Ten projects have been awarded €6 million each by the National Growth Fund program Circular Plastics NL to make circular plastics with technical innovations.

The Incubator Program of the National Growth Fund program Circular Plastics NL is conducting exploratory and foundational research. The research focuses on early developments of concepts (TRL 1-4) with the potential for large-scale applications. Below we highlight the members of the KNCV. All projects can be found here.

PolyPulse: Selective polymer recycling by intense light flashes
Dr. Sven Askes (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

The recycling of plastics can be greatly improved by treating the polymer with short heat pulses, which prevents the generation of low-grade byproducts. However, this has only been studied for slow heat pulses, which take much longer than chemical reactions. The researchers will improve this technology by treating plastics with extremely short infrared light flashes in a dynamic rhythm. This wireless and remotely controllable technique controls decomposition, minimizes unwanted byproducts, and is customizable for any plastic. PolyPulse focuses on finding pulse rhythms at which the product distribution of photo-thermal decomposition is optimal and takes the first step toward this new circular recycling process. Consortium: Eindhoven University of Technology, Veridis, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Designing solid surface composites for recycling (Solid CIRface)
Prof. Dr. Katja Loos (University of Groningen)

SolidCIRface revolutionizes the recyclability of things like kitchen countertops by using dynamic bonds in composite materials. Traditional composites, difficult to recycle, can now be transformed with reversible network rearrangement, ensuring complete recycling of matrix and filler. This project sets a new standard for sustainable materials and promises environmentally friendly, high-quality surface products. Consortium: AOC Resins, Marlan Solid Surface, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, University of Groningen

Towards Circular Use of Pigments in the Recycling of Plastics
Prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen (Utrecht University)

This project aims to develop and use new technologies to recover inorganic and organic dyes from polyesters, particularly polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycle streams, and reuse these dyes to synthesize recycled PET materials. The focus will be on commonly used dyes in PET bottles, which are of commercial interest. However, the recovery and reuse of such dyes can only be properly realized if their purity and stability are guaranteed. Consortium: CuRe Technology, Holland Colours, Utrecht University

Catalytic extrusion for recycling of plastic waste
Dr. Ina Vollmer (Utrecht University)

To recycle more plastic, new technologies are needed that produce a higher-quality product. Chemical transformations are promising, but those strong bonds in polyolefin plastics require high temperatures that make control of the transformations difficult and result in a low-value product. In this project, with an interdisciplinary consortium of polymer, catalysis, pyrolysis, extrusion and process evaluation experts, we are going to enable lower temperatures for the transformation by using mechanical forces in an extruder in conjunction with catalysis. This will achieve better control over the transformations and make chemicals such as the building blocks for new plastics. Consortium: Carboliq, Coperion, Ruhr University, Maastricht University, Utrecht University.