Smart plastic waste conversion for a circular economy

01 October 2017 → 30 September 2020
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Applied economics
    • Economic history
    • Macroeconomics and monetary economics
    • Microeconomics
    • Tourism
plastic waste
Project description

The world is trying to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy. Plastic waste is a particular concern because "closing the loop" through mechanical recycling and re-use is only feasible to a limited extend. This makes that thermal or catalytic chemical recycling, the topic of
this project, will become one of the dominant technologies in the coming decade. However, the limited understanding of how and what can be chemically recycled is lacking. Therefore, reactors need to be designed able to convert plastic waste to gaseous or liquid products, while removing
impurities and accounting for the formation of unwanted byproducts such as char. To rapidly gain knowledge and to define optimal routes to chemicals (monomers, oligomers, waxes) via catalytic and pyrolytic conversion or their combination, the established reaction engineering methodology will be applied, combining reaction chemistry and chemical engineering concepts. In other words, by performing well-chosen experiments in combination with theoretical work, even for a broad feedstock composition spectrum (e.g. depending on the plastics origin, manufacturing steps, the use of coatings, etc.) and large range of possible process conditions, optimal chemical recycling strategies will be evaluated on a large scale. My 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.