The key objective of this project is to understand and enhance commercialisation of the conversion of waste plastics (LLDPE, LDPE and HDPE) into high-value wax products through pyrolysis. Targeting:
- Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Polyethylene High-Density (PEHD)
Pyrolysis essentially involves the ‘cracking’ of the high molecular weight polymer chains, which plastic is made up of, into lower molecular weight and shorter polymer chains. Typically it occurs at temperatures between 300 – 500˚C and, depending upon the extent of cracking, gases, liquids or waxy materials can be produced.
In this project, the objective is to convert waste plastic into waxy materials which will be further processed by our collaborating partner, PETRONAS, to produce group III and group III+ base oils, the global demand for which is predicted to grow strongly through the next decade. Through careful optimisation and control of the pyrolysis conditions the extent of cracking will be maximized around C20-C60.
The pyrolysis process can be further controlled to produce high value waxes, for direct application in coatings and packaging i.e. food grade waxes. At present, there are some uncertainties within the process hence, through trials and experiments, GLT will optimise the process for maximum output of group III and group III+ base oils for high economic return for the initial CAPEX. Furthermore, GLT will be investigating how a continuous process can be compatible for the technology against a batch process system.