Thermal degradation of real-world waste plastics and simulated mixed plastics in a two-stage pyrolysis–catalysis reactor for fuel production


Real-world postconsumer mixed plastics and a simulated mixture of plastics were processed in a two-stage pyrolysis–catalysis fixed bed reactor in the presence of a zeolite HZSM-5 catalyst. In addition, single plastic polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate were also processed in the two-stage reactor. The product yield, composition, and hydrocarbon distribution of the product oil was obtained in relation to plastic type. Noncatalytic pyrolysis of the plastics produced a high yield of an oil/wax product in the 81–97 wt % range. Addition of the catalyst reduced the yield of oil to between 44 and 51 wt %, with an increase in gas yield from cracking of the oil volatiles. However, the condensed oils produced from pyrolysis–catalysis were enriched with lower molecular weight (C5–C15) hydrocarbons and were markedly more aromatic in composition with a high proportion of single-ring aromatic hydrocarbons. Comparison of the results from pyrolysis and pyrolysis–catalysis of the simulated mixture of plastics with the data obtained for the individual plastics showed that significant interaction between the plastics occurred in the mixture with higher C2–C4 gas yield and higher aromatic content in the oils than expected from the proportions of the individual plastics in the mixture.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences
Engineering & Applied Sciences > European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI)
Additional Information: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Energy and Fuels, © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see
Full Text Link: http://eprints. ...
Related URLs: ... .1021/ef502749h (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-03-16
Authors: Muhammad, Chika
Onwudili, Jude ( 0000-0002-5355-9970)
Williams, Paul T.

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