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Natural depolymerization of waste poly(ethylene terephthalate) by neutral hydrolysis in marine water

Authors
  • Stanica-Ezeanu, Dorin1
  • Matei, Danuta1
  • 1 Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Ploiești, Romania , Ploiești (Romania)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Scientific Reports
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Feb 24, 2021
Volume
11
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-83659-2
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most widely used materials for food packaging and fishing nets. After use it become waste and, due to poor collection, most will be found floating in marine waters. This paper presents the results of a study of PET depolymerization by hydrolysis. We observed that marine water is a perfect reactant because it contains a multitude of metal ions that act as catalysts. A first-order kinetic model was developed and experimental data fitted to it. An activation energy of 73.5 kJ/mole and a pre-exponential factor of 5.33 × 107 h–1 were obtained. Considering that the global ocean is a huge batch reactor operating under isothermal conditions, the solution of the mathematical model shows that in tropical regions only 72 years is needed for total and only 4.5 years for 50% PET conversion.

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