Polyethylene upcycling to long-chain alkylaromatics by tandem hydrogenolysis/aromatization

Fan Zhang, Manhao Zeng, Ryan D. Yappert, Jiakai Sun, Yu Hsuan Lee, Anne M. LaPointe, Baron Peters, Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, Susannah L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current scale of plastics production and the accompanying waste disposal problems represent a largely untapped opportunity for chemical upcycling. Tandem catalytic conversion by platinum supported on g-alumina converts various polyethylene grades in high yields (up to 80 weight percent) to lowmolecular- weight liquid/wax products, in the absence of added solvent or molecular hydrogen, with little production of light gases. The major components are valuable long-chain alkylaromatics and alkylnaphthenes (average ∼C30, dispersity = 1.1). Coupling exothermic hydrogenolysis with endothermic aromatization renders the overall transformation thermodynamically accessible despite the moderate reaction temperature of 280°C. This approach demonstrates how waste polyolefins can be a viable feedstock for the generation of molecular hydrocarbon products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabc5441
Issue number6515
StatePublished - Oct 23 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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