaminate municipal solid waste (MSW), such as paper, plastic, food, and clothing waste, to create biofuels. The research characterizes the municipal solid waste fractions of plastic and paper to determine what contaminants might affect biofuel conversion. They then work to decontaminate them and increase the yield for fuel and product conversion.

They’ve been using high temperature conversion, or pyrolysis, to convert plastic waste to liquid oil. The team used two different methods to clean plastic samples – a water wash and a dimethyl ether chemical wash. With both cleaning methods, the team was able to increase the yield of liquid oil products, which was a major success for converting the plastic portions of the nonrecyclable waste. At long last, however, they found a solution in the form of a dilute alkaline pretreatment. The success they’ve had so far will provide integral support to biorefineries working to better decontaminate the paper product samples they receive.

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Category: Research

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