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Title:
PROCESS FOR PRODUCING NICOTINE FROM URBAN WASTE AND RELEVANT IMPLEMENTATION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/008477
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Process for producing nicotine from urban waste starting from cigarette butts, said process sequentially comprising a series of steps that allow obtaining a nicotine-based oily residue comprising a nicotine content ranging between 65% and 85%.

Inventors:
CACCIOTTI, Ilaria (Via Don Carlo Gnocchi 3, Roma, I-00166, IT)
GUARINO, Stefano (Via Don Carlo Gnocchi 3, Roma, I-00166, IT)
Application Number:
IB2018/054791
Publication Date:
January 10, 2019
Filing Date:
June 28, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI NICCOLÒ CUSANO TELEMATICA ROMA (Via Don Carlo Gnocchi 3, Roma, I-00166, IT)
International Classes:
A24B15/24; A61K31/465; B09B3/00
Foreign References:
CN105413646A2016-03-23
EP0623290A11994-11-09
BRPI1001729A22013-03-26
CN1056910A1991-12-11
US3803004A1974-04-09
US1178487A1916-04-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIAMMENGHI, Eva et al. (Via delle Quattro Fontane 31, Roma, I-00184, IT)
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Claims:
Claims

1. Process for producing nicotine, said process being characterized in that it uses, upstream as a nicotine precursor, urban trash represented by cigarettes butts, said process sequentially comprising the steps of:

a) removing, from said cigarette butts, the paper enclosing the filter in order to recover only the filters;

b) treating the recovered filters with UV light in order to eliminate possible bacteria and microorganisms present inside the filters;

c) finely dividing the filters in order to obtain a pulverulent solid;

d) treating the filters in pulverulent solid form with an alkaline solution, maintaining everything under stirring;

e) filtering the solution comprising the substances released by the filters in order to separate said solution from the solid phase represented by the powder filters treated according to the preceding step;

f) adding a solvent selective for nicotine to the basic solution extract obtained from the preceding step;

g) inserting said extract with added nicotine-selective solvent inside a phase separation system subjected to mechanical stirring, in order to obtain a uniform dispersion of the organic and aqueous phases at the interior thereof and the subsequent resting of the dispersion in order to obtain a clear separation of the phases;

h) recovery of the organic phase and of the aqueous phase in respective collection containers;

i) treating the previously-recovered aqueous phase with a further addition of the aforesaid nicotine-selective solvent and subsequent separation in order to further recover possible traces of nicotine from the aqueous phase and repeating steps g) and h);

j) inserting the previously-recovered organic phase inside a system for the evaporation of the solvent in order to remove the nicotine- selective solvent, obtaining a nicotine- based oily residue;

k) conveying the recovered solvent inside a condensation system adapted for the recovery thereof in the liquid state and the reuse thereof in subsequent cycles of said process.

2. Process for producing nicotine according to the preceding claim wherein the removal of the paper, enclosing the filters, from the butts occurs manually and wherein the irradiation provided with UV light in step b) of the process occurs by means of the use of a common UV lamp.

3. Process for producing nicotine according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the alkaline solution used in step d) of the process is obtained by using bases such as NaOH or Na2C03 in a concentration that can vary between 4 and 20% by weight.

4. Process for producing nicotine according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the filtration of step e) of the process occurs in a range of times comprised between five and ten minutes;

5. Process for producing nicotine according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the nicotine- selective solvent added in said step f) is ethylic ether, said solvent being added to the extracted alkaline obtained from the preceding step e) by using an ether: H20 ratio that can vary between 1:2 and 1:5 w/w.

6. Process for producing nicotine according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the separation of the organic and aqueous phases, according to step g) of the process, occurs by means of a separator funnel;

7. Process for producing nicotine according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the moving away of the nicotine- selective solvent according to step j) of the process occurs by means of a rotovapor.

8. System for actuating the process according to any one of the preceding claims characterized in that it comprises: at least one apparatus for removing the papers from the filters contained in cigarette butts; at least one UV light source adapted to irradiate, with UV light, the filters previously separated from the papers in order to eliminate possible bacteria and microorganisms; at least one common container made of glass or polyolefin material adapted to receive the filters in pulverulent solid form and an alkaline solution; at least one apparatus for filtration and the recovery of the liquid extract obtained by treating said filters in pulverulent form with said alkaline solution; at least one device for separating the organic phase, comprising the solvent for nicotine and nicotine, from the aqueous phase; containers for the separate collection of the organic phase and aqueous phase; at least one device for moving away, by means of evaporation, the solvent for nicotine in order to obtain a nicotine-based oily residue; at least one condensation system for the recovery of the previously-evaporated solvent in liquid form in order to use said nicotine- selective solvent in subsequent cycles of the process.

9. System according to the preceding claim wherein the UV light source is represented by a common UV lamp; the apparatus for filtration and for the recovery of the liquid extract obtained by treating the filters in pulverulent form with the alkaline solution is represented by a vacuum flask equipped with funnel filter and filter paper and connected to a vacuum pump; the device for separating the organic phase, comprising the solvent for nicotine and nicotine, from the aqueous phase is represented by a common separator funnel; the device for moving away, by means of evaporation, the solvent for nicotine in order to obtain a nicotine-based oily residue is a rotovapor system; and wherein the condensation system for the recovery of the previously-evaporated solvent in liquid form in order to use said nicotine- selective solvent in subsequent cycles of the process is represented by a refrigerated column.

10. Nicotine-based oily residue obtainable with the process according to any one of the claims 1 to 7 and with the system according to any one of the claims 8 and 9, wherein the content of nicotine is comprised between 65% and 85% by weight over the residue.

11. Use of the oily residue according to the preceding claim for obtaining formulations that are anti- addiction with regard to cigarette smoking.

12. Formulation comprising nicotine of the nicotinic oily residue according to the claim 10 characterized in that it is a patch that is anti-addiction with regard to cigarette smoking.

Description:
"Process for producing nicotine from urban waste and relevant implementation system"

Description

Field of the invention

The present description refers to the chemical field. More in detail, the present invention relates to a process for extracting nicotine from cigarette butts, to the system used for implementing said process, as well as to the product obtainable with said process and to its reuse for making patches for reducing cigarette smoking addiction.

Prior art

It has been estimated that there are over a billion smokers in the world and that this number is expected to increase to over one and a half billion by 2025.

Statistical data show that more than 5 trillion butts are released into the world every year. Moreover, these butts are in first place in the top-ten of collected waste, especially in the seas. Such wastes are a source of pollution not only because they include non-degradable material, such as cellulose acetate, but above all because they are the vehicle of highly toxic chemicals present therein (i.e. nicotine, tar, PAH, benzene, polonium-210, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, phenol, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, particulate).

These chemical agents accumulate, in high concentration, inside the filters, dedicated to this action and characterized by a filtering power of about 50%. The lack of containers for their separate collection, especially in places of "transition", such as shops, bars, restaurants and public transport, such as bus stops and metro, as well as the habit of seven out of ten smokers to throw the butts on the ground, involves a high accumulation of this waste and, consequently, substantial costs of removal and disposal, as well as serious environmental implications.

It should also be considered that these wastes contain substances that could represent starting materials that are interesting and useful for making various products or for recovering a "pure" substance to be recycled and for new and advantageous uses of the recovered substance.

Nicotine as such represents, for example, a substance which can be used in the gardening sector as an antiparasitic agent.

To date, different processes are aimed at extracting nicotine.

Document US 1,178,487 describes, for example, improvements to an apparatus to be used primarily for the extraction of nicotine and ammonia from tobacco. Said apparatus operates in such a way that the tobacco is heated by gradually raising the temperature to the desired temperature in combination with a refrigeration and condensation system for recovering the vapors distilled from tobacco. Said apparatus has specific systems for removing said condensing vapors.

Document JPH01196285 describes a method and an apparatus for the semi-continuous extraction of nicotine from tobacco. This document describes more specifically a system of reactors in which tobacco is loaded and subsequently subjected to a supercritical C0 2 stream in order to extract the nicotine which is then conveyed and recovered in a suitable reactor. The object of the present patent application for an industrial invention is to propose a method and a system for recovering, by means of a particular process that includes an extraction step, nicotine from cigarette butts, rather than from tobacco leaves as described in the aforementioned prior art documents, and then reuse it for the manufacture of patches or other formulations adapted to induce the elimination of cigarette smoking addiction of their users.

Description of the invention

The present description relates to a process and a system for the implementation thereof, for the extraction of nicotine from cigarette butts.

The present invention also relates to the possibility of using nicotine for making patches adapted to eliminate cigarette smoke addiction.

Advantageously, said process, using cigarette butts as a source for the recovery of nicotine, allows the at least partial recycling of the waste represented by cigarette butts and contributes to a substantial reduction in pollution due to the conventional disposal of said type of waste and to the harmful substances present therein.

Advantageously, said method allows carrying out a complete extraction of all the nicotine present in cigarette butts, thus favoring its reuse for multiple applications.

Advantageously, the possibility of using the nicotine obtainable with said process for making anti-smoking patches, allows indirectly inducing a massive reduction in the number of smokers and, advantageously, a decrease in the risk of the onset of diseases related to smoking addiction.

More in detail, the present description relates to a process that consists of various steps and in particular in a series of sequential steps which provide for: the treatment of filters coming from cigarette butts with UV light in order to eliminate any microbes and/or bacteria therein; the reduction of said cigarette filters in finely divided powder form; immersing said powder in an alkaline solution; the filtration of said alkaline solution to separate the aqueous liquid extract from the solid represented by the powder filters; the addition of a selective solvent for nicotine, by way of non-limiting example of ethyl ether, to said liquid extract; the insertion of the aqueous solution with the addition of said solvent with a separating funnel and the stirring of the latter in order to obtain a uniform dispersion of the organic and aqueous phases and the resting of said dispersion in order to obtain the separation of the phases; the recovery, in different containers, of the aqueous phase and of the organic phase; the further treatment of the aqueous phase with the selective nicotine solvent in order to obtain maximum recovery of the latter within the organic phase; the treatment of the organic phase recovered with an evaporation apparatus, by way of non-limiting example with a rotovapor, in order to obtain a nicotine-based oily residue; and finally the recovery of the organic solvent, or of the ethyl ether, by means of a recondensation system and to then reuse it in the same steps of successive cycles of the nicotine extraction process.

Detailed description of the invention

A detailed description is given herein of the steps of the nicotine extraction process from cigarette butts subject of the present patent application for industrial invention.

By way of non-limiting example, the description of the laboratory-scale procedure is provided, or using equipment conventionally used in chemical laboratories to implement operations that individually affect the steps of said process.

It is therefore noted that the essence of the invention lies in the peculiar sequentiality of the steps of the process and in the singular precursor used, or cigarette butts, as a source for the final recovery of nicotine.

The subject process therefore lends itself to being implemented on an industrial scale using the appropriate equipment. It is therefore taken for granted that the man skilled in the art understands that the object of the present invention is: a process characterized by a particular sequence of steps which allow recovering nicotine downstream from cigarette butts; a system represented by a series of known equipment for the implementation of the single steps, in which said equipment can diversify according to the scale with which the process is reproduced, that is to say on a laboratory or industrial scale, without departing from the protection required by the present document, the product obtainable with said process, as well as its re-use for making nicotine-based anti-smoking patches. All this in line with what is indicated in the accompanying claims.

As repeatedly repeated in the course of the present description, one of the peculiarities which characterize in the first place the process according to the present invention resides in the precursor of nicotine used, that is, cigarette butts.

More in detail, the process according to the present invention comprises a plurality of sequential steps which provide for:

a) The removal, from said cigarette butts, of the paper wrapping the filter in order to recover the filters; by way of non-limiting example, said removal can be done manually.

b) The treatment of said filters with UV light, using as a non-limiting example a UV lamp, to eliminate any bacteria and micro-organisms present inside the filters;

c) Finely dividing the filters in order to obtain a pulverulent solid; d) The treatment of the powder filters with an alkaline solution obtainable, by way of non-limiting example, using bases such as NaOH or Na 2 C0 3 in a concentration ranging from 4 to 20% w/w, keeping the whole under continuous stirring for a time interval between twenty and sixty minutes in order to promote the passage in solution of the impregnating components of said filter powder;

e) Filtering the alkaline solution comprising the substances released by the filters in order to separate said solution from the solid phase represented by the powder filters treated according to the preceding step. Said filtration step takes place preferably but not exclusively for a time of between five and ten minutes;

f) The addition of a selective nicotine solvent, preferably but not limited to ethyl ether, to the alkaline solution extract obtained from the previous steps using an ethyl ether: H 2 0 ratio ranging between 1:2 and 1:5 v/v;

g) The insertion of said extract with addition of ether inside a phase separation system, preferably but not limited, in a separating funnel subjected to mechanical stirring in order to obtain a uniform dispersion of the organic and aqueous phases therein, and the subsequent resting of said dispersion for a time interval of between five and twenty minutes, typically of ten minutes, in order to obtain a clear separation of the phases inside the funnel. The aqueous phase is placed in the lower portion of the funnel, while the organic phase is placed above;

h) the recovery of the aqueous phase and of the organic phase in different collection containers;

i) Treating the previously-recovered aqueous phase with a further addition of the aforesaid nicotine- selective solvent, and subsequent separation in order to further recover possible traces of nicotine from the aqueous phase and thus repeating steps g) and h);

j) Inserting the previously-recovered organic phase inside a system for the evaporation of the solvent in order to remove the nicotine-selective solvent. Typically, and on a laboratory scale, the removal of the solvent or ethyl ether takes place using a common rotovapor. Said step j) allows obtaining a nicotine-based oily residue;, k) The conveying of the ether solvent recovered inside a condensation system adapted to its recovery in the liquid state to make it then again suitable for use in the same steps f), g), h), i) of successive cycles of the process.

The system which allows the actuation of the process according to the present invention therefore comprises a set of equipment and known devices resulting in a particular combination for the production of nicotine, starting from urban waste represented by cigarette butts.

More specifically, said system for implementing the process according to the present invention comprises: at least one apparatus for removing the papers from the filters contained in cigarette butts; at least one device for irradiating the filters previously separated from the papers with UV light in order to eliminate any bacteria and microorganisms from the filters. Said apparatus can be represented by way of non-limiting example by a common UV lamp; a common container, by way of example of glassy or polyolefin material, adapted to accommodate the filters in powder form and an alkaline solution adapted to bring in solution the components of interest for the continuation of the process; a filtration apparatus for the recovery of the liquid extract. Said apparatus can be represented by way of non- limiting example by a tailed flask provided with a funnel filter and filter paper and connected to a common vacuum pump; a container for the collection of the filtrate and for the addition of the selective organic solvent for nicotine; an apparatus for the separation of the organic phase comprising the solvent for the nicotine and the nicotine from the aqueous solution; said apparatus can be represented by way of non-limiting example by a separating funnel; containers for the separate collection of organic and aqueous phases; an apparatus for evaporating the solvent from the organic phase in order to obtain a nicotine-based oily residue. Said apparatus can be represented by way of non-limiting example by a common rotovapor; a system for the recondensation of the evaporated solvent in order to bring it again to the liquid state and make it available for subsequent uses in further cycles of the process. Said condensation system can be represented by a refrigerated column in which the solvent is conveyed during the evaporation process and from which it escapes in liquid form. The process, and the system for its implementation, are such as to avoid exhalations of nicotine and other highly toxic volatile compounds. The duration of the process, in at least three cycles, is between 210 and 360 minutes allowing three to four extractions per day. The yield of nicotine obtained by carrying out said process can range from 50% to 90% by weight per day. Experimental data obtained on samples represented by the nicotine-based oily extract by GC-MS gas chromatographic analysis show that the process allows obtaining a nicotinic oily extract with a nicotine content of between 65% and 85% by weight. It is also of interest to point out that it is possible to extract nicotine with greater purity by placing a chromatographic column at the exit of the collection container of the nicotinic extract.

As already mentioned, the object of the present invention is also the use of the nicotine obtainable with the subject process for the production of cigarette smoke anti-addiction formulations and said formulations typically represented by nicotine-based patches.