Pyrolysis of the Medical Waste


Medical waste is a multi component hazardous waste. Main constituents of medical waste are plastics, textile and polyvinylchloride (PVC).Medical waste also includes needles, pathological wastes from surgery and autopsy, and pharmaceutical waste. Traditionally, hospitals burn medical waste in incinerators and then deposit it into waste landfill sites. When burned, PVC produces inter alia carbon monoxide, dioxins, and chlorinated furans. The California Environmental Protection Agency has banned the  permitting of any new medical waste incinerators since 2001.

Pyrolysis is the efficient method of hazardous waste disposal and recovery of valuable materials. Output from medical waste pyrolysis depends on initial waste content: waste composition determines whether to proceed with oil recovery scheme design or with a steam turbine configuration.

Example of the commercial batch pyrolysis of the medical waste shown below. Quality pyrolysis oil directly from the process is used as a fuel for burners, as a fuel for diesel engines (electricity generation), and as a heating oil.