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New Process for Waste Plastic to Lube Oil Conversion

Researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky have developed a new process for converting waste plastic into lubricating oil for engines.

This is potentially environmentally important from two perspectives. First, a more stable synthetic oil (an oil with high paraffinicity and, therefore, high Viscosity Index (VI, signifying high stability to change in viscosity over a wide temperature range) and low viscosity) will extend the interval between oil drains. That in turn reduces the amount of used oil requiring disposal. According to the EPA, some 200 million gallons each year are dumped into the environment.

The other benefit of a low-viscosity oil is reduced engine friction and thereby improved fuel economy.

Second is the obvious benefit in being able to recycle a portion of the ever increasing stream of waste plastics. Plastics represent 11 wt% of municipal solid waste today, up from less than 5 wt% in 2001.

While much work has been done on the potential conversion of plastics to fuels, the researchers note,

Little has been reported on the conversion of waste plastic to higher-valued products. In this study, we investigate the conversion of waste polymers such as polyethylene (PE) to high-quality lubricant oils.

The process uses a thermal, noncatalytic, atmospheric pressure pyrolysis process that converts high-molecular-weight molecules in plastic waste to lower-molecular-weight molecules in the lube oil range, which are in turn processed through hydroisomerization to create the lube oils.

The Chevron-UKy process can also be used with Fischer-Tropsch wax—a product from the Fischer-Tropsch process that can be further processed into lube oils.

The main findings of the study, as reported in a paper to be published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, are:

  • Potential lube yields were in the 60%–70 wt % range.

  • The product distribution and lube quality surprisingly showed little variation, whether the feed was polyethylene, FT wax, or a combination of the two. (This opens up the interesting possibility of coprocessing waste PE and FT wax in the same plant, increasing product volume of lube and diesel, thus further improving the economics.)

  • The pyrolysis process could be performed at atmospheric pressure, and at a temperature and residence time that is not atypical of refinery operations. (Simplifying integration into refinery process.)

  • Hydrotreatment of the feed prior to the hydroisomerization step did not significantly affect lube yield or quality. Eliminating this step could benefit the overall process economics.

  • When 4 wt % poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), from used soda bottles, was added to the polyethylene, no decline in lube quality was observed. This indicates a high degree of separation of the waste plastic may not be necessary, which would reduce the feedstock cost to the process.

The paper describing the research will appear in the 20 July 2005 issue of Energy & Fuels.




we would like to explore above conversion process in our an enterpreuner we may require some in formations, like:
# Specific waste quantity for 1 gallon of lube oil?
# cost of 1 gallon in us $ ?
# time of conversion 100 gallons?

We are in need of above answer.pls reply.


managing director
CDC,339/B Tejgaon IND.Area. 8821422/8814290

Atul Shah

Dear Sir,

It is fantastic. Today in india we just through away the plastic waste which has absolutely no value, tommorrrow there will be demand !!



Dear Sir,

I am quite delighted to know about the possibility of converting waste plastics into oil and thereby creating an additional source of energy. We in India import oil and totally depend on the import as our domestic production is insufficient to meet the growing demand. I wonder why this technology is not getting the required highlight. This is to be addressed at a larger forum and bring into the benefit of everyone. Oil producing countries need not keep their monopoly at the cost of everyone. One day oil will be exhausted of its sources.
Self reliance makes the world a better place for everyone as dependency is a kind of slavery.

Aishat .A.Faruq

Dear sir,
i have been thinking of how to convert plastic waste that is causing so much havoc in my beloved country, Nigeria. i was so thrilled when i came across "waste plastic to lube oil conversion". please, i need more information on that as i wish to undertake a ph.D programme on waste plastic conversion. thank you.


The plsatic waste is turned into the oil

It is world difficult problem of environmental protection at present for waste plastics
not to deal with, burn, landfill, piling up in the open, regeneration makes one, not all basic methods to solve. Not only can deal with and " pollute produce the atmospheric pressure cleavage of old and useless plastics of energy-conserving type of environmental protection of the energy and produce the unit apparatus of fuel and solve this human difficult problem whitely ", but also can.

manish golchha

Dear Sir,

I am interested in knowing more information on how to convert plastics into oil. What is the effect cost for production and how much is the investment level.

Manish Golchha


dear sir,
I've been searching almost a month to find a project on conversion of waste plastic, here in the philippines, it is a major problem.i am interested to know more about the project.

Dr Jaswant Singh

Dear Sir,
I have been working on conversions of waste plastics inti ful oils /fuel gases.I got Innovation Award from Indian Institute if Management.I have applied for the patent. If any body interested in the process I can provided the detals. Pl contact Me at following address.
PHONE NO. 02642-242481


Here is another process that is actually running

Subhash c. soni

Dear Sir,

I am interested in knowing more information on how to convert plastics into oil. What is the effect cost for production and how much is the investment level.

Subhash c. soni

otobo grace

i was glad to learn of this discovery of conversion of plastic to lube.

what are the catalyst involved?

i am a PhD Student. please help.



A.K.M alamgir's son

good post dad!!!!!!!!!


Im doing the project about this, so

please help me the beneficial information,

would be appreciated.


am interested so much in knowing how plastics can be conveted to oil coz it has been a great havoc in my area

Account Deleted

woooh, great!
the information above greatly helps me a lot!
hope more details could be post as of the years passed.
thanks a lot..and great site! ^.^

Account Deleted

We would like to explore above conversion process in our country. Please kindly send us detail technology, offer for system which capacity of 30 tons/day.

We are in need of above answer. Please reply.


Hua Thu Duong
Managing Director
Tel: 84-8-38-634-737

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