Plastic Pyrolysis over HZSM-5 Zeolite and Fluid Catalytic Cracking Catalyst under Ultra-Fast Heating

Syie Luing Wong, Sabino Armenise, Bemgba Bevan Nyakuma, Anna Bogush, Sam Towers, Chia Hau Lee, Keng Yinn Wong, Ting Hun Lee, Evgeny Rebrov, Marta Muñoz

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21 Citations (Scopus)
123 Downloads (Pure)


Plastic pollution compromises the environment and human well-being, and a global transition to a circular economy of plastics is vital to address this challenge. Pyrolysis is a key technology for the end-of-life recycling of plastics, although high energy consumption limits the economic feasibility of the process. Various research has shown that the application of induction heating in biomass pyrolysis reduces energy consumption when compared to conventional heating. Nevertheless, the potential of induction heating in plastic pyrolysis is rarely explored. This paper presents an exploratory study on the thermal and catalytic pyrolysis of high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, and polypropylene in a fixed bed reactor through induction heating. An MFI-type HZSM-5 zeolite (SiO2/Al2O3 = 23) and an FAU-type spent fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst with distinctive Brønsted acidity and textural properties were used. A complete conversion of the plastic feedstocks was achieved within 10minutes, even without a catalyst. Thermal pyrolysis produced wax (72.4-73.9wt.%) and gas products, indicating a limited degree of polymer cracking. Catalytic pyrolysis over HZSM-5 and FCC catalyst significantly improved polymer cracking, leading to higher gas (up to 75.2wt.%) and liquid product (up to 35.9wt.%) yields at the expense of wax yield (up to 25.4wt.%). In general, the gas products were rich in C3 and C4 compounds. The liquid product composition was highly dependent on the catalyst properties, for example, the HZSM-5 produced high aromatics, while the FCC catalyst produced high alkenes in the liquid products. The catalyst acidity and textural properties played an essential role in plastic pyrolysis within the short reaction time. This study demonstrated the feasibility of a fast, energy-efficient, and versatile plastic valorisation technology based on the application of induction heating, where the plastic feed can be converted into wax, gas, and liquid products depending on the end-use applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105793
Pages (from-to)105793
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


  • Tertiary recycling
  • Alternating magnetic field
  • Process intensification
  • Brønsted acidity
  • HZSM-5
  • Circular economy


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