DIY Plastic to Oil

88,579

151

62

About: Contact: pranav28.om@gmail.com

"Till date nothing has proven to be a truly effective or environmentally responsible solution to the burgeoning global landfill problem. In fact, many existing solutions have been just the opposite: costly, energy inefficient or equally as harmful to the environment as the plastic itself. "

It is only now, that with the evolving pyrolysis technology, there is a solution that is remarkably simple, economically viable and "green" as well.

Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperature without the participation of oxygen. In this process long polymer molecules are broken down into shorter chains of hydrocarbons with the help of heat and pressure. You can learn more about this process here: How to make oil from plastic

Some benefits of pyrolysis are that the process does not generate harmful pollutants and that the by-products can be used as fuel for running the plant. In the case of plastic, some of the valuable fuels and solvents that can be extracted through waste plastic pyrolysis are fuels like gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and high-value ones like benzene, toluene and xylene. And a kilo of waste (typically PP) can yield upto a litre of fuel whereas the incineration of the same quantity of plastic would produce 3 kilos of CO2!

This technology is growing in popularity and in demand. Commercial machines for home are still expensive. But with the following method, you can convert waste plastic to fuel all by yourself!

If you like this project, do vote for it!

Step 1: Procedure

WARNING:

You will be working with highly inflammable substances. So do take the following precautions:

  • Avoid inhaling the potentially harmful fumes
  • Keep the fumes, produced in the reaction, away from fire and from electrical points
  • Work in well ventilated spaces
  • Keep some water and a fire extinguisher on stand-by in case of an accident

Construction of prototype pyrolysis reactor

  1. Build a robust leak-proof reactor chamber
  2. Build a condensation tube of copper, steel, or aluminium
  3. Build a system for monitoring the temperature of the feed
  4. Build a system to efficiently condense and collect the mixture of products

Step 2: Build the Reactor

Before getting down to work, first decide the scale of your setup.

Ideally, 1 kg of plastic can produce 1 kg of fuel. For getting a good yield, you can use polypropylene i.e. any plastic product with the mark PP or '5'.

The reactor that I built has a capacity of about 100g.

So while selecting the container for your reactor, keep in mind the following considerations:

  • It must be a robust metal container
  • Its shape will affect the reaction speed, intensity and chemistry
  • It must be easily openable and cleanable, yet...it MUST be perfectly leak-proof!

I used a stainless steel vessel and clamped it with a bolted aluminum strip. Next I drilled a hole in the centre of the lid for the outlet of the fuel vapour.

Step 3: Condensing Energy

Back in the reactor, the plastic is converted to vapourized fuel above 400C.

You need to convert this vapour to liquid by passing it through a condenser. Once again, it needs to be robust, heat resistant and leak-proof. I used copper pipes (used as condensate piping in A/Cs and refrigerators) but you can you aluminium or steel.

The length of the condenser may not be sufficient for the circulating water to bring the 400C vapour to room temperature. So you'll need to further bubble it into water and then seperate the floating oil from the denser water. Let me know if you come up with a smarter way for doing this!

Step 4: Start Producing Black Gold

Once you are done with the construction work, start the fascinating process of converting trash to black gold!

Here's how:

1. Collect some waste plastic items and shred them to pieces for faster and better reaction

2. Seal the shredded plastic tightly in the reactor chamber

3. Setup the equipment on your stove and turn on the inlet water flow

4. Turn on the stove, stand back, and watch the spectacle!

Initially you'll see fumes flowing out of the condenser, then drops will trickle, and finally you'll have a stream of usable oil flowing out! At the end of the reaction, when you open the chamber that was initially full, you'll be surprised to find it empty, only charred.

The trash disappears and all you are left with is usable oil of high calorific value. Light the obtained fuel and witness it burn flawlessly and for long! If you want to obtain refined usable products from this mixture, you can do so by careful fractional distillation. Although few people can extract the different product of pyrolysis, we successfully did! After successive distillations, we extracted four distinct products, which on the basis of boiling point, odour and calorific values, were concluded to be benzene, toluene and even a mixture similar to diesel!

Waste is a misplaced resource...your trashcan is a treasure chest.

2 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Plastics Contest

    Plastics Contest
  • First Time Author

    First Time Author
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest

62 Discussions

0
None
patrickc278

Question 2 months ago

I'm a college engineering student and I'm interested with your reaearch. I want to know how did you maintain 400 C using only stove. And what is the thickness of your reactor to withstand 400 C? And did you use any catalyst because other videos did not used catalyst and their oil is color black

0
None
patrickc278

Question 2 months ago

Do you also use catalyst because some videos produce black colored oil when not using catalyst.

0
None
patrickc278

Question 2 months ago

May i ask what is the thickness of your reactor. And can it withstand heat upto 500 C?

0
None
FranzelA

Question 4 months ago

Hi, can I use any kind of pipes aside from copper, aluminum and steel?

0
None
Prestraphs

5 months ago

Hello bro @gallo can I get access to a video on this your practical? Would like to get some other info from you...I could easily be reached via Vincentokeychi@gmail@gmail.com

1 reply
0
None
NamithaA

Question 6 months ago

I would appreciate if you could let me know the size of the container for 50 kilos of plastic keeping in mind that to fire the plastic what should i use heating element or gas? And how long will it take to produce 50 ltrs of fuel? And lastly what ki d of fuel will I get diesel /petrol?

0
None
NathanW139

Question 8 months ago

I've heard of a bunch of different ways of making diesel fuel but have you ever heard of using hydraulic oil as a fuel

0
None
kronar30

9 months ago on Step 4

Great instructable. I always wondered if someday our landfills could be mined for plastic to be turned into fuel.

0
None
derians

10 months ago

Hi, my friend and I have decided to compete in the Nebraska agriscience fair,, and are going to do basically the same thing you did here and to compare the biofuel to commercial fuel. I just have a few questions regarding te process. First, I may be able to use an old oil can for the reactor with foil over the top, fir something with more quantity would a five gallon oil bucket work as opposed to metal containers? Also, some other people I have talked to say that they pump helium in to carry the fumes theough the condensing pipe. Do you use a carrier gas in this? And if so which gas would be most cost effecient. Thank You.

0
None
p7810456

1 year ago

Can you use biomass (like grass clippings) instead of plastic and also get some sort of liquid similar to gasoline?

1 reply
0
None
frankmcip7810456

Reply 10 months ago

Yes, you can. Take a look for wood gassification and condensation. It's the same idea, only starting with a different set of hydrocarbons.

0
None
jayceeluengo

11 months ago

How many atmospheres there must be to achieve pyrolysis conditions?

0
None
anysf

1 year ago

can i do this pyrolysis process by using an oven? just need an opinion for my project.

0
None
VinodC16

1 year ago

good one .. so simple to understand... I will try it.

0
None
DavutK

2 years ago

Diesel & Gas Manufacturing Kit (Mazot,gaz uretim Kiti) $999

Hello we manufactured machines produce diesel,gasoline and LPG same time

merhaba biz yeni bir makina urettik ,ayni zamanda,mazot,benzin ve gaz uretiyor

thanks

INVENT TECT TURKEY

Tel:0534-0635607

Skype: wirelessdepothk

Http://www.dkfon.com

Diesel & Gas Manufacturing Kit (Mazot,gaz uretim Kiti)

2 replies
0
None
alexmochoDavutK

Reply 1 year ago

Hello, can you send me the correct contact information, please?


0
None
diego_perera1491

2 years ago

Hey there, just one simple question, are you recirculating the water after the cooling process? or you're just sending the water through it using gravity? Thanks for the response

1 reply
0
None

Hi, the water is being pumped from the lower input and flows out of the upper outlet for effective heat exchange. The water is not being recirculated.