Toxicity of char residues produced in the co-pyrolysis of different wastes

Bernardo, M., N. Lapa, M. Gonçalves, R. Barbosa, B. Mendes, F. Pinto, and I. Gulyurtlu. "Toxicity of char residues produced in the co-pyrolysis of different wastes." Waste Management. 30.4 (2010): 628-635.


Char residues produced in the co-pyrolysis of different wastes (plastics, pine biomass and used tyres) were characterized using chemical and toxicity assays. One part of the solid chars was submitted to extraction with dichloromethane (DCM) in order to reduce the toxicity of the char residues by removing organic contaminants. The different volatility fractions present in the extracted char (Char A) and in the raw char (Char B) were determined by progressive weight loss combustion. A selected group of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Hg and As) was determined in both chars.

The chars were subjected to the leaching test ISO/TS 21268 – 2, 2007 and the resulting eluates were further characterized by determining a group of inorganic parameters (pH, conductivity, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Hg and As contents) and the concentrations of several organic contaminants (volatile aromatic hydrocarbons and alkyl phenols). An ecotoxicological characterization was also performed by using the bio-indicator Vibrio fischeri.

The chemical and ecotoxicological results were analyzed according to the Council Decision 2003/33/CE and the criteria on the evaluation methods of waste ecotoxicity (CEMWE).

The results obtained in this work indicated that the extraction with DCM is an effective method for the removal of organic contaminants of high to medium volatility from pyrolysis solid residues, thus decreasing their toxicity potential. Zn can be leached from the chars even after the DCM extraction treatment and can contribute to the ecotoxicity of the eluates obtained from chars.

Both chars (treated and non treated with DCM) were classified as hazardous and ecotoxic wastes.

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