Tech

Convert waste PPE into water and vinegar

Shredded, non-recyclable PPE test tubes that replace clear water and vinegar test tubes: an extraordinary study at the Faculty of Engineering.Credit: University of Auckland

The process of converting PPE waste into harmless by-products can significantly change the problem of PPE waste filling landfills and contaminating seas and rivers.


Shredded masks, gowns, gloves and plastic safety glasses can be placed in the machine. Hot pressurized water and compressed air are applied. Water and acetic acid are the final products. The PPE-to-liquid process runs at a temperature of 300 ° C and takes about an hour on a small prototype machine in the undergraduate lab. The gaseous by-products of the process are safe emission of oxygen and low concentrations of carbon dioxide. “This is a clean, chemical-free solution that will be an international game changer,” says Dr. Saeed Baroutian, an associate professor of chemical materials engineering at the Faculty.

“The technology used is a hydrothermal decomposition or valuation process that completely destroys waste. The liquid produced by this process is safe, inert and reusable. Vinegar or Acetic acid It can be used for disinfection and the water can be reused in the treatment cycle, minimizing water consumption and increasing sustainability. “

This process was developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the University of Otago and the University of Waterloo (Canada). This is one of two innovative solutions linked to address the COVID-19 medical waste problem, which is described by the World Health Organization as “threatening human and environmental health.”

Dr. Yvonne Anderson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Pediatrics, University of Auckland, is leading a project that uses innovative technology to disinfect PPE so that it can be safely reused or recycled. Dr. Baroutian said: “By developing two technologies, one for reusable waste and one for non-reusable or non-recyclable waste, we close this ever-growing loop of serious waste problems and provide a truly clean and cyclical solution. Green. “

The research team is currently taking steps to develop the solution into a larger pilot system, learning from it and developing a full-fledged proof of concept. “Here we introduce the technologies and find potential partnerships with funding and commercial organizations to ensure that the design works in line with the flow of PPE waste and implement these technologies in New Zealand and abroad. You can, “says Saeid.

In terms of cost, researchers have already completed Economic analysis This shows that a large hydrothermal decomposition system can process PPE. waste At a cost comparable to current practices in autoclaving and landfill. “And from an environmental point of view, the savings offered are enormous,” says Saeid.


Disinfection of PPE for reuse and recycling


Quote: Converting waste PPE into water and vinegar (February 18, 2022) Obtained from February 18, 2022 https://phys.org/news/2022-02-ppe-vinegar.html

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Convert waste PPE into water and vinegar

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