A mixture of 70% (w/w) pine biomass and 30% (w/w) plastics (mixture of polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene) was subjected to pyrolysis at 400 °C, for 15 min, with an initial pressure of 40 MPa. Part of the solid residue produced was subjected to extraction with dichloromethane (DCM). The extracted residue (residue A) and raw residue (residue B) were analyzed by weight loss combustion and submitted to the leaching test ISO/TS 21268-2 using two different leachants: DCM (0.2%, v/v) and calcium chloride (0.001 mol/L). The concentrations of the heavy metals Cd, Cr, Ni, Zn, Pb and Cu were determined in the eluates and in the two residues. The eluates were further characterized by determining their pH and the concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX). The presence of other organic contaminants in the eluates was qualitatively evaluated by gas chromatography, coupled with mass spectrometry. An ecotoxicological characterization was also performed by using the bio-indicator Vibrio fischeri. The chemical and ecotoxicological results were analyzed according to the French proposal of Criteria on the Evaluation Methods of Waste Ecotoxicity (CEMWE). Residue A was not considered to be ecotoxic by the ecotoxicological criterion (EC50 (30 min) ≥10%), but it was considered to be ecotoxic by the chemical criterion (Ni ≥ 0.5 mg/L). Residue B was considered to be ecotoxic by the ecotoxicological criterion: EC50 (30 min) ≤ 10%. Besides that, residue B was considered to be hazardous according the European legislation (BTEX concentrations higher than 100 ppb). The results indicate that volatile organic contaminants can be present in sufficient amounts in these residues and their eluates to induce ecotoxicity levels. The extraction of the pyrolysis residue with DCM was an efficient method for removing lighter organic contaminants.
- Chemical and ecotoxicological analysis
- Pyrolysis residues