Co-processing waste plastics and biomass using pyrolysis-plasma/catalysis to produce upgraded bio-oils

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering


Bio-oil produced from the pyrolysis of lignocellulosic waste biomass is chemically complex, with high oxygen content, acidic properties and tendency to polymerise, the bio-oil is also immiscible with crude petroleum oil. The aim of the research is to produce a low oxygen, low viscosity bio-oil from lignocellulosic waste biomass suitable for direct processing in existing petroleum oil refineries.
This project seeks to develop a novel process involving co-pyrolysis of waste biomass and waste plastics to produce a suite of gases and vapours which are then passed directly to a low temperature (< 200 C) non-thermal plasma-catalysis reactor where upgrading of the bio-oil takes place to produce a low oxygen premium grade bio-oil. The role of the waste plastics is to act as hydrogen donors in the bio-oil upgrading process.
The project involves experimental work on a novel two-stage laboratory scale reactor and analysis of the product oils and gases using a range of analytical techniques. Experiments will seek to optimise the plasma-catalytic process conditions to maximise bio-oil deoxygenation with detailed analysis of the product oils and gases. In addition, a key topic of the research is the development of new catalysts that are effective in the plasma-catalytic environment.
The project seeks to develop a new low energy process to produce upgraded bio-oil, thereby benefiting the growing pyrolysis bio-oils industry. Also, providing a novel route to obtain high value products from waste biomass and waste plastics.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517860/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2025
2596485 Studentship EP/T517860/1 30/09/2021 30/03/2025 Maryam Khatibi