The exponential growth of waste plastic accumulation has had an irreversible and lasting impact on the world. An imminent threat to marine and terrestrial ecosystems of massive proportions, plastic waste accumulation is a global problem that will not only have to be tackled by current generations but for many generations to follow. The scale of current recycling technologies and efforts to reduce consumption by for-profit and non-profit institutions, governments, and consumers will need to be rapidly increased to combat the negative impacts plastic waste has had on the planet since its conception. This is especially the case in areas with limited infrastructure to properly collect, manage, and dispose of plastic waste. Solutions to plastic waste accumulation crisis that are appropriate for the developing world are urgently needed. Conversion of plastic waste to liquid fuel by slow pyrolysis is a technology that is particularly suitable for developing countries due to its ability to convert polyolefin waste plastic into a useful product, thus preventing its eventual accumulation in the ecosystem. However, in developing countries, conversion techniques that do not rely on sophisticated technologies are needed. Since processing time and operating temperature are the simplest variables to control, an analytical study has been conducted to assess how the molecular composition of plastic derived fuel oil (PDFO) is impacted by these parameters. The results of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) studies of PDFO from high-and low-density polyethylene plastic waste produced using appropriate technology techniques are presented alongside a comparison with traditional diesel fuel and kerosene. This approach is novel in that it differs from previously conducted research, which has studied the use of catalysts, additives, or single operating temperatures to assess the composition of PDFO. Therefore, this research contribution presents a simplistic and inexpensive approach for tuning PDFO composition in appropriate technology settings.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The contribution of the University Appropriate Technology Research Team; Murray State University, Department of Chemistry and the Polymer and Materials Science Laboratory; and the individuals, Emily Garner, Reem Turkmani, Matthew Gilbert, Hemisha Joshi, and Ankit Jangid are gratefully acknowledged.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- effect of temperature on plastic decomposition
- gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GC-MS)
- slow-pyrolysis of plastic
- thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science (all)
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law