Inderscience Publishers

Thermo-catalytic degradation of low density polyethylene to liquid fuel over kaolin catalyst

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Waste low-density polyethylene samples were subjected to thermo-catalytic degradation using kaolin as catalyst in a batch reactor at temperature range of 400 to 500°C and atmospheric pressure. The quality and yield of the condensable product has been studied as a function of temperature and amount of catalyst. Both in thermal and catalytic degradation, the condensable fraction was less viscous liquid oil at low temperatures (up to 450°C), whereas with increase of temperature (from 475°C) the fraction became viscous and waxy. The recovery of condensable fraction increased from 30.8 wt.% at 400°C to 71.45% at 450°C and further increased to a maximum of 86.65wt.% at 500°C in absence of catalyst. The catalyst increased the yield of the condensable product and decreased the reaction time. The highest yield of liquid fraction at 450°C was 79.5 wt.% with 1:2 catalyst to plastics ratio. The composition of the oil obtained at optimum reaction condition was characterised by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (and found consisting of paraffins and olefins with mainly C
10
–C
16
components. Fuel properties of the oil obtained by different standard methods are similar to petrochemical fuels.

Keywords: low-density polyethylene, thermo-catalytic degradation, kaolin catalyst, batch reactor, petrochemical fuels

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