Due to the global pandemic, PPE items have become an integral part of our lives. We have to prepare ourselves to meet the challenges which are forcefully imposed by the recent pandemic of COVID-19, especially those affecting mother nature. The world seems to be more concerned about the shortage of PPE and is trying to manufacture more masks, while the environmental consequences of all the mask waste are being highly neglected.
“RenéMask” offers an eco-chemical solution to monumental problems such are mask pollution and the growing demand for energy. RenéMask’s main goal is to drastically reduce mask waste and mitigate our energy crisis.
The process is mainly based on pyrolysis and distillation. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of materials at elevated temperatures in an inert atmosphere that involves thermal degradation of long-chain polymer molecules into simple, smaller molecules. It is a thermo-chemical plastic waste treatment technique that can be an alternative to plastic dumping & pollution problems. After pyrolysis, distillation is being used to separate the main substances, which are biofuel and biochar. Biofuel and biochar are extraordinary fuel and energy alternatives. The process proceeds in the following steps:
i. Collection of used masks
ii. Disinfection of masks using ultrasonic cleaner
iii. Shredding of masks into small pieces
iv. Fitting shredded masks into the reaction vessel and performance of pyrolysis in a heating mantle
v. Performance of distillation to cool down the fumes in a condenser
vi. Collection of condensed biofuel
The project is imperative because it offers an innovative and realistic solution to the deteriorating environmental (caused by the PPE waste) and economical (accelerated growth in primary energy consumption) situation of Armenia. Being one of a kind in the country, “RenéMask” has all the potential to expand and become one of the most successful and revolutionary eco-scientific projects.
Funded by Nature Armenia (April 2021)