In the last century, the economic growth has been accompanied by a worldwide diffusion of polymers for multiple applications. However, there is a growing attention to the environmental pollution and energy consumption linked to the unconditional use of plastic. In the present work, exergy is used as a measure of the resource consumption during the life cycle of polymers. Nine commercially diffused polymers are chosen, and their production chains are identified according to the “grave to cradle” approach. The global Embodied Exergy (EE) is calculated as the sum of the contribution of each step of the chain, including the production process and the Exergy Replacement Cost (ERC) of the fossil fuel. Then, recycling routes and the associated exergy consumption are analysed. Thermodynamic recycling indexes are developed depending on the final product, namely the crude polymeric material and the oil derivatives or structural molecules. The main results show that some commonly used polymers have a considerable impact in terms of EE (e.g., PET). Recycling indexes encourage the recycling processes, which are always energetically convenient (from 10% to 60% of exergy savings) compared with the production from virgin raw material. Results from EE calculation are used for the thermodynamic assessment of the plastic content of vehicle components, to obtain useful information for recycling practices development.
Exergy-Based Assessment of Polymers Production and Recycling: An Application to the Automotive Sector / Russo, Sofia; Valero, Alicia; Valero, Antonio; Iglesias-Émbil, Marta. - In: ENERGIES. - ISSN 1996-1073. - 14:2(2021), p. 363. [10.3390/en14020363]
|Titolo:||Exergy-Based Assessment of Polymers Production and Recycling: An Application to the Automotive Sector|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/en14020363|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|