Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Chemical and Paper Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Andro H. Mondala

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew A. Kline

Third Advisor

Dr. James Springstead

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Limited space and high costs for landfilling as well as increasing regulations in plastic waste disposal, has led to high operating costs for organizations involved in managing plastic waste from medical facilities which led to the need to investigate an alternative option such as pyrolysis. The overall goal of this study was to evaluate pyrolysis as a means to repurpose plastic waste obtained from medical service facilities into fuel and fuel additive compounds, with two objectives involving, (1) to examine the effect of heat input (as voltage) and reaction/residence time; and (2) to evaluate the effect of the plastic waste feed type on liquid pyrolysis product yield and chemical composition.

Results showed an increase in liquid product yield as the voltage increased with peak value at 80V, residence time effect was however minimal. The composition of the liquid product was however not substantially affected by both voltage and residence time. Mixing of the plastic waste showed a reduction in liquid product yield and also affected its composition. Products from the pyrolysis process had potential for application as fuel or fuel additives or precursor for other compounds of known industrial/commercial value as fuel additives, solvents, and raw material chemicals. Catalytic cracking of the volatilized pyrolysis liquid products from PP on Si/Al-type catalyst beds generated products with high potential fuel additives or chemical precursors properties. This outcome can potentially contribute to decision-making by the project sponsors in pursuing “green” alternative plastic waste management strategies.

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