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Multilayer plastic film chemical recycling via sequential hydrothermal liquefaction

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Multi-material layered plastic films are used in the food packaging industry due to their excellent properties; however they cannot be mechanically recycled. In this study, a two-stage hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process is proposed and tested for chemical recycling of a two-layer film made of LLDPE-PET. Experimental results showed that after a first subcritical stage at 325 °C, 94% of terephthalic acid (TPA) is recovered from the PET fraction as a solid and 47% of ethylene glycol in the aqueous phase. The unconverted PE was then used as feedstock for a subsequent supercritical HTL stage at 450 °C for 90 min, achieving mass yields of 47% and 29% in a naphtha-gasoline oil and in an alkane-rich gas, respectively. In conclusion, this work proved that a sequential HTL procedure can be used for chemical recycling of multilayer plastics, allowing the recovery of PET monomers to be recycled back to the PET industry and a paraffinic oil and hydrocarbon-rich gas phase that could be used as feedstock for steam cracking to produce virgin materials.

TidsskriftResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Independent Research Foundation Denmark project CatPol: Catalytic depolymerization of synthetic polymers , grant number 1032–00263B

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

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