The decomposition and emission factors of a wide range of PFAS in diverse, contaminated organic waste fractions undergoing dry pyrolysis
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Hazardous Materials. 2023, 454 . 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2023.131447
Current treatment options for organic waste contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are generally limited to incineration, composting or landfilling, all resulting in emissions. Dry pyrolysis is a promising emerging alternative to these practices, but there is uncertainty related to the fate of PFAS during this process. The present work first developed a robust method for the determination of PFAS in complex matrices, such as sewage sludge and biochar. Then, a mass balance was established for 56 different PFAS during full-scale pyrolysis (2–10 kg biochar hr-1, 500–800 °C) of sewage sludges, food waste reject, garden waste and waste timber. PFAS were found in all wastes (56–3651 ng g-1), but pyrolysis resulted in a ≥ 96.9% removal. Residual PFAS (0.1–3.4 ng g-1) were detected in biochars obtained at temperatures up to 750 °C and were dominated by long chain PFAS. Emitted PFAS loads ranged from 0.01 to 3.1 mg tonne-1 of biochar produced and were dominated by short chain PFAS. Emissions made up < 3% of total PFAS-mass in the wastes. Remaining uncertainties are mainly related to the presence of thermal degradation products in flue gas and condensation oils.