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Title: Efficient and selective degradation of polyethylenes into liquid fuels and waxes under mild conditions

Polyethylene (PE) is the largest-volume synthetic polymer, and its chemical inertness makes its degradation by low-energy processes a challenging problem. We report a tandem catalytic cross alkane metathesis method for highly efficient degradation of polyethylenes under mild conditions. With the use of widely available, low-value, short alkanes (for example, petroleum ethers) as cross metathesis partners, different types of polyethylenes with various molecular weights undergo complete conversion into useful liquid fuels and waxes. Furthermore, this method shows excellent selectivity for linear alkane formation, and the degradation product distribution (liquid fuels versus waxes) can be controlled by the catalyst structure and reaction time. In addition, the catalysts are compatible with various polyolefin additives; therefore, common plastic wastes, such as post consumer polyethylene bottles, bags, and films could be converted into valuable chemical feedstocks without any pretreatment.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai (China)
  2. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-04ER46162
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Materials Sciences & Engineering Division
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; polymer recycling; polymer degradation; polyethylene; alkane metathesis; iridium catalyst; liquid fuel; wax; feedstock recovery
OSTI Identifier:
1466755

Jia, Xiangqing, Qin, Chuan, Friedberger, Tobias, Guan, Zhibin, and Huang, Zheng. Efficient and selective degradation of polyethylenes into liquid fuels and waxes under mild conditions. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501591.
Jia, Xiangqing, Qin, Chuan, Friedberger, Tobias, Guan, Zhibin, & Huang, Zheng. Efficient and selective degradation of polyethylenes into liquid fuels and waxes under mild conditions. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501591.
Jia, Xiangqing, Qin, Chuan, Friedberger, Tobias, Guan, Zhibin, and Huang, Zheng. 2016. "Efficient and selective degradation of polyethylenes into liquid fuels and waxes under mild conditions". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501591. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1466755.
@article{osti_1466755,
title = {Efficient and selective degradation of polyethylenes into liquid fuels and waxes under mild conditions},
author = {Jia, Xiangqing and Qin, Chuan and Friedberger, Tobias and Guan, Zhibin and Huang, Zheng},
abstractNote = {Polyethylene (PE) is the largest-volume synthetic polymer, and its chemical inertness makes its degradation by low-energy processes a challenging problem. We report a tandem catalytic cross alkane metathesis method for highly efficient degradation of polyethylenes under mild conditions. With the use of widely available, low-value, short alkanes (for example, petroleum ethers) as cross metathesis partners, different types of polyethylenes with various molecular weights undergo complete conversion into useful liquid fuels and waxes. Furthermore, this method shows excellent selectivity for linear alkane formation, and the degradation product distribution (liquid fuels versus waxes) can be controlled by the catalyst structure and reaction time. In addition, the catalysts are compatible with various polyolefin additives; therefore, common plastic wastes, such as post consumer polyethylene bottles, bags, and films could be converted into valuable chemical feedstocks without any pretreatment.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1501591},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 6,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {6}
}