Mathematical modeling of a catalytic pyrolysis depolymerization process

Conference Dates

May 10-15, 2015


Catalytic Pyrolysis of polymers is a process which is gaining relevance due to several economic and ecological reasons. The process exists since more than two decades ago, but only now seems to be viable for the production of fuels in a sustainable and economic manner. On the other hand, although several attempts have been made to model the process, these attempts have used oversimplifications and empirical approaches that do not contribute much to the understanding and improvement of the process. In this paper we present a new and detailed approach to the modeling of this process based on the mechanism of carbenium ions, valid for zeolite type catalysts, the family of the most effective catalysts used in this process. The model starts from the full molecular weight distribution of the polymer to be processed, and describes in detail how the polymer is broken into simpler species that can be used as fuels after proper separation processes. The model is built from first principles based on the most viable kinetic mechanisms known and available kinetic constants with minimum data fitting, resulting in a large system of ordinary differential equations that are solved numerically. The model predictions are compared with previously published data for model systems and are applied to the depolymerization of high density polyethylene.


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