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Master thesis: Optimization of the plastic washing process for plastic recycling

AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC)
AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) was founded in 1988 and is today one of the leading European institutes for applied research in the field of renewable energy and resource efficiency. AEE INTEC currently employs around 85 people from 15 different countries in Gleisdorf. With an average of four PhD students and around ten diploma students, interns and student assistants, the institute also contributes to the training of highly qualified specialists.

Research project
The master's thesis is part of the ongoing FFG research project "circPLAST-mr" - Mechanical recycling of plastics: From waste plastics to high-quality, specification-compliant recyclers under the leadership of the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. AEE INTEC is leading the work package for resource- and energy-efficient plastics washing.
The master's thesis focuses on the optimization of plastic washing, which is a very energy-intensive and resource (water) demanding step in plastics recycling. The project focuses on optimizing the operating mode of the main washing unit "friction washer", as well as reducing the need for fresh water and on-site water treatment. This optimization should also take place for different starting materials (e.g., hard plastic, films, etc.) and different degrees of dirt. For the experimental part, an existing pilot plant at the LIT Factory in Linz will be used and washing tests will be carried out in the AEE laboratory.

Master thesis
The aim of the master's thesis is to investigate and evaluate the operating parameters of the friction washer at the LIT-Factory of the JKU Linz. This includes various series of experiments to optimize the water cycle, adapt the process to different starting materials and possibly the wastewater treatment strategies.

The tasks of the master’s thesis include:

  • Carrying out plastic washing tests on different scales, from the laboratory at the AEE in Gleisdorf to the pilot plant with the friction washer at the LIT factory in Linz
  • Wastewater analysis and possible treatments
  • Development of optimization concepts regarding resource conservation and energy use
  • Data preparation and scientific analysis, including literature research

What we look for

  • Solution-oriented, creative, independent, and reliable way of working
  • Interest in renewable technologies and practical activities in the laboratory
  • Basic knowledge of mass- and energy balances and laboratory work

We offer

  • Paid master’s thesis with close involvement in an ongoing research project
  • Support from experienced employees, competent technical support
  • Duration: around 6 months, from Summer 2024

DIin Dr.in Bettina Muster-Slawitsch,
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-471,
E-Mail: b.muster@aee.at

Mauricio Miguel Fragali Pane,
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-264,
E-Mail: m.pane@aee.at