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Diversion of Non-Recyclable Plastic using Pyrolysis Process to Produce Fuels for Campus (In Progress)

Description

According to a 2012 EPA report, 251 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in the US and the University generates about twelve tons of trash per day. After MSW recovery through recycling and composting, plastic was the 2nd largest component (18%) behind food waste (21%) of the 164 million tons discarded in 2012. This means that huge quantities of plastics end up in landfills (29 million tons). Translating these numbers to UIUC campus MSW would mean that we are sending 1.39 tons of plastic in trash to landfill daily.

Therefore, the focus of this proposal is to demonstrate the continuous conversion of this non-recyclable plastic waste stream on campus for distributed production of most desirable fuels that can be used on campus. We plan to introduce this technology to students and involve them in conducting detailed process characterization with the aim of improving process yields and product quality. Through this project, we hope to:

  • Install a continuous catalytic pilot scale system to process 200 lbs./day of waste plastic.
  • Identify the parameters of the continuous pilot scale catalytic pyrolysis process for producing high yields of one fuel out of gasoline, diesel, and NC gases.
  • Study catalyst life on continuous operation.
  • Study the impact of non-recyclable plastic quality and composition on yield and quality of fuels.
  • Evaluate and compare various fuels thus produced with petroleum fuels and demonstrate their potential as blend component in petroleum fuels.
  • Generate mass/energy balance data.

Project Team

  • Project Leader:

    Sriraam Chandrasekaran

    Prior Contacts:

    • BK Sharma

Dates

  • Started December 21, 2019
    Started by Sriraam Chandrasekaran

Themes

Project Location(s)

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