Pyrolysis and combustion of municipal solid wastes: evaluation of synergistic effects using TGA-MS

Sanjana D. Gunasee*, Marion Carrier, Johann F. Gorgens, Romeela Mohee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A thermogravimetric methodology was developed to investigate and semi-quantify the extent of synergistic effects during pyrolysis and combustion of municipal solid waste (MSW). Results from TGA-MS were used to compare the pyrolysis and combustion characteristics of single municipal solid waste components (polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), branches (BR), leaves (LV), grass (GR), packaging paper (PK), hygienic paper (HP) and cardboard (CB)) and a mixture (MX) of PP, BR and CB. Samples were heated under dynamic conditions at 20°C/min from 25°C to 1000°C with the continuous record of their main evolved fragments. Synergistic effects were evaluated by comparing experimental and calculated weight losses and relative areas of MS peaks. Pyrolysis of the mixture happened in two stages, with the release of H2, CH4, H2O, CO and CO2 between 200 and 415°C and the release of CH4, CxHy, CO and CO2 between 415 and 525°C. Negative synergistic effect in the 1st stage was attributed to the presence of PP where the release of hydrocarbons and CO2 from BR and CB was inhibited, whereas positive synergistic effects were observed during the 2nd degradation stage. In a second part of the study, synergistic effects were related to the dependency of the effective activation energy (Eα) versus the conversion (α). Higher Eαs were obtained for MX during its 1st stage of pyrolysis and lower Eαs for the 2nd stage when compared to the individual components. On the other hand, mostly positive synergistic effects were observed during the combustion of the same mixture, for which lower Eαs were recorded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Early online date2 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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  • combustion
  • municipal solid wastes
  • pyrolysis
  • synergy
  • TGA-MS


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