With the continued growing U.S. population, solid waste generation will increase, which will lead to undesired and significant growth in landfilling. Thermal treatment can turn these high calorific value wastes into fuels that can be used in small-to-large power plants. This article focuses on using blends with 40% plastic and 60% fiber wastes and converting them into densified solid fuel by torrefaction and extrusion. The material was torrefied at 300 °C to obtain torrefied samples with different mass losses, ranging from 0% to a maximum of 51%. The torrefaction results showed a clear synergy between plastics and fibers. The torrefied material was then extruded into 9 mm diameter rods and the products were characterized by molecular functional group analysis, thermomechanical analysis, dynamic mechanical analysis, dynamic rheological measurement, density measurement, flexural testing, water absorption test, size distribution measurement, heat content test, and combustion test. The fiber content in the material decreased as mass loss increased, and the process reduced significantly the variability of the material. The heat content increased as the mass loss increased. The plastic in the feedstock acted as a process enabler as it imparted properties like bindability, water resistance, high heat content, and increased degradation reaction rate.
- FTIR spectroscopy
- Fiber/plastic waste
- Thermomechanical analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal