Economic Analysis of Fuel Oil Production from Pyrolysis of Waste Plastic

Special Article - Pesticides

Austin Environ Sci. 2021; 6(1): 1053.

Economic Analysis of Fuel Oil Production from Pyrolysis of Waste Plastic

Kinza Hamid*, Rabia Sabir, Khawar Hameed, Ammara Waheed and Muhammad Usama Ansari

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Wah, Pakistan

*Corresponding author: Kinza Hamid, Department of Chemical Engineering, Wah Engineering College, University of Wah, Quaid Aveneue, Wah Cantt, Taxila, 47040, Pakistan

Received: February 08, 2021; Accepted: March 03, 2021; Published: March 10, 2021


The Global plastic production has reached up to 300 million tons in 2015, and waste management has become a serious issue especially in middle and low income countries such as Pakistan. Pakistan, which is producing 1.32 million ton/year of plastic waste, is also facing the issue of environmental pollution as well as unadequate waste dumping ability due to surge in urban population. Among various waste management techniques, pyrolysis has been receiving attention because it offers solution to two most critical problems, energy shortage and environmental pollution. The main purpose of this paper is to produce fuel oil by waste plastic through the pyrolysis process and its cost estimation. Waste plastic decomposes in a various fraction of hydrocarbons catalytically at 400oC. These hydrocarbons are separated through distillation columns and phase separators as light and heavy fuel oil and wax. The economic analysis shows that the estimated total capital investment required for a pyrolysis plant is $0.2 million, the estimated total production cost of pyrolysis plant is $1.6 million/year. The results shows that pyrolysis of waste plastic to produce fuel oil can be the viable solution to meet Pakistan’s energy demand as well as to solve waste dumping issue.

Keywords: Pyrolysis; Plastic waste; Environmental impact; Fuel oils; Cost analysis; Polyethylene


The word plastic is derived from the Greek word “plasticos” which means it can be mold and re-shaped by heating. It consists of long-chain polymers, petroleum, natural gas, and coal are by-products. Plastic plays a very important role in our society because it is versatile and cheap. That’s why global production increases by 5% every year. As the production of plastic increases, a large amount of plastic waste is also produced which causes very serious environmental problems. Plastic is non-biodegradable, it consists of lethal additives; it took 500 years to decompose [1]. There is no proper way to dispose of plastic waste. A large part of the plastic waste is dumped into landfills due to this underground water is polluted and causes many diseases, due to legislative pressure disposing the plastic waste to landfills become unacceptable (disposal of waste to plastic reduced by 35% over the time of 1995 to 2020). On the other hand, some of the plastic waste is incinerated due to which very toxic gasses emit in the environment, which causes the greenhouse effect [2]. Some of the plastic waste is dumped into oceans and causes problems for marine life. According to the report of the UN, if the production rate of plastic waste will remain the same till 2050 then the ocean will accumulate more plastic waste then fishes [3]. Global plastic production reached up to 300 million tones [4,5]. From 1950 to 2015, 6300 million tons of plastic were produced out of which 79% was dumped into landfills, 12% was incinerated, and 9% was recycled. [6]. 60 million tons of plastic produce by China that makes China the largest producer of plastic [7]. Production of plastic increases 5 million tons per year in the UK [8]. Pakistan is also suffering from plastic waste pollution, produces 1.32 million tons/year of plastic waste [9].

Therefore, there is a need to find out an effective way to handle the plastic waste. In this view, recycling of plastic waste is the best way. Recycling is of two types, mechanical or chemical. Mechanical recycling is the conversion of plastic into different products without changing the chemical structure of the plastic [10]. While Pyrolysis is chemical recycling. In pyrolysis, plastic decomposes into a light and heavy hydrocarbons (fuel oil) and in non-condensable gases at 300-900 oC in absence of oxygen [11]. There are two types of pyrolysis, thermal pyrolysis, and catalytic pyrolysis. Thermal Pyrolysis occurs at high temperatures and requires high energy. As there is no catalyst involve in thermal pyrolysis production of low molecular weight hydrocarbon is high and the product from has a low quality which makes the process unfeasible [12]. Catalytic pyrolysis occurs at low temperatures and required less energy which makes this process cost-effective. Catalyst plays a very important role in increasing the efficiency of pyrolysis. The catalyst that most widely sued catalyst is ZSM-5. Zeolite, Y-Zeolite, Ti-Al-Beta, FCC, and MCM-41 [13].

The energy demand of the World is primarily met by fossil fuel. Estimated global energy production with respect to available resources shown in (Figure 1). For the economic growth of the world, the conventional method is method are important but these methods affect the environment negatively. For the production of electricity Coal, Oil, Natural gas considered important fuel. The average need for oil increases by 35% by the year 2050 with a 1.2% increase in the average growth rate. Pakistan also facing a serious energy crisis, which creates, huddles in the progress and development of the country. Industries of Pakistan are in loss due to a shortage of electricity. Pakistan imports 12 million tons of coal and 135 million bbl of crude oil every year to meet the energy demand of the country. To run continuously all sectors of Pakistan like domestic, industrial, transport, and power generation demand energy. Pakistan installed a power generation plant but still, there is a huge gap between demand and supply. Nowadays the production cost of electricity increases in Pakistan and affecting both commercial and domestic users. These energy crises affect Pakistan's economy badly. In the last few years, 4% of GDP has been used due to theses crisis [14].