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A Comparison of Feedstock from Agricultural Biomass and Face Masks for the Production of Biochar through Co-Pyrolysis

This study explores the pyrolysis of disposable face masks to produce chemicals suitable for use as fuel, addressing the environmental concern posed by single-use face masks. Co-pyrolysis of biomass with face mask plastic waste offers a promising solution. The research focuses on the co-pyrolysis of biomass and face masks, aiming to characterise the properties for analysis and optimisation. Selected agricultural biomass and face mask plastic waste were subjected to temperatures from 250 °C to 400 °C for co-pyrolysis. Slow pyrolysis was chosen because face masks cannot be converted into useful bioproducts at temperatures exceeding 400 °C. The samples were tested in four different ratios and the study was conducted under inert conditions to ensure analysis accuracy and reliability. The results indicate that face masks exhibit a remarkable calorific value of 9310 kcal/kg. Face masks show a two-fold increase in calorific value compared with biomass alone. Additionally, the low moisture content of face masks (0.10%) reduces the heating value needed to remove moisture, enhancing their combustion efficiency. This study demonstrates the potential of co-pyrolysis with face masks as a means of generating valuable chemicals for fuel production, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Publication date: 16/11/2023

Author: Yasirah Yusoff

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su152216000

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.