Team Technocrats: Pyrolysis reactor that converts plastic waste to petroleum


If there is one type of municipal solid waste that has become ubiquitous in India and most developing countries, and largely seen along the shores and waterways of many developed countries, it is plastic waste. Much of it is not recycled, and ends up in landfills or as litter on land, in waterways and the ocean. For thefirst time, researchers have estimated the amount of plastic that makes its way into the oceans. As the rate of consumption of plastic materials in the world is greatly expanded, more waste plastics are generated. In recent years, their generation amount in India becomes about forty million tons per year, according to data from the National Institute of Environmental Research. The disposal of waste plastic is mostly achieved by conventional ways such as landfill or incineration. However, these methods have a problem of a social resistance due to the air pollution, soil contamination, and the economical resistance caused by an increase of a space and a disposal cost. Thus, the recycling of plastic wastes as a cheap source of raw materials has become a predominant subject over all countries. The development of technologies acceptable from the environmental and economical fields is one of the most important key factors that inspired our project.


Generally, the recycling methods are classified as the material recycling and chemical  recycling. The former is one of the most conventional methods but is limited by difficulties in maintaining the high quality and adequate price of final products, in particular, for the mixture of plastic waste. Thus, application of other procedures such as chemical recycling and energy recovery is required.
The chemical recycling, referred to as an advanced recycling technology, is included in a tertiary recycling. The process is converted from plastic wastes into smaller molecules corresponding to chemical intermediates through the use of heat and chemical treatment, such as liquids, gases and waxes. These chemical intermediates can be used as the fuel oil and feed stocks of petrochemicals processes, etc. The chemical recycling is described by the routes as follows:
The chemical recycling can be mainly explained by the chemical recovery systems, which are classified as a heterogeneous and a homogeneous process. The Pyrolysis methods as homogeneous process utilize chemical agents as catalysts for depolymerization of polymers to obtain the products with low molecular weight. Pyrolysis includes the processes such as glycolysis, hydrolysis, methanolysis and alcoholysis. On the other hand, heterogeneous processes are greatly described by gasification and pyrolysis. Gasification as partial oxidation (using oxygen or steam) can generate a mixture of hydrocarbons and synthesis gas (CO and H2), which are dependent on the type of polymer, biomass, coal and co-mixture, and on quantity of and quality of resulting product.


How it will be done?
There are three parts of the experimental setup
1. Electric Furnace
2. Pyrolysis (Reactor )
3. Condenser, distillation column   (Waste heat recovery boiler)

The basic reaction will be incomplete combustion of polymers which will give lower hydrocarbons.
The products will be between C4-C10.
Reaction will take place at 600 degree Celsius and the catalyst zeolite will be used and the fumes will then be condensed and using Waste heat recovery system waste heat will be recovered.

This Community Development Project will be then presented in various National and international competitions.
Sponsors play an important role in construction of the experimental setup.

Pyrolysis team :
PH : Sayed Shoeb
PC: Yash Shah
Chaitanya Khalap
Uvaiz Qureshi

Prof. Pravin Tadkar
Prof. Raj S. Raut
AISSMS Department of Chemical Engineering

Key terms : Pyrolysis , zeolite
PH : Project Head
PC : Project Coordinator