Development of pyrolytic oil from waste plastics
Ssuubi, Henry Kiyimba
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The biggest percentage of modern plastics are petroleum-based, manufactured out of fossil-based chemicals, the increasing world population and consumption have led to the widespread use of plastics mainly in the packaging industry, construction, electronics, households, and other applications due to the ease of manufacturing, durability, lightweight, corrosion resistance and flexibility. However, the excessive use of disposable plastic products, together with their non-degradability has led to widespread environmental issues due to the low rates of recycling and the non-biodegradability of these plastics. This research study focused on the development of pyrolytic oil out of single-use waste plastics of Coca-Cola via the process of fast pyrolysis in which temperature, heating rate, and holding time were varied to determine the optimal conditions to maximize the output and the quality of the liquid oil from the pyrolysis reaction. The pyrolysis parameters were temperature (400–600 °C), heating rate (20 -50 °C /min), and holding time (90-120 minutes). The experiments were carried out using an Electric Horizontal Heating Furnace (Carbolite Gero, HTRH 100-300/18) which was utilized for heating and controlling all the experimental parameters that were used in this study in which a batch reactor containing 90 grams of plastic wastes (HDPE) and 10grams of natural Zeolite as a catalyst was inserted in the furnace. Nitrogen was used to provide an Oxygen–free environment for pyrolysis and the pyrolytic oil produced using the optimal conditions was further characterized for proximate compositions, Heating Values, Fire, and Flashpoints. The optimum pyrolysis conditions that gave the highest yield of pyrolytic oil were found to be temperature (600 °C), heating rate (20°C/min), and holding time (120 minutes) with a HHV of 42.222MJ/Kg, moisture content of 1.15%, volatile matter of 99.85% with the flash and fire point values of 108oC and 120oC respectively and the FTIR analysis demonstrated that the surface functional groups of the pyrolytic oil indicated the presence of phenols, alkenes, ketones, aromatics, esters and alkenes common in fossil fuels.