Microwave-assisted in-situ catalytic pyrolysis of polystyrene: Analysis of product formation and energy consumption using machine learning approach

Avinash Terapalli, Dinesh Kamireddi, Veluru Sridevi, M. Tukarambai, Dadi V. Suriapparao, Chinta Sankar Rao, Ribhu Gautam, Prerak R. Modi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis is a prominent technology for the production of high-quality fuel intermediates and value-added chemicals from polystyrene waste. The objectives of this study were to understand the role of catalyst (KOH) on polystyrene (PS) pyrolysis. Pyrolysis experiments were conducted using a microwave oven at a power of 450 W and a temperature of 600 °C. Graphite susceptor (10 g) was used to achieve the required pyrolysis conditions. In addition, the design of experiments (DoE) with machine learning (ML) was used to understand the loading of PS (5 g, 27.5 g, and 50 g), and KOH (5 g, 7.5 g, and 10 g). The products including oil, gas, and char were collected in every experiment. The average heating rates achieved were in the range of 30–50 °C/min. The specific microwave power (microwave power per unit mass of feedstock) decreased with an increase in PS amount from 90 to 9 W/g. However, the specific microwave energy (microwave energy per unit mass of feedstock) (27–73 kJ/g) was in line with the average heating rate. The maximum yield of pyrolysis oil was found to be 95 wt%, which was obtained with a PS:KOH ratio of 27.5 g: 7.5 g. The oil yield increased from 80 to 95 wt% when the mass of the catalyst increased from 5 to 7.5 g. On the other hand, the gas yield (3–18 wt%) varied significantly and char yield (1–2 wt%) was not influenced. The yields predicted by ML matched well with the experimental yields. This study demonstrated the potential of KOH as a catalyst for PS pyrolysis technology as the formation of aliphatic hydrocarbons in the oil fraction was significantly promoted.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
StatePublished - Aug 12 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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