Selective Catalytic Conversion Plastic Waste to Light Olefins

01 November 2021 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Reacting systems
    • Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
    • Modelling, simulation and optimisation
    • Recycling
Automatic kinetic modeling Chemical recycling Model-guided catalyst design
Project description

The World is moving to a clean, circular economy. Plastic waste is one of the primary concerns because "the loop" cannot be closed through mechanical recycling, while re-use is only feasible to a limited extend. Therefore, chemical recycling of plastic waste is a crucial step towards a more sustainable World. With catalytic pyrolysis of polyolefins, it is the objective to recycle this waste stream to valuable light olefins instead of combusting them, as is done today. However, limited fundamental understanding on the optimal design of catalyst and reactor are present today. Therefore, several well-chosen catalysts will be synthesized and screened to achieve an increased yield in higher added value products. Modeling of the catalytic pyrolysis will be done by combining state-of-the-art techniques in chemical engineering like in-depth microkinetic modeling and incorporating machine learning for fast and accurate property prediction. The dedicated advanced experimentation techniques at the LCT and expertise on modeling will be indispensable for gaining fundamental knowledge on both molecular as reactor scale. Together with the developed kinetic model and experimental results on screened catalysts, new catalyst designs will be proposed and tested. By both optimizing process conditions and the used catalyst for catalytic pyrolysis, a higher yield of the desired key chemicals can be expected.