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Thermal Depolymerization

  • By: Michael A. Nash
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

Thermal depolymerization (TDP) is a multistage thermochemical conversion and separation process for converting biomass into usable fuels, oils, gases, and other hydrocarbon-based energy products. The technique relies on chemical decomposition of biomass feedstock inside a chemical reactor under high pressure and temperature conditions that mimic those used by nature in the production of conventional fossil fuels. Although many similar processes have been around for hundreds of years, only recently have advances in chemical engineering technology demonstrated the TDP process to be cost effective and energy efficient.

Typical biomass feedstocks used in TDP processes include turkey offal, manure, animal waste, sewage, restaurant grease, plastic bottles, cornstalks, and paper pulp effluent. These feedstocks provide the source of carbon-containing organic material that is chemically decomposed through the high ...

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