Pyrolysis–catalysis of waste plastic using a nickel–stainless-steel mesh catalyst for high-value carbon products

Yeshui Zhang, Mohamad A. Nahil, Chunfei Wu, Paul T. Williams* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


A stainless-steel mesh loaded with nickel catalyst was produced and used for the pyrolysis–catalysis of waste high-density polyethylene with the aim of producing high-value carbon products, including carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The catalysis temperature and plastic-to-catalyst ratio were investigated to determine the influence on the formation of different types of carbon deposited on the nickel–stainless-steel mesh catalyst. Increasing temperature from 700 to 900°C resulted in an increase in the carbon deposited on the nickel-loaded stainless-steel mesh catalyst from 32.5 to 38.0 wt%. The increase in sample-to-catalyst ratio reduced the amount of carbon deposited on the mesh catalyst in terms of g carbon g−1 plastic. The carbons were found to be largely composed of filamentous carbons, with negligible disordered (amorphous) carbons. Transmission electron microscopy analysis of the filamentous carbons revealed them to be composed of a large proportion (estimated at ∼40%) multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The optimum process conditions for CNT production, in terms of yield and graphitic nature, determined by Raman spectroscopy, was catalysis temperature of 800°C and plastic-to-catalyst ratio of 1:2, where a mass of 334 mg of filamentous/MWCNTs g−1 plastic was produced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2889-2897
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number22
Early online date3 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

This project has received funding from the EU HORIZON2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowski-Curie grant agreement no. 643322 (FLEXI-PYROCAT).


  • Polyethylene
  • pyrolysis
  • carbon nano tubes
  • catalysis
  • waste


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