The production of activated carbon from plastics present in undifferentiated urban waste, agricultural plastics and disposable plastics, used in agricultural activity has just been patented, after an investigation carried out by the University of Évora (UÉ), within the scope of the consortium formed by the university itself. , by CIMAC, EDIA and GESAMB.
The research was carried out by a team of researchers who include professors at the UÉ, namely: Teresa Batista, from the Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development (MED), Isabel Cansado and Paulo Mourão, from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and João Nabais, from the Department of Health and Medical Sciences.
In a note sent to our editorial office, the University clarifies that “this innovative process contributes to the fact that dirty plastic waste is diverted from landfills and after separation and collection thereof, in particular agricultural waste, originate a porous material, activated carbon, which will then be applied in the treatment of wastewater, namely for the adsorption of pollutants such as phytopharmaceuticals and others”.
The UÉ adds that “activated carbon has several applications, namely filtering and capturing pollutants from liquid and gaseous media, and can be used in agro-industrial and urban effluents in small to medium-sized units, locally and regionally, transforming a waste into a product of high economic and environmental interest”.
The PlaCarvões project, as it was called, began in 2018, and was funded by the Environmental Fund.
In the same note, the university explains that the project “applies Circular Economy principles to the plastics value chain, transforming dirty plastic waste into a product, activated carbon, whose national needs are met in full through imports. of agriculture is significant, for example in the area of influence of Alqueva, in 2022, it was estimated at 2,300 tons/year. With the growth of the irrigated area and occupied by permanent crops, this volume could reach 4,500 tons/year. The plastic used it is essentially (95%) plastic that is not buried and almost exclusively associated with permanent crops. These two characteristics are an important factor in order to implement a model for collecting and valuing this material. If we add to these numbers those referring to the cycle plastic waste, it will easily be concluded that the patented solution of PlaCarvões will simultaneously contribute to reducing the amount of plastic waste deposited in landfills, bringing Portugal closer to meeting European targets and, at the same time, will create value through the development of a product at regional and national level , activated carbon, on which the country is clearly dependent on the foreign market”.
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