Avantium RDS investigates cleaning up plastic pyrolysis oil using high-throughput adsorption experiments in batch

With an increasing amount of focus on closing the carbon loop, reusing waste materials is a key. Many strategies are being explored, with a focus on pyrolysis emerging as a highly promising strategy to transform plastic waste into valuable resources. In this particular project, an oil with high concentration of impurities from plastic pyrolysis hinder further processing through thermocatalytic methods. To overcome this challenge, adsorption can be used as an effective unit operation to mitigate these impurities.

During the early discovery phase of the adsorption process, starting with a batch technology offers significant advantages. First and foremost, batch technology provides easy & fast experiments to generate valuable data/insight which helps to tailor design of experiment and setup for further scale-up experimentation in continuous mode.

Here, batch technology was applied to investigate the suitability of different classes of adsorbents for this particular process. Since contaminant levels are in the ppm range and spread out over multiple species in a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, an elemental analysis technique was used to probe contaminant levels in feed and products. Adsorption experiments were carried out in our Batchington platform which only utilizes 2 mL oil per experiment and can execute 24 adsorption experiments in parallel.

Introducing our Batchington, designed for effortless operation and improved safety. A compact working volume of the parallel batch reactors enables to optimize reaction screening capabilities and simplify decision-making.

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The graph below shows the aggregated results of the executed series of batch experiments and it can be clearly observed that several adsorbents manage to remove up to 90% of the contaminants present in the raw oil. In this campaign, 72 adsorbents were evaluated in 3 experiments of 1 day each. Successful candidates can be explored further in a breakthrough experiment that typically lasts several weeks. Applying this prescreening tool in batch enables to evaluate various adsorbents rapidly and save valuable time in project timelines.



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