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ESR 15

ESR 15
Recycling of polymers from collected ocean/beach plastics

  • TITLE: Recycling of polymers from collected ocean/beach plastics

  • HOST: Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany)

  • MAIN SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. A. Büttner (FAU)

  • CO-SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. K. Van Geem (UG)

  • START DATE: 01.06.2020

  • DURATION: 36 months

  • REQUIRED DEGREE: Master of Science degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, chemical engineering, engineering, chemical sensing and chemical sensor technology, food chemistry, or related fields


    • Knowledge or prior experience in analytical chemistry, organic chemical synthesis, and/or chemical engineering

    • Excellent communication and organization skills

    • Fluent in written and spoken English

    • Strong team player skills and enthusiasm about working self-dependently in interdisciplinary environments

  • DESCRIPTION: Marine/beach plastics will be characterized with regard to their overall chemical composition. Current recycling technologies will be tested and adapted to recover selected target polymers. These will be tested for their purity, physical/mechanical properties and presence of contaminants and volatiles using a range of physical/chemical methods including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

  • OBJECTIVES: The objective is to recover high-quality polymers from marine and/or beach plastics. Therefore, the candidate will identify current and suitable collection systems for beach and/or marine plastics and organize samples. In a next step these materials will be characterized in depth.
    Using innovative recycling technologies, these infeed materials will be cleaned and used as a source of secondary polymers. These are extracted from the bulk inputs and cleaned thoroughly using - amongst other processes - solvent-based purification and enrichment processes. Additionally chemical recycling will be evaluated, in particular because mechanical recycling might prove to be infeasible  

  • PLANNED SECONDMENTS: UG for thermochemical recycling of non-target polymers identified and separated from marine/beach plastics (M36-M41). OWS to evaluate degradation of plastics in marine environment (M13); Fraunhofer IVV for the use of Creasolv Technology (M8-12,18-20)

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