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DGMK-Project Automotive Fuels

Production of fuels from household and packaging waste by pyrolysis (trash-to-fuel)

2022 to 2024 (planned)
Research Center
Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schrader
Reason and Goal

Germany is a country with a high volume of household and packaging waste. A large part consists of carbon-containing compounds such as biomass, various plastics, paper or wood. These materials are either landfilled, shipped or burned in waste incineration plants. However, these materials can also be a resource to create new carbon-based fuels. Especially in the context of the discussion about microplastics, end-use recycling of plastics is desirable. The aim of this project is the final recycling of household and packaging waste into a high value product, in this case fuels.


Within the scope of this project, a reactor is to be developed and optimized with which the various components found in household and packaging waste can be thermally converted into fuels. Pyrolysis is to be applied as the method. The expected pyrolysis oil will have a very complex composition depending on the starting materials. In order to reasonably control the reaction conditions during the conversion of such an inhomogeneous matrix as waste, a precise monitoring of the conditions is necessary. For this purpose, high-resolution analytical methods are being developed that will allow the reaction and the product mixtures formed to be accurately characterised. Important steps in the project are investigations of the behaviour of unwanted chemical compounds such as chlorides, acids, metals and an optimisation of pyrolysis oils for the use of fuels. Further issues include investigations into the upgrading of pyrolysis oils, particularly in the removal of oxygen-containing components, the development of a suitable catalyst for thermal conversion and an evaluation of the energy balance.

The project can open up a new market and should help to scientifically clarify the thermal conversion of household and packaging waste.


IGF application in preparation

Project Status

Project Coordinator

Jan Ludzay

Head of the Refining and Product Application Department

Nadine Ludzay

Coordination Refining and Product Application