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Waste to Wealth

Researchers Turn Plastic Waste into Fuel

| Author / Editor: Ashok Sharma / Dominik Stephan

A smartly tailored de-polymerization process design can ensure 100 per cent conversion of raw plastic into the desired mix of fuels without leaving any scope for secondary pollution. Waste plastic materials, therefore, prove to be a very good source of energy. Hence: Waste to wealth.

The Corona De-Polymerization Model

The Corona De-polymerization model operates in a continuous production mode and is designed to convert five tonnes of plastic waste into fuel, per day. Its modular architecture permits scaling up to multiple production capacities.

The process design is focused at energy efficiency, safety and simplicity of operations. Agglomerated plastic is fed into a reactor, where it is heated to 400–450°C, in the presence of a catalyst. Electronically operated pneumatic gates control the raw material feed rate to match the heating rate available in the reactor. Internally, the reactor is nitrogen purged to ensure an oxygen free environment. Process heat requirement is met by flowing hot air through an external jacket mounted around the reactor, thereby heating the kiln from outside.

A typical output consists of about 70 per cent liquid fuel, 20 per cent coke and 10 per cent petroleum gases on completion of the depolymerisation process
A typical output consists of about 70 per cent liquid fuel, 20 per cent coke and 10 per cent petroleum gases on completion of the depolymerisation process (Picture: Corona Energy)

The rotary reactor design is used to realize higher rates of heat transfer vis-à-vis a static reactor. The material transport rate through the length of the reactor is adjusted to match the process reaction time. On completion of the depolymerization process, most of the desired output comes out in gaseous form. These gases are then passed through a set of condensers to extract the condensable component in liquid form.

Catalysic Reaction is the Key for Waste to Fuel Transition

Liquid fuel is collected in day oil tanks while the noncondensable gases are collected in a specially designed gas balloon. From this balloon, gases are pulled out to feed the burner in the hot air generator, thereby, enhancing the process economy by captive utilization of produced gaseous fuel. Lastly, the process residue in the form of high calorific value coke is extracted out of the reactor on the go while cooling it down before any exposure to oxygen in the air.

A typical output consists of about 70 per cent liquid fuel, 20 per cent coke and 10 per cent petroleum gases. The liquid fuels produced have high energy and low sulfur content, thereby, making them an ideal fuel choice for industrial usage. The fine coke produced is yet another energy rich fuel that can be used both in domestic as well as industrial application.

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