Energy and aluminum recovery from pyrolysis products of metallised food packaging plastics

Plastic packaging waste is one of the most serious health and environmental problems that is getting a lot of attention at the present. However, most of the attention and technical solutions are focused on the waste that contains plastic films only, mixed metal / plastic film packaging is not getting enough attention. This applies to Metallized Food Packaging Plastics Waste (MFPW) in particular. It has a complex structure and consists of several plastic films (eg PE, PP, PVC, PS, PET, etc.) laminated by aluminum (Al), which is why its recyclability is poor (~ 20%). However, plastic materials contain a lot of natural materials that could be used as sustainable renewable energy sources, while aluminum could be used in mining applications and to solve shortages of natural resources in the EU.

Within this frame, the EAR-MFP project is developed to achieve these goals and to make MFPW a sustainable source for conversion and recovery of four main high value-added products: Bio-oil, Bio-gas, Al, and Char (Fine carbon powder ) using three sequential processes: pyrolysis, chemical leaching, and mechanical treatment. The pyrolysis experiments will be performed according to the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) concept, especially in the laboratory and pilot scale phases (in the range from TRL4 to TRL6), while the leaching and mechanical experiments will be performed in the laboratory scale phase only (TRL4). The project will be conducted at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) as a major coordinator and the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) as a partner for 32 months.

The proposed project consists of four WorkPackages (WPs);

  • WP1 : Experimental Study and Modeling of Thermal Decomposition of the Most Active MFPW consumed food products in the EU (at TRL4) using Thermogravimetric Analysis / Derivative Thermogravimetry (TGA / DTG) coupled with a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer system.
  • WP2 : Study of thermal conversion process of MFPW using a mini-pyrolysis plant at TRL6.
  • WP3 : Study of the thermal conversion process of MFPW using a mini-pyrolysis plant at TRL6 in the presence of different types of commercial (Zeolyst) microporous catalysts to select the appropriate catalyst with high oil yield.
  • WP4 : Recovery of Al and Refining of Carbon Powder from the resul_ng Pyrolysis Char at TRL4 using Chemical Leaching Treatment and Ball Mill Process, respectively. Fine carbon powder can be used in many applications, such as agricultural uses, adsorbing contaminants present in soils, etc., thus closing the loop of circular economy of MFPW and achieving the zero-waste principle.


Project financed by:
This research was funded by a grant (No. P-MIP-20-153) from the Research Council of Lithuania.

Project funding: 149 969 Eur

Project duration: 2020-03-10 – 2022-12-31
Project coordinator: Kaunas University of Technology

Project partners: Lithuanian Energy Institute


Lietuvos mokslo taryba

Project Team

Name, surname Office phone. e-mail

LEI Representative
Rolandas Paulauskas 105-LK +37037401830

Project Team
Justas Eimontas 102-LK +37037401976