Billions of single-use personal protective equipment, including hazmat suits, masks, and gloves used to prevent COVID-19 infection, could be transformed to produce biofuels, according to a new study.
More than 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves are being used globally every month to deal with the coronavirus. Because of the poor disposal mechanism in many countries, PPEs are piling up in landfills and also polluting oceans.
Researchers from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies are planning to use the process of pyrolysis to thermally degrade the polypropylene – a key material used for making PPE – into liquid fuel which can be used to power gas turbines, boilers, generators and sterling engines.
Dr. Bhawna Yadav Lamba, co-author of the study, said, “Pyrolysis is the most commonly used chemical method whose benefits include the ability to produce high quantities of bio-oil, which is easily biodegradable.”