Dominican University of California
 

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Presentation or Panel Title

Fuel From Waste Plastic

Location

Guzman Lecture Hall

Start Date

4-15-2016 2:30 PM

End Date

4-15-2016 3:30 PM

Department

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor

Kenneth Frost, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

The growing economical conflict of undegradable plastic material has escalated to the point where a mass as large as Texas is floating in the ocean. Because plastic does not break down easily, it causes health hazards to aquatic animals, terrestrial animals, and the Earth itself. In search of a solution to utilize these large masses of plastic, inspiration was drawn from Syrian refugees that were apparently able to convert plastic in cooking fuel using simple techniques and little equipment.

This research focuses on the degradation of polyethylene bags in order to create combustible fuel. This research draws from previous works published by H. Bockhorn, A. Hornung, U. Hornung, and D. Schawaller, which focuses primarily on the thermal deconstruction of polyethylene and polypropylene. In the attempt to create fuel, the plastic bags underwent treatments, such as liquid extraction, steam distillation, pyrolysis, and soxhlet extraction. A variation of steam distillation using a Ziegler-Natta catalyst was also done in order to increase the output of steam distillation, but with little success. Because there was little yield found with liquid distillation, steam distillation and soxhlet extraction, pyrolysis was then performed. After each experiment, whatever product that was formed was put into an infrared spectrometer in order to check for the presence of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are the main chemical compounds found in fuel. After completion of each experiment, it was found that pyrolysis had the largest yield with a strong presence of hydrocarbons. Steam distillation also resulted in a large hydrocarbon appearance, but with very little yield. Liquid extraction and soxhlet extraction, on the other hand, had very little to almost no visible signs of hydrocarbons as well as its yield. Various additional pyrolytic techniques may hold some promise.

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Apr 15th, 2:30 PM Apr 15th, 3:30 PM

Fuel From Waste Plastic

Guzman Lecture Hall

The growing economical conflict of undegradable plastic material has escalated to the point where a mass as large as Texas is floating in the ocean. Because plastic does not break down easily, it causes health hazards to aquatic animals, terrestrial animals, and the Earth itself. In search of a solution to utilize these large masses of plastic, inspiration was drawn from Syrian refugees that were apparently able to convert plastic in cooking fuel using simple techniques and little equipment.

This research focuses on the degradation of polyethylene bags in order to create combustible fuel. This research draws from previous works published by H. Bockhorn, A. Hornung, U. Hornung, and D. Schawaller, which focuses primarily on the thermal deconstruction of polyethylene and polypropylene. In the attempt to create fuel, the plastic bags underwent treatments, such as liquid extraction, steam distillation, pyrolysis, and soxhlet extraction. A variation of steam distillation using a Ziegler-Natta catalyst was also done in order to increase the output of steam distillation, but with little success. Because there was little yield found with liquid distillation, steam distillation and soxhlet extraction, pyrolysis was then performed. After each experiment, whatever product that was formed was put into an infrared spectrometer in order to check for the presence of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are the main chemical compounds found in fuel. After completion of each experiment, it was found that pyrolysis had the largest yield with a strong presence of hydrocarbons. Steam distillation also resulted in a large hydrocarbon appearance, but with very little yield. Liquid extraction and soxhlet extraction, on the other hand, had very little to almost no visible signs of hydrocarbons as well as its yield. Various additional pyrolytic techniques may hold some promise.