The Unit of Separation and Conversion Technology (SCT, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, VITO) develops technologies for the sustainability of production processes in the (bio)chemical sector, replacement of fossil resources by renewable feedstocks for the chemical industry and the treatment of waste streams into high value chemicals. A strategic research theme is focusing on the use of plastics next to wood/lignin as an alternative feedstock for the production of renewable aromatics. In this perspective, chemical recycling of waste plastics is in line with VITO’s goal which is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world where sustainability is the norm.
Within the field of plastics waste, VITO focuses on the chemical recycling whereby the main polymer(s) of the plastic waste are either recovered as such or are converted to new building blocks for various applications.
More information available on www.vito.be
Last years, VITO has developed strong expertise in processes relying on a technology based on efficient dissolution, solvolytic and catalytic depolymerization. Based on the deep technological and application knowledge acquired on biomass, more recently, the technology was also identified to be very suitable to treat specific waste plastics, allowing to address the huge challenge of plastic wastes and improve global carbon circularity.
To strengthen this research, we are looking for a 2 year research position to work within our Sustainable Polymer Technologies (SPOT) team. The focus of the research will be twofold, (1) contribute to the development of an efficient dissolution approach to recover intact polymers, as well as (2) the development of a chemical recycling method to chemically recycle heterogenous nitrogen-containing polymer waste (like PUR/PIR foams) into multifunctional depolymerization products which will be subsequently re-polymerized to generate a wide array of functional materials.
Closing date for applications: 28/2/2023
Starting date: flexible, latest at 1/5/2023
This position fits within the broader context of the chemical recycling of plastics towards new building blocks, either in the form of intact polymers or converted building blocks with added value. The work comprises technology development, detailed analytical characterization and assessment of potential functionalities for application.
The following tasks/actions are foreseen in our project to be conducted by the candidate, focusing on the separation/fractionation/purification of polymer waste with a focus on selected N-containing polymers (polyurethanes, in extension polyamides), and this both via modelling and experimental work:
Contact persons for more information: