Development of an Innovative and Green Method to Obtain Nanoparticles in Aqueous Solution from Carbon-Based Waste Ashes

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2021 Feb 25;11(3):577. doi: 10.3390/nano11030577.


In this study, an original and green procedure to produce water-based solutions containing nanometric recycled carbon particles is proposed. The nanometric particles are obtained starting from carbon waste ashes, produced by the wooden biomass pyro-gasification plant CMD (Costruzioni motori diesel) ECO20. The latter is an integrated system combining a downdraft gasifier, a spark-ignition internal combustion engine, an electric generator and syngas cleaning devices, and it can produce electric and thermal power up to 20 kWe and 40 kWth. The carbon-based ashes (CA) produced by the CMD ECO20 plant were, first, characterized by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and microcomputed tomography (microCT). Afterward, they were reduced in powder by using a milling mortar and analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometry, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction (WAXD) and Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The optimization of an original procedure to reduce the dimensions of the ashes in an aqueous solution was then developed by using ball milling and sonication techniques, and the nanometric dimensions of the particles dispersed in water were estimated by dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements in the order of 300 nm. Finally, possible industrial applications for the nanomaterials obtained from the waste ashes are suggested, including, for example, inks for Aerosol Jet® Printing (AJ® P).

Keywords: AJ®P; circular economy; nanometric carbon-based ashes; recycling.