Chemical Recycling of Plastic Waste – Pyrolysis and downstream processing of pyrolysis oils

by Alexander Hofman, Fraunhofer UMSICHT

The recycling of many plastic waste streams like mixed plastics, composites or plastics with inorganic and organic contaminations remains very challenging. As an addition to mechanical recycling, chemical recycling offers the chance for closing the plastic recycling loop. Currently, great amounts of plastics are still incinerated and removed from this loop.

Chemical recycling has the potential to become an alternative to incineration. While many technologies are conceivable, thermochemical conversion is the most flexible towards mixing and contaminations. Moreover, due to the possibility of a decentral operation, pyrolysis is a very promising technology for chemical recycling. However, the challenge herby is the direct utilization of pyrolysis products, mainly oil, in chemical industry.

Residual halogen and cyanide containing compounds hampers downstream processing, as these kind of compounds deactivates catalysts. Therefore, Fraunhofer Umsicht investigates the development of a technology based on an in situ cracking of halogenated organic compounds via hydrogen rich materials, in order to overcome these issues. If the downstream processing of pyrolysis oil is enabled, a new value chain could be generated.


About Alexander Hofman

2011-2015: undergrade and master’s degree, Chemistry, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2015-2019: PhD thesis, Inorganic Chemistry, Prof. Braunschweig, JMU Wuerzburg, Germany
2019-now: Group Leader Recyclingtechnologies, Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany

About Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Our know-how covers technical innovations in the fields of environmental, material, process and energy technology. Our objective is the advancement of sustainable economies, environmentally friendly technologies and innovative approaches. Our wish: to improve the standard of living and to promote the innovation capacity of the economy.

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