Recent advances in liquid fuel production from plastic waste via pyrolysis: Emphasis on polyolefins and polystyrene

Soheil Valizadeh, Behzad Valizadeh, Myung Won Seo, Yong Jun Choi, Jechan Lee, Wei Hsin Chen, Kun Yi Andrew Lin, Young Kwon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The management of plastic waste (PW) has become an indispensable worldwide issue because of the enhanced accumulation and environmental impacts of these waste materials. Thermo-catalytic pyrolysis has been proposed as an emerging technology for the valorization of PW into value-added liquid fuels. This review provides a comprehensive investigation of the latest advances in thermo-catalytic pyrolysis of PW for liquid fuel generation, by emphasizing polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. To this end, the current strategies of PW management are summarized. The various parameters affecting the thermal pyrolysis of PW (e.g., temperature, residence time, heating rate, pyrolysis medium, and plastic type) are discussed, highlighting their significant influence on feed reactivity, product yield, and carbon number distribution of the pyrolysis process. Optimizing these parameters in the pyrolysis process can ensure highly efficient energy recovery from PW. In comparison with non-catalytic PW pyrolysis, catalytic pyrolysis of PW is considered by discussing mechanisms, reaction pathways, and the performance of various catalysts. It is established that the introduction of either acid or base catalysts shifts PW pyrolysis from the conventional free radical mechanism towards the carbonium ion mechanism, altering its kinetics and pathways. This review also provides an overview of PW pyrolysis practicality for scaling up by describing techno-economic challenges and opportunities, environmental considerations, and presenting future outlooks in this field. Overall, via investigation of the recent research findings, this paper offers valuable insights into the potential of thermo-catalytic pyrolysis as an emerging strategy for PW management and the production of liquid fuels, while also highlighting avenues for further exploration and development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118154
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Liquid fuels generation
  • Plastic waste
  • Thermo-catalytic pyrolysis
  • Waste management


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