Plastic Recycling, Carbon Capture and Disaster Relief through Pyrolysis

Project number: 
PeakView Solutions
Academic year: 
The management of plastic and other hydrocarbon waste is one of the most pressing issues of our civilization. As the often harmful materials break down, they pollute our air, water, and soil. Unsuspecting wildlife often succumbs to this waste due to suffocation, blockage, or entanglement. To alleviate these issues, PeakView Solutions aims to develop a portable pyrolysis plant that can be shipped to underdeveloped islands and areas that were recently hit by natural disasters and are struggling with the supply of clean drinking water, electricity, and fuel. Utilizing the often abundant organic waste, such as plastic, tires, and plant debris, locals can produce their own biofuel and run power generators for water pumps, filters, and other emergency equipment.

The goal of the project is to develop a functioning pyrolysis plant prototype that takes plastic and other organics as input and safely produces a flammable hydrocarbon liquid as output. The project will require chemical knowledge for the volatile extraction, mechanical engineering for the reactor design, and electrical engineering for the sensors and control mechanisms that regulate the temperature and pressure within the reactor. Systems engineering will provide the much-needed ability to synchronize the various complex components and environmental engineering will help to neutralize any harmful byproducts.

Scope: (1) Research the pyrolysis process for plastic and determine how best to neutralize any harmful gaseous and solid byproducts. (2) Confirm your understanding with your chemical engineering professors. (3) Verify your system design idea with the UA staff responsible for overseeing the operation of the plant prototype. (4) Build the mobile pyrolysis plant prototype. Consider off-the-shelf technology first and find customized solutions as needed. (5) Provide chemical, mechanical, and electrical diagrams of the system’s working components and processes. (6) Test the plant for performance, safety, and ease of use and iterate on previous steps until an optimal design is found (as time permits). (7) Develop plans (including cost estimates) to turn the plant prototype into a standalone, compact, turnkey system that can be shipped to a disaster area and operated by a local technician. (8) Present results in a video conference and PowerPoint presentation.

Get started and sponsor a project now!

UA engineering students are ready to take your project from concept to reality.