Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Microwave-initiated catalytic deconstruction of plastic waste into hydrogen and high-value carbons

Jie, Xiangyu, Li, Weisong, Slocombe, Daniel ORCID:, Gao, Yige, Banerjee, Ira, Gonzalez-Cortes, Sergio, Yao, Benzhen, AlMegren, Hamid, Alshihri, Saeed, Dilworth, Jonathan, Thomas, John, Xiao, Tiancun and Edwards, Peter 2020. Microwave-initiated catalytic deconstruction of plastic waste into hydrogen and high-value carbons. Nature Catalysis 3 , pp. 902-912. 10.1038/s41929-020-00518-5

[thumbnail of Nat Cal Manuscript_DS.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (430kB) | Preview


The ubiquitous challenge of plastic waste has led to the modern descriptor plastisphere to represent the human-made plastic environment and ecosystem. Here we report a straightforward rapid method for the catalytic deconstruction of various plastic feedstocks into hydrogen and high-value carbons. We use microwaves together with abundant and inexpensive iron-based catalysts as microwave susceptors to initiate the catalytic deconstruction process. The one-step process typically takes 30–90 s to transform a sample of mechanically pulverized commercial plastic into hydrogen and (predominantly) multiwalled carbon nanotubes. A high hydrogen yield of 55.6 mmol g−1plastic is achieved, with over 97% of the theoretical mass of hydrogen being extracted from the deconstructed plastic. The approach is demonstrated on widely used, real-world plastic waste. This proof-of-concept advance highlights the potential of plastic waste itself as a valuable energy feedstock for the production of hydrogen and high-value carbon materials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2520-1158
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 November 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 September 2020
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 16:23

Citation Data

Cited 128 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics