(629c) Gasification of Waste Plastic to Enable a Circular Economy | AIChE

(629c) Gasification of Waste Plastic to Enable a Circular Economy


Means, N. C., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Shi, F., University of Pittsburgh
Lekse, J., US DOE, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Gray, M. L., U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Plastic waste in the landfills/natural environment causes serious environmental problems and sustainability issue due to the loss of valuable and natural resources. In addition, disposal and transportation costs of the waste will increase as landfill space becomes scarce. The plastic waste is becoming a global concern and must be urgently addressed as plastic production is dramatically increased. Gasification of the waste plastic has recently gained attention mainly due to its flexibility. It generates syngas that can be used to produce energy, energy carriers (such as H2) and chemicals (fuels, methanol etc.). In this study, the impact of plastic waste properties and operation conditions on gasification are investigated. The gasification of the plastic waste was performed in a drop tube reactor-QMS (quadrupole mass spectrometer)-cold tar trap system. Product gas yields, syngas conversion and syngas composition were evaluated for various plastic species at different temperatures, reaction times, and plastic/H2O feed ratios. Experimental results showed significant differences between gasification products from various plastics. H2 yield was elevated from gasification of low-density polyethylene and polypropylene. All these tests show a great potential of enhanced H2/syngas production from waste plastic/landfill wastes.