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Pyrolysis and dehalogenation of plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE): A review

TitlePyrolysis and dehalogenation of plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE): A review
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsYang X, Sun L, Xiang J, Hu S, Su S
Journal TitleWaste Management
Pages462 - 473
AbstractPlastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) have been an important environmental problem because these plastics commonly contain toxic halogenated flame retardants which may cause serious environmental pollution, especially the formation of carcinogenic substances polybrominated dibenzo dioxins/furans (PBDD/Fs), during treat process of these plastics. Pyrolysis has been proposed as a viable processing route for recycling the organic compounds in WEEE plastics into fuels and chemical feedstock. However, dehalogenation procedures are also necessary during treat process, because the oils collected in single pyrolysis process may contain numerous halogenated organic compounds, which would detrimentally impact the reuse of these pyrolysis oils. Currently, dehalogenation has become a significant topic in recycling of WEEE plastics by pyrolysis. In order to fulfill the better resource utilization of the WEEE plastics, the compositions, characteristics and dehalogenation methods during the pyrolysis recycling process of WEEE plastics were reviewed in this paper. Dehalogenation and the decomposition or pyrolysis of WEEE plastics can be carried out simultaneously or successively. It could be ‘dehalogenating prior to pyrolysing plastics’, ‘performing dehalogenation and pyrolysis at the same time’ or ‘pyrolysing plastics first then upgrading pyrolysis oils’. The first strategy essentially is the two-stage pyrolysis with the release of halogen hydrides at low pyrolysis temperature region which is separate from the decomposition of polymer matrixes, thus obtaining halogenated free oil products. The second strategy is the most common method. Zeolite or other type of catalyst can be used in the pyrolysis process for removing organohalogens. The third strategy separate pyrolysis and dehalogenation of WEEE plastics, which can, to some degree, avoid the problem of oil value decline due to the use of catalyst, but obviously, this strategy may increase the cost of whole recycling process.
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