Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Ackerson, Michael

Committee Member/Reader

Penney, W. Roy


Plastic waste generation is increasing at an unsustainable rate while recycling solutions remain stagnant. As a chemical means of recycling, mixed plastic waste pyrolysis can generate synthetic oil appropriate for use as fuel in power generation from plastic waste that otherwise accumulates in landfills. With the scaling of a commercial plastic pyrolysis process in Northwest Arkansas (NWA) modeled after an operational sawdust pyrolysis unit in Huntsville, Arkansas, economic analysis resulted in 26.3% internal rate of return. Therefore, construction of a commercial mixed plastic-to-fuel pyrolysis plant is economically justified and should be pursued. To effectively implement the proposed design, NWA must utilize involvement from political leaders and the community to effectively make changes to current recycling collection and sortation procedures. Environmental benefits from the implementation of a commercial pyrolysis process for mixed plastics, such as reduction of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, must be emphasized to rally public sentiment to recycle.


Mixed plastic, pyrolysis, recycling, economics, plastic waste, environmental sustainability, service learning