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Researchers finally figure out how to Recycle COVID-19 PPE into liquid Biofuel

Kumar Aryan

Every month with the passing of the coronavirus pandemic, humans are using an estimated 200 billion units of single-use face mask and gloves. Personal protective equipment ( PPE) is life –saving for medical professionals, and they must use all the PPE they need to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research from the university of petroleum and energy studies ( UPES) in Dehradun shows how billions of items of disposable PPE can be converted from its plastic state into biofuels. The transformation into biocrude, a type of synthetic fuel, will not just prevent the severe aftereffects to humankind and the environment but also produce a source of energy. There are high production and utilization of PPE to protect the community of health workers and other frontline workers of COVID-19. The disposal of PPE is a rising concern owing to its materials. “ The proposed strategy is a suggestive measure addressing the anticipated problem of disposal of PPE. During the current COVID-19 pandemic specifically, PPE is being designed for single-use, followed by the disposal one.

This helping and eco-friendly research come from a group of experts in UPES, Dehradun. This article was published in the Taylor & Francis journals Biofuels. The research studied the composition of various PPE, including gloves, face masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. A lot of those items are made from non-woven plastic, which is traditionally difficult to recycle. Still, the researchers found that used and defective PPE kits can be recycled using pyrolysis, this is a process in which high temperature is applied to break material down.

Putting PPE in a pyrolysis thermal reactor for one hour will convert the material into liquid biofuel. This conversion will not only prevent the severe aftereffects to humankind and the environment but also produce a source of energy, “ the authors explain, nothing that the PPE would be transformed into biocrude.” The challenge of PPE waste management and increasing energy demand could be addressed simultaneously by the production of liquid fuel from PPE kits.

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