GAIKER leads the NEOPLAST 2 project to generate valuable products through chemical recycling of plastic waste

Bizkaia, News

The NEOPLAST2 project is researching the fundamentals to provide the Basque industrial fabric with ways to close the cycles of plastic materials by applying chemical recycling technologies, treating their waste and generating valuable products.

The GAIKER Technology Centre, a member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA, is the coordinator of the NEOPLAST 2 project, the aim of which is to carry out research to develop, improve and adapt chemical recycling processes that facilitate the conversion of different plastic waste into high quality resources, capable of meeting the specifications demanded by the most demanding secondary raw material markets. The aim is to generate knowledge so that the industrial fabric can make a better, more sustainable and circular use of plastic materials.

Improving the management of plastic waste has become a global demand due to the impact it has on people, ecosystems and the natural environment. Chemical recycling has been confirmed as part of the solution, both to take advantage of plastic waste that is difficult or unfeasible to recycle by conventional mechanical means, and to obtain chemically recycled products that are practically indistinguishable from the initial raw materials.

The NEOPLAST 2 project, which is currently tackling the product generation and quality improvement phases, was created with the aim of researching and developing different chemical recycling processes to their full extent. Specifically, work is being carried out to increase the selectivity of the solvolysis reactions of plastics made up of condensation polymers or of the pyrolysis and gasification processes of plastic mixtures, and also to define the adsorption or extraction operations that manage to purify substances and fractions, such as monomers or oils, in order to demonstrate that it is possible, viable and environmentally beneficial to produce new chemically recycled plastics.

Funded by the Basque Government, with its ELKARTEK programme of aid for fundamental collaborative research in the years 2023-2024, the NEOPLAST 2 project (Ref. KK-2020/00107), in addition to the GAIKER technology centre leading it, has the participation of four other Basque technological agents, the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Environment of the UPV/EHU, TECNALIA and POLYMAT, which contribute their knowledge to convert plastic waste into products by thermochemical and solvolytic means combined with catalysis, process control, product purification or chemical synthesis.

GAIKER, a benchmark in mechanical and chemical recycling, with extensive experience in waste characterisation and treatment, obtaining products, designing recycling schemes and scaling operations and processes, will have, thanks to this research, the complete knowledge to understand and effectively apply chemical recycling by catalytic solvolysis. Specifically, with the conversion of polyester (PET) and polyurethane (PU) waste, controlling parameters and reaction conditions and improving the grade of the resulting products, it will generate monomers and chemical products with high added value by obtaining grades for the most demanding applications such as the synthesis of new resins.


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