Master thesis or student assistant
PET is a widely used polymer in different walks of human life. However, post-consumer and post-industrial PET waste accounts for 8% of the total plastic waste produced globally. Though mechanical recycling is commonly used to recycle PET, this strategy is not infinite. Alternatively, upcycling PET to its constituent monomers renders the waste stream as a valuable feedstock for the chemical industry and paves way towards a resource-efficient future. The aim is to develop and optimize the existing chemical recycling strategies of PET in strict adherence to the principles of green chemistry and sustainable chemical engineering.
The ultimate goal is to develop a holistic, intensified and sustainable strategy for chemical recycling of different grades of post-consumer and post-industrial PET waste. It involves optimizing the current chemical recycling strategy developed at Fraunhofer ICT using design of experiments. In addition, determining the kinetics of the reaction and subsequent modelling is also a part of this training. Further, an appropriate down streaming strategy for product purification should be synthesized and the entire process must be modelled and simulated in Aspen Plus® in order to estimate the cumulative energy demand (CED) of the process. Possible hotspots for process intensification and optimization through heat integration should also be identified. Results obtained from these tasks should be disseminated in relevant scientific publications and/or at appropriate conferences.