Nonviable carbon neutrality with plastic waste-to-energy

Serang Kwon, Jieun Kang, Beomhui Lee, Soonwook Hong, Yongseok Jeon, Moonsoo Bak, Seong Kyun Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification during plastic waste treatment are inevitable to reduce the volume of landfilled plastic waste and recover energy; however, they cause severe carbon emissions. We show that the current practices of plastic waste-to-energy will significantly impact carbon neutrality. Various energy recovery systems, such as combined power cycles and fuel cells, were modeled to evaluate the power generated and CO2 emitted from treating the current and projected plastic waste by 2050. The CO2 emissions from plastic waste-to-energy systems are higher than those from current fossil fuel-based power systems per unit of power generated, even after considering the contribution of carbon capture and storage. Power generation using plastic waste will significantly increase by 2050, and therefore, we suggest technologies required for achieving carbon neutrality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3074-3087
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun 8

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S. K., J. K., B. L., S. H., Y. J., M. B., and S. I. were supported by the Basic Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2022R1A4A3023960). S. K., J. K., B. L., and S. I. were also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2020R1C1C1006837). S. K. and S. I. were supported by the OJEong Eco-Resilience Institute (OJERI) of Korea University (K2208841).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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