International Scientific Journal


A study of the behavior of the thermal decomposition of mixtures of biomass and thermoplastics, such as polyethylene, is of interest for processes for the thermal recovery of industrial and urban wastes such as pyrolysis or gasification. No solid residue is formed during the thermal degradation of pure polyethylene. However, the addition of biomass, which generates char can vary the product distribution and increase the heating value of the gas obtained. A study of the thermal degradation of pine sawdust, polyethylene and mixtures of polyethylene and pine sawdust has been carried out in a fluidized bed reactor. Experiments were carried out at five different temperatures: 640, 685, 730, 780, and 850 ºC. The yields and composition of the derived oil, wax, and gas were determined. The addition of polyethylene increases the gas production and decreases the production of waxes and liquids for the different temperatures tested. The main gases produced from the co-pyrolysis process were, at low temperatures, carbon monoxide ethylene, carbon dioxide, propylene, butadiene, methane and pentadiene while at high temperatures the gas composition changed drastically, the main components being carbon monoxide (more than 33 wt.%), ethylene, methane benzene and hydrogen. The analysis of the liquid fraction shows a decrease of the concentration of oxygenated and aliphatic compounds.
PAPER REVISED: 2004-07-23
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2004-09-16
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