Plastic waste gasification using a small scale IR reactor : experimental and modelling analysis
Guyemat Mbourou, Sarah Marielle
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The generation of municipal solid waste has increased significantly due to the exponential population growth and it has become a global issue. Gasification technology, an alternative method for waste treatment is a thermochemical process where carbon-based material are exposed to an environment deprived in oxygen, was used for this project. The aim of this thesis is to study the gasification of plastic waste which is a potential alternative energy source using infrared heaters. To achieve this goal, fundamental studies have been numerically and experimentally conducted for an infrared gasifier and subsequently establishing the temperature profile for gasification using a small scale reactor. A detailed study on low density polyethylene was conducted using Infrared Spectrometry and thermal decomposition techniques such as Thermogravimetry and Differential Scanning Calorimetry were performed to establish the temperature at which plastic pellets sample used for this research gasify. The gasification behaviour of pelletized low density polyethylene (plastic pellets) was tested and three case studies were done to evaluate the most suitable temperature profile for the reactor to gasify the low density polyethylene at high temperature for less amount of time. Subsequently, the reactor model was simulated and results validate the use of reactor at an optimum temperature of 800 °C for a gasification process with less residue content. The reactor designed for this research is fully functional and validates the temperature behaviour predicted during simulation. The experimental results show infrared heaters are suitable for gas production using this gasification process.