FURI | Spring 2023

Synthesis of Fuel Precursors Using Disposable Face Masks

Sustainability icon, disabled. A green leaf.

This research aims to investigate the potential of hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) for converting disposable face masks into fuel precursors. Face masks have been identified as a major environmental threat due to the lack of biodegradability and increased use due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These masks have created an environmental problem with solid waste along with microplastic pollutionĀ in Earth’s oceans and freshwater. The use of HTL aims to alleviate this impact while creating a valuable product.

Student researcher

Paul John Rulla

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Centennial, Colorado, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024