Assessment of the impact of reactor residence time distribution on non-equilibrium product selectivity of polypropylene pyrolysis using reactive molecular dynamics simulations

Aditya Dilip Lele, Yiguang Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mass residence time distribution (RTD) is considered to be an important factor controlling the product selectivity in the pyrolysis of biomass and plastic wastes along with the pyrolysis chemistry. However, due to the complex pyrolysis chemistry of biomass and plastic waste, the coupling between the reaction chemistry, RTD, and product selectivity is challenging to understand. We introduce a reaction molecular dynamics-based method to examine pyrolysis chemistry and species timescales to assess the impact of RTD on product selectivity and yield. To validate this method, reactive molecular dynamics simulations were conducted for polypropylene pyrolysis and its non-equilibrium product selectivity using 6 different RTDs. We find that the RTD and the reaction chemistry control the peak non-equilibrium product concentrations. The peak monomer (C3H6) concentration during pyrolysis can be increased by up to 25 % by using a narrow RTD in the case of polypropylene pyrolysis. We also find that product selectivity is strongly affected by the average residence time and RTD. This coupling between the reaction chemistry, RTD, and product selectivity highlights the need to understand detailed reaction chemistry to control RTD and optimize non-equilibrium product selectivity during polymer and biomass pyrolysis. The present method provides a new way to design RTD for reactors to reach maximized product selectivity of plastic waste and biomass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127328
JournalFuel
Volume338
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry

Keywords

  • Mass residence time
  • Non-equilibrium products
  • Product selectivity
  • Pyrolysis
  • Reactive molecular dynamics

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