Project thumbnail image
College of Engineering Unit: 
Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering
Project Team Member(s): 
Madeline Pasche, Kayla Carlson, Brisa Sabel, Alex Zhen, Annika Czeck, Animesh Patel, Tiffany Trinh, Mitchell Willhite and Hayden Wierman
Physical Location at Expo: 
Community Plaza
Project ID: 
Project Description: 

The objective of the Plastics to Fuel project is to use pyrolysis to mitigate the burden of plastics pollution in rural and island areas. In 2018, only 8-10% of post-consumer plastic waste was recycled. By utilizing pyrolysis, a variety of commodity plastics can be converted into a usable diesel like fuel. Before plastics can be put into the reactor, the plastics are characterized for plastic types and any potential fillers using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Modifications of catalysts and the reactor bed have recently resulted in product yields of 80-90%. The quality of product is verified using Gas chromatography and compared to commercial and farming diesel standards. Plastics that have been run include PE, PP& PS pellets alone and in mixtures to simulate a mixed plastic waste stream; recycled agricultural PE pots; ocean recovered PE fishing nets; and red bag waste intact needles and syringes. All produced useable diesel product.

Learn the process of how we convert plastics (in this case marine ropes) into diesel fuel in our 1kg reactor.

Project Communication Piece(s): 
PDF icon PTF Applications and Analysis1.59 MB