Catalytic Pyrolysis of Polyolefins
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Due to the migration of scientists towards green chemistry, landfilling and incineration will no longer be acceptable options for plastics waste disposal in the future. Consequently new methods for recycling plastics and plastic products such as carpets are being researched. This study serves as a preliminary effort to study the catalytic feedstock recycling of polyolefins, specifically PP and PE, as source for gasoline range fuels, as well as an alternative for plastic waste disposal. Several studies have been conducted on the pyrolysis of waste polyolefins using commercial cracking catalysts (FCC), however, the effect of catalyst size and mode of catalyst dispersion have been studied sparsely. This thesis proposes to study these effects in the catalytic pyrolysis of polypropylene (PP), a component of carpets, using both fresh and used FCC catalysts. The same study will be applied to polyethylene (PE), which accounts for an enormous amount of municipal solid waste in the US today. Furthermore, the catalytic impact of calcium carbonate, a filler component of tufted carpet, will be investigated. Using thermogravimetric analysis, the global kinetics of the PP pyrolysis using various FCC catalysts will be derived and applied in the modeling of the pyrolysis reaction in a twin screw extruder. Furthermore, an economic analysis on the catalytic pyrolysis of PP is presented.