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Conversion of mixed plastic wastes in a dual fluidized bed steam gasifier

Published 2013

Citation: Wilk V, Hofbauer H. Conversion of mixed plastic wastes in a dual fluidized bed steam gasifier. Fuel. 2013;107:787-99.


Steam gasification of plastic materials was studied in a dual fluidized bed gasification pilot plant (DFB). Several types of plastics, which are available in large amounts in waste streams, were investigated: PE, PP, and mixtures of PE + PS, PE + PET and PE + PP. It was found that the product gas from PE was rich in CH4 and C2H4 and had a LCV of 25 MJ/N m 3. About 22% of PE was converted to the monomer C2H4. Different mixtures of PE with other polymers showed, that the concentrations of CH4 and C2H4 increased with an increasing proportion of PE and that they were the main decomposition products of PE. The product gas from pure PP contained more CH4 and less C2H4 compared to the product gas from PE. The polymer mixtures behaved differently from the pure substances. Significantly more H2 and CO were generated from PE + PP and PE + PS. It can be assumed that the decomposition products of the two polymers in the mixture interacted strongly and alternately influenced the gasification process. More water was converted, so the gas production increased. The reforming reactions were enhanced and yielded H2 and CO at the expense of CH4 and C2H4. The mixture of PE + PET differed from the other polymers because of the high oxygen content of PET. Thus, 28% of CO were measured in the product gas. By contrast, CO2 was in the range of 8%, when oxygen-free polymers were gasified and CO2 was only produced from reactions with steam. Gasification of polymers resulted in significantly high tar loads in the product gas in the range of 100 g/N m 3. The GCMS analysis of tars showed that tars from polymers mainly consisted of PAH and aro-matics. Naphthalene was the most important tar compound. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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