Co-production of hydrogen and carbon nanotubes from real-world waste plastics: Influence of catalyst composition and operational parameters

Dingding Yao, Yeshui Zhang, Paul T. Williams* (Corresponding Author), Haiping Yang* (Corresponding Author), Hanping Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The use of Ni-Fe catalysts for the catalytic pyrolysis of real-world waste plastics to produce hydrogen and high value carbon nanotubes (CNT), and the influence of catalyst composition and support materials has been investigated. Experiments were conducted in a two stage fixed bed reactor, where plastics were pyrolysed in the first stage followed by reaction of the evolved volatiles over the catalyst in the second stage. Different catalyst temperatures (700, 800, 900 °C) and steam to plastic ratios (0, 0.3, 1, 2.6) were explored to optimize the product hydrogen and the yield of carbon nanotubes deposited on the catalyst. The results showed that the growth of carbon nanotubes and hydrogen were highly dependent on the catalyst type and the operational parameters. Fe/γ-Al2O3 produced the highest hydrogen yield (22.9 mmol H2/gplastic) and carbon nanotubes yield (195 mg g−1plastic) among the monometallic catalysts, followed by Fe/α-Al2O3, Ni/γ-Al2O3 and Ni/α-Al2O3. The bimetallic Ni-Fe catalyst showed higher catalytic activity in relation to H2 yield than the monometallic Ni or Fe catalysts because of the optimum interaction between metal and support. Further investigation of the influence of steam input and catalyst temperature on product yields found that the optimum simultaneous production of CNTs (287 mg g−1plastic) and hydrogen production (31.8 mmol H2/gplastic) were obtained at 800 °C in the absence of steam and in the presence of the bimetallic Ni-Fe/γ-Al2O3 catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-597
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Volume221
Early online date17 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Ni-Fe catalyst
  • Waste
  • Plastics
  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon nanotubes

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