Chemical Recycling of Mixed Plastic Wastes

Grafik ITC KITKIT Markus Oberacker

In the context of creating a comprehensive circular economy to protect the climate, the environment and natural resources, sustainable recycling methods for all plastic waste are required. In order to close the carbon cycle, the established mechanical recycling processes must therefore be supplemented with chemical recycling.

In pyrolysis, which is a basic chemical recycling processes, biogenic waste and plastic waste are converted into liquid as well as gaseous and solid hydrocarbon products. This thermal degradation of waste under an inert atmosphere and at elevated temperature replaces fossil petrochemical raw materials such as naphtha to produce monomers and aromatics.

During gasification, pretreated biogenic and organic waste replacing heavy fuel oil or coal is converted into synthesis gas. Gasification as a partial oxidation process at high temperatures is an important source of hydrogen and carbon monoxide for the large-scale industrial production of chemical intermediates.

In addition to research and technology development for these thermochemical recycling processes, the ITC deals with the optimization of the process chains from mixed plastic waste to raw materials, their scale-up to the industrial application and the evaluation of resource and energy efficiency as a contribution to climate neutrality and the circular economy. For this purpose, the pilot plants are operated in the Carbon Cycle Lab. The system assessment working group carries out techno-economic assessments based on this data and develops studies.