To remove chlorine from chlorinated wastes efficiently, the hydrothermal treatment (HT) of PVC was investigated with a lower alkaline dosage in this work. Some typical operating conditions were investigated to find out the most important factor affecting the dechlorination efficiency (DE). The FTIR technique was employed to detect the functional groups in PVC and hydrochars generated to reveal the possible pathways for chlorine removal. The results show that the HT temperature was a key parameter to control the dechlorination reaction rate. At a HT temperature of 240 °C, about 94.3% of chlorine could be removed from the PVC with 1% NaOH. The usage of NaOH was helpful for chlorine removal, while a higher dosage might also hinder this process because of the surface poisoning and coverage of free sites. To some extent, the DE was increased with the residence time. At a residence time of 30 min, the DE reached a maximum of 76.74%. A longer residence time could promote the generation of pores in hydrochar which is responsible for the reduction in DE because of the re-absorption of water-soluble chlorine. According to the FTIR results, the peak intensities of both C=CH and C=C stretching vibrations in hydrochar were increased, while the peak at around 3300 cm−1
representing the –OH group was not obvious, indicating that the dehydrochlorination (elimination reaction) was a main route for chlorine removal under these conditions studied in this work.
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