The unsatisfactory recycling rate of plastic waste is an urgent problem which we need to overcome on our way to a sustainable society. Hence, suitable technologies for the conversion of plastic waste streams have to be identified and implemented.
Polyolefins represent up to 50% of the global plastic production. Their traditional recycling approach of melting and reshaping has the drawback of downgrading the material’s mechanical properties. Pyrolysis as an alternative suffers from an overall low selectivity due to the high temperatures involved.
In this project, we are developing a new recycling approach for polyolefin waste. We use mechanochemical impact, rather than thermal activation, to cleave polyolefins and transform them into shorter-chain hydrocarbons. Adding heterogeneous catalysts will allow us to tune the selectivity and produce value-added chemicals from plastic waste.