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Title: Life-cycle analysis of fuels from post-use non-recycled plastics

Abstract

Plastic-to-fuel (PTF) technology uses pyrolysis to convert plastic waste—especially non-recycled plastics (NRP)—into ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. To assess the potential energy and environmental benefits associated with PTF technology, we calculated the energy, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions of NRP-derived ULSD and compared the results to those metrics for conventional ULSD fuel. For these analyses, we used the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET®) model. Five companies provided pyrolysis process product yields and material and energy consumption data. Co-products of the process included char and fuel gas. Char can be landfilled, which, per the company responses, is the most common practice for this co-product, or it may be sold as an energy product. Fuel gas can be combusted to internally generate process heat and electricity. Sensitivity analyses investigated the influence of co-product handling methodology, product yield, electric grid composition, and assumed efficiency of char combustion technology on life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the GHG emissions would likely be reduced up to 14% when it is compared to conventional ULSD, depending on the co-product treatment method used. NRP-derived ULSD fuel could therefore be considered at a minimum carbon neutral with the potentialmore » to offer a modest GHG reduction. Moreover, this waste-derived fuel had 58% lower water consumption and up to 96% lower fossil fuel consumption than conventional ULSD fuel in the base case. In addition to the comparison of PTF fuels with conventional transportation fuels, we also compare the results with alternative scenarios for managing NRP including power generation and landfilling in the United States.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
American Chemistry Council (ACC); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1353191
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Fuel
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 203; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0016-2361
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; plastic-to-fuel; non-recycled plastic; pyrolysis; life-cycle analysis; waste plastic management

Citation Formats

Benavides, Pahola Thathiana, Sun, Pingping, Han, Jeongwoo, Dunn, Jennifer B., and Wang, Michael. Life-cycle analysis of fuels from post-use non-recycled plastics. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.04.070.
Benavides, Pahola Thathiana, Sun, Pingping, Han, Jeongwoo, Dunn, Jennifer B., & Wang, Michael. Life-cycle analysis of fuels from post-use non-recycled plastics. United States. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.04.070.
Benavides, Pahola Thathiana, Sun, Pingping, Han, Jeongwoo, Dunn, Jennifer B., and Wang, Michael. 2017. "Life-cycle analysis of fuels from post-use non-recycled plastics". United States. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.04.070.
@article{osti_1353191,
title = {Life-cycle analysis of fuels from post-use non-recycled plastics},
author = {Benavides, Pahola Thathiana and Sun, Pingping and Han, Jeongwoo and Dunn, Jennifer B. and Wang, Michael},
abstractNote = {Plastic-to-fuel (PTF) technology uses pyrolysis to convert plastic waste—especially non-recycled plastics (NRP)—into ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. To assess the potential energy and environmental benefits associated with PTF technology, we calculated the energy, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions of NRP-derived ULSD and compared the results to those metrics for conventional ULSD fuel. For these analyses, we used the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET®) model. Five companies provided pyrolysis process product yields and material and energy consumption data. Co-products of the process included char and fuel gas. Char can be landfilled, which, per the company responses, is the most common practice for this co-product, or it may be sold as an energy product. Fuel gas can be combusted to internally generate process heat and electricity. Sensitivity analyses investigated the influence of co-product handling methodology, product yield, electric grid composition, and assumed efficiency of char combustion technology on life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the GHG emissions would likely be reduced up to 14% when it is compared to conventional ULSD, depending on the co-product treatment method used. NRP-derived ULSD fuel could therefore be considered at a minimum carbon neutral with the potential to offer a modest GHG reduction. Moreover, this waste-derived fuel had 58% lower water consumption and up to 96% lower fossil fuel consumption than conventional ULSD fuel in the base case. In addition to the comparison of PTF fuels with conventional transportation fuels, we also compare the results with alternative scenarios for managing NRP including power generation and landfilling in the United States.},
doi = {10.1016/j.fuel.2017.04.070},
journal = {Fuel},
number = C,
volume = 203,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 4
}

Journal Article:
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