Driving
Chemical Technology

The Laboratory for Chemical Technology (LCT) integrates chemical science and engineering in its research on catalysis, polymerization, kinetics, reactor design and process design. LCT is part of the Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering, within the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at Ghent University in Belgium.

Conversion of plastic waste to base chemicals via gasification (PSYCHE)

Aim

Multiscale analysis and modeling to design a vortex reactor fir plastic waste gasification

Context

Europe is trying to make the transition to a clean, circular economy. Plastic waste is one of the primary concerns because "the loop" cannot be closed through mechanical recycling, while re-use is only feasible to a limited extend. This makes that catalytic and pyrolytic chemical recycling, the topic of this project, is very likely to become one of the key technologies for our future. However, the limited fundamental understanding on the optimal design of both catalyst and reactor is lacking. Therefore, novel reactors need to be designed able to convert plastic waste to valuable gaseous or liquid products. Herein, the catalytic and non-catalytic gasification of waste plastics is studied. Although promising, this route is challenging as this requires careful reactor design. By performing well-chosen experiments in combination with theoretical work, optimal chemical recycling strategies need to be evaluated on different scales to gain insights in the underlying fundamentals. The PSYCHE partners (Université catholique de Louvain, UGent and Ecole Centrale de Lille), will comnine their creativity and expertise in experimentation and modelling will produce novel ground breaking results and concepts. Only this way, the EU ambitions towards a circular economy can be met.

Program

1.) Literature review on experimental plastic pyrolysis & kinetic models describing their thermal degradation
2.) Modifications to the existing reactive GSVR unit to make it favorable for performing plastic pyrolysis (catalytic & non-catalytic) experiments
3.) Simulations of plastic pyrolysis on the vortex reactor with the existing in-house 1-D model.
4.) Reactive CFD simulations for non-catalytic pyrolysis with in-house kinetic models (from literature), in a the pie geometry. These will be supported by CFD simulations with existing simple kinetic models from the literature.
5.) Non-catalytic pyrolysis experiments under reactive operating conditions, assisted with PIV measurements. The gaseous products obtained from these experiments will be analyzed in a GCxGC to obtained detailed product distribution. Perform catalytic pyrolysis of various plastic, in the GSVR, analyzed and characterized the product output and compare the results of the experiments with the model results for validation.
6.) CFD simulations on the GSVR with the in-house developed kinetic model for the catalytic pyrolysis of plastic waste and validate with the experimentally obtained data.

Advisors