Converting Plastic Waste Into Graphene and Materials for Carbon Dioxide Capture
Tour, James M.
Doctor of Philosophy
Plastic waste (PW) is becoming one of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century. Due to the low cost of plastic production, it is extremely challenging to find an economical PW recycling method, making landfilling the least expensive way to deal with PW. Plastic, when landfilled, undergoes photochemical degradation producing microplastics, that potentially have deleterious health effects. In this work, two technologies are studied for PW upcycling. Chapter 1 discusses a flash Joule heating (FJH) approach, which relies on a millisecond electric pulse to convert PW to high quality graphene. The process is solvent free and highly efficient, leading to the production of high-quality graphene that is superior to current graphene offered on the market. The utility of this PW-derived graphene is demonstrated in industries that use cement or concrete. Chapter 2 discusses a process that is a modification of current PW pyrolysis recycling approaches to produce microporous CO2 sorbent that is effective for CO2 separation from flue gas at a low cost when compared to existing technologies. This PW process results in the production of valuable byproducts that are characterized and evaluated. The utility of this technology was demonstrated using common single use packing PW, construction PW and textile PW.
Plastic Waste; CO2 capture