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Contaminant removal from plastic waste pyrolysis oil via depth filtration and the impact on chemical recycling : a simple solution with significant impact

  • Kusenberg, Marvin
  • Roosen, Martijn
  • Doktor, Astrid
  • Casado, Leonor
  • Jamil Abdulrahman, Anas
  • Parvizi, Behzad
  • Eschenbacher, Andreas
  • Biadi, Emmanuelle
  • Laudou, Nicolas
  • Jänsch, Daniel
  • De Meester, Steven
  • Van Geem, Kevin
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Recycling of mixed plastic waste via pyrolysis and subsequent steam cracking towards light olefins is a promising solution for the ever-growing plastic waste crisis. However, the pyrolytic recycling pathway is still not established on industrial scale due to the large variety of pyrolysis oil contaminants that hamper the application in (petro-)chemical processes. In short, plastic waste pyrolysis oils are unfeasible for steam crackers without upgrading. In this work, depth filtration for the removal of particulate contamination from a post-consumer mixed polyolefin (MPO) pyrolysis oil was performed using three different filter media with different porosity. Comprehensive analyses using SEM-EDX of the retained particles as well as ICP-OES and GC × GC-FID of the filtered oils allowed to understand the efficacy of filtration. Most of the particulate contamination was removed by filtration leading to a reduction from 69 mg/L in the unfiltered sample to < 2 mg/L in the filtered samples. Particle characterization confirmed that the main contamination is composed of iron, calcium and silicon-based contaminants in combination with carbon-based species. It was confirmed by ICP-OES that after filtration, important contaminants such as nickel, vanadium and lead were reduced below contamination thresholds for steam crackers indicating that filtration is an efficient, and potentially cost-effective upgrading technique for pyrolysis oils. When steam cracking the filtered oils, results show that radiant coil coke formation was reduced by 40–60% compared to the unfiltered oil without changes in product selectivity, confirming the strong impact of particulate contamination on coke formation during steam cracking.

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