Plastics to fuel: a review

Bidhya Kunwar, H.N. Cheng, Sriram R Chandrashekaran, Brajendra K Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The thermal and catalytic processes of converting waste plactics into fuels are promising techniques to eliminate the refuse which otherwise is harmful to the enivironment, and decrease the dependence on fossil fuels. Thermal degradation decomposes plastic into three fractions: gas, crude oil, and solid residue. Crude oil from non-catalytic pyrolysis is usually composed of higher boiling point hydrocarbons. The optimization of conversion parameters such as the choice of catalyst, reactor design, pyrolysis temperature, and plastic-to-catalyst ratio plays a very important role in the efficient generation of gasoline and diesel grade fuel. The use of a catalyst for thermal conversion lowers the energy required for conversion, and the catalyst choice is important for efficient fuel production. The suitable selection of catalysts can increase the yield of crude oil with lower hydrocarbon content. Co-pyrolysis of plastics with coal or shale oil improves crude oil quality by decreasing its viscosity. A large number of publications have appeared on various processes, and continued improvements and/or innovations are expected in the future. Further investigations on the catalytic systems are required in order to advance the field, particularly to enhance the added value of fuels and to minimize the use of energy. This review aims to provide both the highlights of the remarkable achievements of this field and the milestones that need to be achieved in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-428
Number of pages8
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • ISTC
  • Catalytic conversion
  • Co-pyrolysis
  • Gasoline
  • Plastics pyrolysis
  • Diesel
  • Plastic waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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