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Technical Paper

The Fate of Chlorine and Heavy Metals During Pyrolysis of Automobile Shredder Residue*

One of the major sources of chlorine in automobiles is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). When old discarded automobiles enter the recycling loop by far the largest percent of this material finds its way into the solid waste fraction known as automobile shredder residue (ASR). While the majority of this waste is currently disposed of in landfills new processes are currently being evaluated to recycle and recover the valuable resources contained in this solid waste. Pyrolysis, the thermal cracking of the polymeric materials present in ASR, to recover the petrochemical hydrocarbons is one such technology which is receiving attention. However, like combustion with energy recovery, the pyrolysis process is receiving close scrutiny in terms of its environmental impact. These concerns have centered around the fate of the chlorine and the heavy metals present in the ASR.
Technical Paper

Pyrolysis: A “Recycling” Option for Automobile Shredder Residue

The recyclability of old automobiles is of major interest to auto manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and regulatory bodies concerned about sustainable development. While the majority of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals are currently recycled, the non-metallic waste fraction generated by automobile shredding operations is currently disposed of in landfills. In view of the relatively large concentration of plastics and rubber in this material, pyrolysis, the thermal degradation of polymeric materials to predominantly hydrocarbon products, appears an ideal resource recovery option for this waste stream. In this study, the results of pyrolysis experiments performed in our laboratory will be examined and compared with pyrolysis data reported in the literature. The importance of pyrolysis temperature, pyrolysis reaction time and pyrolysis process design on product formation (liquids, solids and gases) as well as chemical composition are compared.