The PSYCHE project on the conversion of plastic waste to base chemicals via gasification and subsequent Fischer-Tropsch synthesis has received European funding via the Interreg France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen program (total budget 2.6 million euro). The project, started on July 1st 2018, is a collaboration between Ghent University, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Ecole National Supérieure de Chimie de Lille (ENSCL)-Centre Nationale de la Recherche (CNRS) and CERTECH. The coordination of the project will be performed by Ghent University. Co-funding is provided by the province of East-Flanders, the province of West-Flanders, the Walloon Region and by the Direction Générale Opérationelle de l’Economie, de l’Emploi et de la Recherche (DGO 6, Walloon Region).

The PSYCHE project focusses on the production of base chemicals out of plastic waste for application in the chemical industry. Expectations are that the production of plastics (currently amounting to 8 million tons of PE, PP, PS and PVC in Europe) will be a fourfold higher by 2050 than today, resulting in a considerable environmental impact and economic loss if these plastic waste streams are handled according to the current recycling strategies. These current strategies mostly consist of landfilling and incineration of the plastic waste. Since mechanical recycling is not feasible for certain streams of plastic waste, thermochemical recycling towards the original chemical building blocks is an interesting alternative. Within the project, the gasification of several plastic waste streams will be demonstrated by using an innovative technology. The obtained gas will then be catalytically transformed into base chemicals such as linear alpha-olefins.

Cross-border cooperation

In view of the presence of numerous relevant companies in the cross-border zone France, Flanders and Wallonie, the problems tackled within this project are extremely relevant for this region. The project is supported by the regional clusters Catalisti (spearhead cluster on chemistry and plastics in Flanders), GreenWin (competence cluster on green economy and sustainable development in Wallonia) and MATIKEM (competence pool on materials, chemistry and green chemistry in France). These clusters will assist in dissemination of the project results to the companies present in the program region. In this way, the PSYCHE project contributes to the securement of the strategic position of the present industrial tissue on plastics in Europe and its transformation to a circular industry.