Converting polycarbonate and polystyrene plastic wastes intoaromatic hydrocarbons via catalytic fast co-pyrolysis

Jia Wang, Jianchun Jiang, Xiaobo Wang, Ruizhen Wang, Kui Wang, Shusheng Pang, Zhaoping Zhong, Yunjuan Sun, Roger Ruan, Arthur J. Ragauskas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Thermochemical conversion of plastic wastes is a promising approach to produce alternative energy-based fuels. Herein, we conducted catalytic fast co-pyrolysis of polycarbonate (PC) and polystyrene (PS) to generate aromatic hydrocarbons using HZSM-5 (Zeolite Socony Mobil-5, hydrogen, Aluminosilicate) as a catalyst. The results indicated that employing HZSM-5 in the catalytic conversion of PC facilitated the synthesis of aromatic hydrocarbons in comparison to the non-catalytic run. A competitive reaction between aromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic oxygenates was observed within the studied temperature region, and catalytic degradation temperature of 700 °C maximized the competing reaction towards the formation of targeted aromatic hydrocarbons at the expense of phenolic products. Catalyst type also played a vital role in the catalytic decomposition of PC wastes, and HZSM-5 with different Si/Al molar ratios produced more aromatic hydrocarbons than HY (Zeolite Y, hydrogen, Faujasite). Regarding the effect of Si/Al molar ration in HZSM-5 on the distribution of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (MAHs), a Si/Al molar ratio of 38 maximized benzene formation with an advanced factor of 5.1. Catalytic fast co-pyrolysis of PC with hydrogen-rich plastic wastes including polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polystyrene (PS) favored the production of MAHs, and PS was the most effective hydrogen donor with a ∼2.5-fold increase. The additive effect of MAHs increased at first and then decreased when the PC percentage was elevated from 30 % to 90 %, achieving the maximum value of 32.4 % at 70 % PC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121970
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Bisphenol A polycarbonate
  • Catalytic thermochemical conversion
  • HZSM-5
  • Monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Plastic polymers

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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