Jochem van de Minkelis
Due to the increasing amount of plastic waste and the associated environmental problems, the development of the recycling process has become of great importance. Chemical recycling can be used to recover valuable products from plastic waste. This research will focus on the solvolysis of polyethylene in supercritical water. While the strong C-C bonds of polyethylene are inaccessible to solvolysis under normal conditions, solvolysis with supercritical water yields predominantly n-alkanes. However, little is known about the mechanism involved and how the supercritical water interacts with the polymer. Various model polymers will be used to investigate the mechanism and kinetics of the solvolysis reaction. Additionally, a catalyst will be developed which can increase the reaction rate and lower the operation temperature.