Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Hydrothermal Upgrading of Waste Plastics: An Environmental Impact Study

Version 1 : Received: 11 July 2022 / Approved: 18 July 2022 / Online: 18 July 2022 (03:07:37 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 18 November 2022 / Approved: 21 November 2022 / Online: 21 November 2022 (02:38:44 CET)

How to cite: Ozoemena, M.; Coles, S. Hydrothermal Upgrading of Waste Plastics: An Environmental Impact Study . Preprints.org 2022, 2022070241. https://doi.org/10.20944/preprints202207.0241.v1. Ozoemena, M.; Coles, S. Hydrothermal Upgrading of Waste Plastics: An Environmental Impact Study . Preprints.org 2022, 2022070241. https://doi.org/10.20944/preprints202207.0241.v1.

Abstract

This paper presents the life cycle assessment results of a study of plastic recycling via hydrothermal upgrading (HTU), a chemical recycling technology. It was investigated due to its potential to address current gaps in the plastic recycling system, largely due to several plastic packaging materials and formats that cannot be processed by traditional mechanical recycling technologies (primarily due to technoeconomic reasons). As society transitions towards a net-zero-based circular economy, assessments should be conducted with a futuristic outlook, preventing costly mistakes by employing the right technologies in the right areas. HTU can generate up to 76% reduction in climate change impacts when compared with comparable end-of-life treatment technologies whilst conserving material with the system. Additionally, further reductions could be achieved by changes in electricity consumption within the study. This represents a new insight to chemical recycling of polymers by establishing a prospective life cycle assessment study that looks to introduce a step-change in the recycling system. By creating a transparent cut-off model with consistent allocation, it highlights the benefits of introducing this technology as opposed to the current model of disposal through incineration or landfill.

Keywords

hydrothermal upgrading; naphtha; life cycle assessment; chemical recycling; waste plastic

Subject

Chemistry and Materials Science, Polymers and Plastics

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