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Sus. Chem., Volume 1, Issue 1 (December 2020) – 3 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable and Regenerable Alkali Metal-Containing Carbons Derived from Seaweed for CO2 Post-Combustion Capture
Sus. Chem. 2020, 1(1), 33-48; https://doi.org/10.3390/suschem1010003 (registering DOI) - 02 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Alkali-based CO2 sorbents were prepared from a novel material (i.e., Laminaria hyperborea). The use of this feedstock, naturally containing alkali metals, enabled a simple, green and low-cost route to be pursued. In particular, raw macroalgae was pyrolyzed at 800 °C. The [...] Read more.
Alkali-based CO2 sorbents were prepared from a novel material (i.e., Laminaria hyperborea). The use of this feedstock, naturally containing alkali metals, enabled a simple, green and low-cost route to be pursued. In particular, raw macroalgae was pyrolyzed at 800 °C. The resulting biochar was activated with either CO2 or KOH. KOH–activated carbon (AC) had the largest surface area and attained the highest CO2 uptake at 35 °C and 1 bar. In contrast, despite much lower porosity, the seaweed-derived char and its CO2-activated counterpart outweighed the CO2 sorption performance of KOH–AC and commercial carbon under simulated post-combustion conditions (53 °C and 0.15 bar). This was ascribed to the greater basicity of char and CO2–AC due to the presence of alkali metal-based functionalities (i.e., MgO) within their structure. These were responsible for a sorption of CO2 at lower partial pressure and higher temperature. In particular, the CO2–AC exhibited fast sorption kinetics, facile regeneration and good durability over 10 working cycles. Results presented in the current article will be of help for enhancing the design of sustainable alkali metal-containing CO2 captors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Pre-Extraction on Composition of Residual Liquor Obtained from Catalytic Organosolv Pulping of Sugar Maple Bark
Sus. Chem. 2020, 1(1), 23-32; https://doi.org/10.3390/suschem1010002 - 19 May 2020
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Abstract
Background: We have determined previously that the water extract of sugar maple bark contained an important quantity of a complex sugar. In this study, we investigated the organosolv pulping of pre-extracted bark to follow the acid conversion of sugars into major products, furfural [...] Read more.
Background: We have determined previously that the water extract of sugar maple bark contained an important quantity of a complex sugar. In this study, we investigated the organosolv pulping of pre-extracted bark to follow the acid conversion of sugars into major products, furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (HMF), while comparing the structures of organosolv lignins. Methods: The bark particles were pre-extracted with an ethanol–water mixture or water only. The extractives-free barks were then converted into cellulosic pulp and lignin by a patented organosolv process. The composition of residual liquor was determined by using HPLC-UV. Results: The pre-extraction with water was more efficient for complex sugars recovery than with the ethanol–water system. HMF was determined to be more abundant in residual liquor than furfural after ethanol–water pre-extraction while their quantities were comparable in the residual liquor after water pre-extraction. The higher yield of HMF from ethanol–water pre-extracted bark (1.18%) than from water pre-extracted (0.69%) could be related to the efficiency of complex sugar removal during the pre-extraction step. Conclusions: The pre-extraction before pulping affected, at least in part, the composition of residual liquor in terms of HMF production. These results demonstrate how the bark can be converted into valuable products and intermediates for organic synthesis. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Chemical Recycling of PLA: A Review
Sus. Chem. 2020, 1(1), 1-22; https://doi.org/10.3390/suschem1010001 - 02 May 2020
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Abstract
Plastics are an indispensable material with numerous benefits and advantages compared to traditional materials, such as glass and paper. However, their widespread use has caused significant environmental pollution and most plastics are currently nonrenewable. Biobased polymers represent an important step for tackling these [...] Read more.
Plastics are an indispensable material with numerous benefits and advantages compared to traditional materials, such as glass and paper. However, their widespread use has caused significant environmental pollution and most plastics are currently nonrenewable. Biobased polymers represent an important step for tackling these issues, however, the end-of-life disposal of such materials needs to be critically considered to allow for a transition to a circular economy for plastics. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is an important example of a biobased polymer, which is also biodegradable. However, industrial composting of PLA affords water and carbon dioxide only and in the natural environment, PLA has a slow biodegradation rate. Therefore, recycling processes are important for PLA, particularly chemical recycling, which affords monomers and useful platform chemicals, maintaining the usefulness and value of the material. This review covers the different methods of PLA chemical recycling, highlighting recent trends and advances in the area. Full article
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