Design of an automated solar concentrator for the pyrolysis of scrap rubber

Joseph Zeaiter*, Mohammad N. Ahmad, David Rooney, Bechara Samneh, Elie Shammas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


An automated solar reactor system was designed and built to carry out catalytic pyrolysis of scrap rubber tires at 550°C. To maximize solar energy concentration, a two degrees-of-freedom automated sun tracking system was developed and implemented. Both the azimuth and zenith angles were controlled via feedback from six photo-resistors positioned on a Fresnel lens. The pyrolysis of rubber tires was tested with the presence of two types of acidic catalysts, H-beta and H-USY. Additionally, a photoactive TiO<inf>2</inf> catalyst was used and the products were compared in terms of gas yields and composition. The catalysts were characterized by BET analysis and the pyrolysis gases and liquids were analyzed using GC-MS. The oil and gas yields were relatively high with the highest gas yield reaching 32.8% with H-beta catalyst while TiO<inf>2</inf> gave the same results as thermal pyrolysis without any catalyst. In the presence of zeolites, the dominant gasoline-like components in the gas were propene and cyclobutene. The TiO<inf>2</inf> and non-catalytic experiments produced a gas containing gasoline-like products of mainly isoprene (76.4% and 88.4% respectively). As for the liquids they were composed of numerous components spread over a wide distribution of C<inf>10</inf> to C<inf>29</inf> hydrocarbons of naphthalene and cyclohexane/ene derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date02 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2015


  • Solar energy
  • Tire pyrolysis
  • Waste conversion to fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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