Thermochemical conversion of plastic waste to fuels: a review

Catégorie : Valorisation Energétique
Date :21 octobre 2020
Nanda, Sonil; Berruti, Franco.
Environmental Chemistry Letters
Plastics are common in our daily lifestyle, notably in the packaging of goods to reducing volume, enhancing transportation efficiency, keeping food fresh and preventing spoilage, manufacturing healthcare products, preserving drugs and insulating electrical components. Nonetheless, massive amounts of non-biodegradable plastic wastes are generated and end up in the environment, notably as microplastics. The worldwide industrial production of plastics has increased by nearly 80% since 2002. Based on the degree of recyclability, plastics are classified into seven major groups: polyethylene terephthalate, high-density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and miscellaneous plastics. Recycling technologies can reduce the accumulation of plastic wastes, yet they also pollute the environment, consume energy, labor and capital cost. Here we review waste-to-energy technologies such as pyrolysis, liquefaction and gasification for transforming plastics into clean fuels and chemicals. We focus on thermochemical conversion technologies for the valorization of waste plastics. This technology reduces the diversion of plastics to landfills and oceans, reduces carbon footprints, and has high conversion efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Depending on the conversion method, plastics can be selectively converted either to bio-oil, bio-crude oil, synthesis gas, hydrogen or aromatic char. We discuss the influence of process parameters such as temperature, heating rate, feedstock concentration, reaction time, reactor type and catalysts. Reaction mechanisms, efficiency, merits and demerits of biological and thermochemical plastic conversion processes are also discussed.