PhD Project: Development of Fuels from Mixed Plastic Waste [MPW]


With millions of tonnes of MPW still landfilled around the world the ability to take unsorted plastic waste and turn it into a fuel that can power an IC engine would be a significant breakthrough for science.

Deconstructing individual plastics via pyrolysis into a predictable form that that can be used as a fuel is relatively well understood. When the plastic is mixed and contaminated as is the case with post-consumer waste during the pyrolysis there is potential for a significant number of reactions to take place making the outputs difficult to predict.

This programme aims to understand what happens during the pyrolysis of such waste and how this process can be controlled such that a consistent power output can be obtained from an engine fuelled by the products of this pyrolysis.

The PhD project is funded by Recycling Technologies Ltd. and includes student fees and maintenance.

Potential Research Programme

  1. Use a purpose built pyrolyser and TGA-MS to investigate the effect of process parameters on output chemistry for a range of individual and mixed plastic waste streams.
  2. Produce larger quantities of the fuels using the purpose built pyrolyser.
  3. Determine the efficacy of a hot gas filtration system in removing contamination and assess ways of improving the filtration where necessary
  4. Test the fuels produced by the pyrolyser rig in a test bed engine and analyse the combustion cycle for the fuels produced d to determine variations in engine performance.
  5. Examine the potential to produce acceptable quality fuel across a wide spectrum of input waste by varying the conditions in the pyrolyser. Opportunity for additives to improve fuel quality should be considered.

For more information please contact Dr Gary Leeke on and include your CV

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