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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317535

Title: Plastics to fuel: A review

item KUNWAR, BIDHYA - University Of Illinois
item Cheng, Huai
item CHANDRASHEKARAN, SRIRAM - University Of Illinois
item SHARMA, BRAJENDRA - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/6/2015
Publication Date: 11/20/2015
Citation: Kunwar, B., Cheng, H.N., Chandrashekaran, S.R., Sharma, B.K. 2015. Plastics to fuel: A review. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. 54:421-428.

Interpretive Summary: Two of the current world issues are the limited sources of energy and the needs for disposal of wastes from plastics. Both needs can be satisfied by converting plastics wastes to fuel. This is an area of ongoing research activities, and many papers have been published. This paper provides an up-to-date review of the technologies associated with this field, including examples of the major processes. Hopefully the information will be useful as an update to people who are active in the field as well as an introduction to new-comers.

Technical Abstract: This paper reviews recent developments in catalytic and non-catalytic degradation of waste plastics into fuels. Thermal degradation decomposes plastic into three fractions: gas, crude oil, and solid residue. Crude oil from non-catalytic pyrolysis is usually composed of higher boiling point hydrocarbons. The optimization of conversion parameters such as the choice of catalyst, reactor design, pyrolysis temperature, and plastic-to-catalyst ratio plays a very important role in the efficient generation of gasoline and diesel grade fuel. The use of a catalyst for thermal conversion lowers the energy required for conversion, and the catalyst choice is important for efficient fuel production. The suitable selection of catalysts can increase yield of crude oil with lower hydrocarbon content. Co-pyrolysis of plastics with coal or shale oil improves crude oil quality by decreasing its viscosity. A large number of publications have appeared on various processes, and continued improvements and/or innovations are expected in the future.