Rational valorization of waste plastics by combined reactor and catalyst engineering

01 January 2018 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Homogeneous catalysis
waste plastics
Project description

Europe is trying to make the transition 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. This makes that catalytic chemical recycling, the topic of this

project, is very likely to become one of the key technologies for our future. However, the limited

fundamental understanding on the optimal design of both catalyst and reactor is lacking. Therefore,

novel reactors need to be designed able to convert plastic waste to valuable gaseous or liquid

products. Herein, the catalytic pyrolysis of waste plastics is studied. Although promising, this route is

challenging as the involved catalysis requires intimate catalysts design, whereas a controlled

pyrolysis requires careful reactor design. By performing well-chosen experiments in combination

with theoretical work, optimal chemical recycling strategies need to be evaluated on different scales

to gain insights in the underlying fundamentals. KUL and UGent's creativity and expertise in

experimentation and modelling will produce novel ground breaking results and concepts. Only this

way, the EU ambitions towards a circular economy can be met.