Adsorption of functionalized aromatics species over activated carbons for plastics recycling applications: rationalizing adsorption mechanisms



Scientific disciplines

Chemical Sciences

Research direction

Catalysis, Biocatalysis and Separation

Affiliate site


Plastics recycling through chemical recycling routes has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years, to cope with complex plastics streams not handled by classical industrial mechanical recycling routes. The development of recycling processes is a major challenge for reducing wastes, developing new resources for the production of recycled plastics, and therefore reducing the use of fossil resources to produce polymers. Plastics chemical recycling main routes involve a depolymerization or deformulation step to recover the valuable monomer or polymer. However, additional purification steps are required to achieve high quality recycled polymers. Purification processes development is thus an important challenge for these applications.
Adsorption, especially using activated carbons, has proven to be an effective method for impurities removal in the scope of various applications. This PhD thesis aims to investigate the mechanisms involved in the adsorption of functionalized aromatic impurities resulting from PET additives, such as dyes, over activated carbons. The student will carry out the characterization of the adsorbents fine textural and microporous properties, as well as surface chemical reactivity, employing cutting-edge techniques such as FTIR, XPS, and Raman spectroscopies. Those adsorbents presenting finely tuned surface properties, eventually using surface modification techniques, will be used as model materials for the purpose of the study. Adsorption of the aromatic species on the carbon adsorbents will be then studied in static and dynamic conditions, to get insights into both thermodynamics and kinetics. Modeling adsorption equilibria, considering chemical interactions and adsorbent properties, will also be a central focus, utilizing computational tools like COMSOL and Matlab. The development of recycling solutions is an important challenge for the years to come and this PhD position is an opportunity to be part of it. This PhD thesis also offers the possibility of publications in renowned scientific journals and presentations at international conferences.

Keywords: adsorption, modelling, plastics recycling, activated carbon

  • Academic supervisor    PhD Conchi ANIA, CNRS-CEMHTI, ORCID : 0000-0001-9517-8132
  • Doctoral School    ED 552 EMSTU, Orléans University
  • IFPEN supervisor    PhD David CHICHE,, ORCID : 0000-0002-4275-2345
  • PhD location    IFPEN, Lyon, France
  • Duration and start date    3 years, starting in the fourth quarter 2024
  • Employer    IFPEN, gross salary 2425 €/month 1st year (revalued each year)
  • Academic requirements    Master degree in Chemistry, Materials sciences, Chemical Engineering
  • Language requirements    English level B2 (CEFR)    
  • Other requirements    Knowledge in adsorption, Comsol, Matlab is a plus.

To apply, please send your cover letter and CV to the IFPEN supervisor indicated here below.
Deadline for application is 28/06/2024

Encadrant IFPEN :