Exploring the potential of clay catalysts in catalytic pyrolysis of mixed plastic waste for fuel and energy recovery

Wenfei Cai, Reeti Kumar, Yixian Zheng, Zhi Zhu, Jonathan W.C. Wong*, Jun Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Developing low-cost and high-activity catalysts is one of the keys to promoting the catalytic pyrolysis of waste plastics to fuels for plastic recycling. This work studied the effect of clay as the catalyst on mixed plastic pyrolysis for fuel and energy recovery. Four kinds of clay, including nanoclay, montmorillonite, kaolin, and hydrotalcite, were used as catalysts for the pyrolysis of mixed plastic consisted of polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, polypropylene, low-density polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene. The product yield and distribution varied with different clay in pyrolysis. The highest yield of oil was 71.0 % when using montmorillonite as the catalyst. While the highest contents of gasoline range hydrocarbons and diesel range hydrocarbons in the oil were achieved when using kaolin and nanoclay, respectively as catalysts. For the gas products, the CO, C2H4, C2H6, C3H6, and C4H10 increased with decreased CO2 in the gaseous products when using clay as catalysts. In general, the mild acidity of clay catalyst was essential to improve the oil yields and the proportion of the gasoline or diesel range fuels in the catalytic pyrolysis of mixed plastic waste.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23140
Number of pages12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General

User-Defined Keywords

  • Clay catalysts
  • Fast pyrolysis
  • Liquid fuel
  • Mixed plastic waste


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