The exponential increase of plastic production produces 100 million tonnes of waste plastics annually which could be converted into hydrocarbon fuels in a thermal cracking process called pyrolysis. In this research work, a direct current (DC) thermal plasma circuit is designed and used for conversion of low density polyethylene (LDPE) into diesel oil in a laboratory scale pyrolysis reactor. The experimental setup uses a 270 W DC thermal plasma at operating temperatures in the range of 625 °C to 860 °C for a low density polyethylene (LDPE) pyrolysis reaction at pressure = −0.95, temperature = 550 °C with τ = 30 min at a constant heating rate of 7.8 °C/min. The experimental setup consists of a vacuum pump, closed system vessel, direct current (DC) plasma circuit, and a k-type thermocouple placed a few millimeters from the reactant sample. The hydrocarbon products are condensed to diesel oil and analyzed using flame ionization detector (FID) gas chromatography. The analysis shows 87.5% diesel oil, 1,4-dichlorobenzene (Surr), benzene, ethylbenzene and traces of toluene and xylene. The direct current (DC) thermal plasma achieves 56.9 wt. % of diesel range oil (DRO), 37.8 wt. % gaseous products and minimal tar production. The direct current (DC) thermal plasma shows reliability, better temperature control, and high thermal performance as well as the ability to work for long operation periods.
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