Qualitative and energy recovery potential analysis: plastic-derived fuel oil versus conventional diesel oil

Ronald Kizza, Noble Banadda, Jeffrey Seay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Due to depleting fossil fuel sources, plastic-derived fuel oil (PDFO) has received much attention over the past decade as an alternative to conventional diesel oil. Although several researchers have reported the properties of PDFO and recommended its usage in diesel engines, no study has thoroughly compared it with conventional diesel oil. This study aims at comparing PDFO produced from pyrolysis of waste plastic (LDPE, HDPE, PS, and PP) with conventional diesel oil based on a number of quality parameters and energy recovery potential. The quality parameters of color and appearance, water content, density, viscosity, volatility, copper strip corrosion, flash point, pour point, and energy content, as well as the cetane index of the fuels, were assessed following ASTM standards. The obtained results indicated no significant difference between the water contents and densities of the fuel oils. Pensky–Martens Closed Cup (PMCC) flash point for PDFO was significantly lower than that of conventional diesel oil. Although the pour points and viscosities of PDFO were significantly different from conventional diesel oil, the values were within the recommended range. All the PDFO types had higher volatilities than conventional diesel oil in the lighter section of the distillation curve, whereas no significant difference was detected in the heavier section. On the ASTM corrosion chart, conventional diesel oil belongs to class 1a, whereas all the PDFO types belong to class 2a. Energy recovery calculations revealed that PDFO has the potential to produce energy equivalent to 203,000 barrels of oil. It can be concluded that although PDFO has undesirable high volatility in the lighter section of the distillation curve and relatively low flash point, it compares relatively well with conventional diesel oil and thus is a potential substitute. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-800
Number of pages12
JournalClean Technologies and Environmental Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the University of Kentucky Appropriate Technology and Sustainability (UKATS) Research Group and Makerere University Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature.


  • Conventional diesel oil
  • Energy recovery potential
  • Plastic-derived fuel oil
  • Pyrolysis
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Waste plastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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