Combustion and Gasification Properties of Plastics Particles

Ron Zevenhoven*, Magnus Karlsson, Mikko Hupa, Martin Frankenhaeuser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The combustion and gasification behavior of the most common plastics is studied and compared with conventional fuels such as coal, peat, and wood. The aim is to give background data for finding the optimum conditions for co-combustion or co-gasification of a conventional fuel with a certain amount of plastic-derived fuel. Atmospheric or pressurized fluidized bed co-combustion of conventional fuels and plastics are considered to be promising future options. The plastics investigated were poly(ethylene) (PE), poly(propylene) (PP), poly(styrene) (PS), and poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC). Some of the samples had a print or color. The reference fuels were Polish bituminous coal, Finnish peat, and Finnish pine wood. PE, PP, and PS were found to burn like oil. The particles shrank to a droplet and burned completely during the pyrolysis stage, leaving no char. Printing and coloring left a small portion of ash. PVC was the only plastic that produced a carbonaceous residue, and its timescales for heating, devolatilization, and char burning were of the same order as those for peat and wood, and much shorter for the other plastics studied. An important result is that char from PVC contains less than 1% chlorine,99% hydrocarbon. The gasification rate of PVC char (at 1 bar and 25 bar) was of the same order as that of char from coal. Peat-char and wood-char were gasified an order of magnitude faster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-870
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1997
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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