ECORETE-GREEN CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Recovery of plastic and wood with green technologies
The proposed project, start in July 2020, is part of the green economy and fits into context of the "circular economy". In fact, a model of "industrial symbiosis" is proposed for the reduction of waste disposed of in landfills and at the same time the development of a green product with innovative methods. In particular, the project is oriented to the recovery and enhancement of wood and plastic waste (meaning by this term macromolecular polymeric materials of different nature) through their transformation into products with high added / technological value.
The choice of these two waste materials so different from each other (the first of synthetic origin, the second considered natural waste) is caused by the fact that both pose many problems for disposal. As for plastics, currently only one third of that disposed of is sent for regeneration to transform it into secondary raw material, while the remaining part is about 50% sent to energy valorisation through waste-to-energy plants and the remaining 50% sent to landfill. For wood, millions of tons are sent to landfills every year in Lazio. Such waste can also create problems for at least two points of view: they are bulky and therefore reduce the disposal capacity of ecological islands; in an anaerobic environment they produce methane which is a greenhouse gas twenty times more harmful than carbon dioxide.
The aim of the project is the transformation of both these scraps into products with high added / technological value through processes that are in the case of plastics a pushed depolymerization with production of new monomer, in the case of wood a decomposition, with green solvents (deep eutectic solvents or low transition temperature mixtures) in cellulose and lignin and in their reuse for the production of support elements for electrodes (cellulose) and for the production of electrolytic membranes (lignin) to be used in a new concept battery.
The waste fractions of both processes will be used to produce “zero sulfur” fuels for use in diesel engines and in carbonaceous material that can be used both to produce electrodes for the battery or as activated carbon.
The project involves two SME: S.R.S. Servizi Ricerca e Sviluppo srl and Eco Recycling srl and four research groups OdR: one of Università di Roma 3 (Dip. Di Scienze) and three of Sapienza (DICMA, Hydro-Eco e DIAG).