Unveiling a Recycling-Sourced Mineral-Biocellulose Fibre Composite for Use in Combustion-Generated NOx Mitigation Forming Plant Nutrient: Meeting Sustainability Development Goals in the Circular Economy
NOx is unavoidably emitted during combustion in air at high temperature and/or pressure, which, if exceeding recommended levels, has a negative impact on the population. The authors found that when moist, limestone (CaCO3) readily sorbs NO2 to form calcium nitrate, which provides the basis for developing a surface flow filter. The substrate was made from &ldquo;over-recycled&rdquo; cellulose fibres such as newsprint, magazines, or packaging fibre, which are too weak to be used in further recycling. The substrate was specially-coated with fine-ground calcium carbonate and micro-nano-fibrillated cellulose, which was used as a binder and essential humectant to avoid formation of a stagnant air layer. Pre-oxidation countered the action of denitrification bacteria colonising the cellulose substrate. The by-product CO2 produced in situ during carbonate to nitrate conversion was adsorbed by perlite, which is an inert high surface-area additive. After use, the nitrate-rich CaCO3-cellulose-based filter was proposed to be mulched into a run-off resistant soil fertiliser and micronutrient suitable, e.g., for renewable forestry within the circular economy. Belgrade, Serbia, which is a highly polluted city, was used as a laboratory test bed, and NO2 was successfully removed from an inlet of city air. A construct of street-side self-draughting or municipal/commercial transport vehicle-exterior motion-draught filter boxes is discussed.