Thermo chemical recycling of plastic waste

presentation by Berend Vreugdenhil, Senior Scientist, TNO, at ONLINE Plastic Waste 2 Plastic Conference, 09 November 2020, 12:00 – 16:15 Central European Time (CET). Register here to attend.

Waste recycling is key for our future energy system. Today, most of the recycling is done mechanically and the percentages are not too high. The matter of the fact is that with mechanical recycling alone we will not be able to reduce our fossil fuel dependency.

Thermo chemical recycling is an addition to the recycling or waste plastics and is increasingly gaining attention and momentum. The two routes will go hand in hand in the future.

In this presentation an overview is given on TNO’s capabilities with regards to thermo chemical recycling. We will share a future that hopefully can be realized in the coming decade.


Berend Vreugdenhil holds an M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University Delft. In 2006 he started his career at ECN where his research focussed on developing the technology to produce sustainable natural gas from biomass. In 2015 he changed in his role to Innovation Manager Gasification, which entails setting out the program for gasification within TNO. The area he now is responsible for is gasification, gas cleaning and gas upgrading. Next to the production of substitute natural gas (SNG) from biomass/waste also the production of valuable chemicals (BTX, ethylene) and fuels are routes that are being developed. There is overlap with gasification for the bio-based economy and the circular economy, therefor the knowledge in this field can be applied directly to the field of plastics recycling. Berend is chairing IEA Bioenergy Task 33 on Gasification of biomass and waste.

TNO is an independent research organisation. We believe in the joint creation of economic and social value. We focus on transitions or changes in nine social themes:

  • Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime : ‘Robust constructions, sustainable use’
  • The Circular Economy and the Environment: ‘Directing and accelerating sustainability’
  • Defence, Safety and Security: ‘We’re putting our knowledge and technology to work for safety and security’
  • Energy: ‘Faster towards a sustainable energy supply’
  • Healthy living: ‘Focussing on participation, not on the disease’
  • Industry: ‘Innovating for employment, welfare and well-being’
  • Information & Communication Technology: ‘Interpreting and accelerating digital transformation’
  • Strategic Analysis & Policy: ‘Turning complex issues into concrete innovations’
  • Traffic and Transport: ‘Helping to create liveable, sustainable cities’

Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. We develop knowledge not for its own sake, but for practical application.

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