Solvent techniques for closed loop recycling of plastics

  • TITLE: Solvent techniques for closed loop recycling of plastics

  • HOST: Ghent University (Belgium)

  • MAIN SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. S. De Meester (UG)

  • CO-SUPERVISORS: Prof. Achilias, Prof. dr. A. Lemonidou (AUTH)

  • START DATE: 01.06.2020

  • DURATION: 36 months

  • REQUIRED DEGREE: Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering or Bioscience Engineering. Additionally, Sciences, Industrial Sciences or Industrial/Civil Engineering with specialization in Chemistry, Material Sciences or an equivalent degree are also welcome to apply. The degree requirements need to be fulfilled at the start of your appointment.


    • You are interested in academic research in the domain of separation and recycling of polymers. Experience related to separation processes and polymer chemistry is an advantage.

    • You have good skills to perform both modeling (mainly ASPEN based) and experimental work. Knowledge related to CFD modeling is a plus.

    • You want to apply fundamental knowledge in a societal context.

    • You are creative, open-minded and can work independently.

    • You are a team player with good social skills.

    • You have good communication skills to explain a scientific topic to a layman.

    • Good knowledge of English is a requirement

  • DESCRIPTION: Plastic waste is usually very contaminated. Contaminations include amongst others: other plastics due to missorting or multimaterial structure (e.g. multilayer films), additives, including inks, labels, organic residues, adsorbed odorous constituents, etc. It is clear that current water based washing and pretreatment techniques are often not sufficient towards closed loop recycling. More advanced chemical treatments could perform a more thorough cleaning by removing polymers, glues, inks, etc. selectively before recycling.

  • OBJECTIVES: The objective of this topic is to optimize chemical pretreatments of plastic waste to remove contaminants. This (can) include(s) aspects such as: further optimization of medium selection, optimization of process parameters, kinetic modeling, reactor design to maximize mass transfer, medium recovery. The exact definition of the topic from the mentioned options will be discussed together with the chosen ESR.

  • PLANNED SECONDMENTS: AUTH to test processability of plastics (after solvent treatment) in pyrolysis (M26-M31); Tomra to support process-chain design and upscaling to real process conditions (M36-M38).