CHEMREC I – 2024: 1st International Conference on Thermochemical Recycling of Plastics

Malaga, Spain

April 28 – May 2, 2024
Malaga, Spain

About This Conference

The conference will be a forum for discussion of the advances in thermochemical technologies for chemical recycling of plastic and plastic waste (e.g., pyrolysis, gasification, hydrogenolysis). The refining and/or upgrading of resulting product intermediates using standalone facilities or co-processed taking advantage of existing infrastructure will be also an important topic for this conference.

Final products are derived after proper fractionation, isolation, purification and/or upgrading, and contributions addressing the processing to marketable materials, chemicals and fuels are especially invited. This discussion will include techno-economic analyses and life cycle assessments.

The conference will also offer a platform to those who are able to report on commercially successful processes.

ChemRec I will be the first conference exclusively dedicated to thermochemical processing of plastic waste, and thus will be an important event to foster friendly and deep face-to-face discussions that could further catalyze the growth of this industry.

Conference Organization


Sascha Kersten

Sascha Kersten
University of Twente
The Netherlands

Pilar Ruiz

M. Pilar Ruiz
Maastricht University
The Netherlands

Erik Heeres

Erik Heeres
University of Groningen
The Netherlands

Main Themes and Format

  1. Characterization and pretreatment of plastic waste feedstocks (e.g., for contaminants removal).
  2. Fundamentals of pyrolysis, liquefaction, gasification and catalytic depolymerization technologies (reaction mechanisms, reaction kinetics, product selectivity, effects of heat and mass transfer limitations, catalysis).
  3. Reactor development and modelling (testing and modelling of lab-scale units)
  4. Process development and integration (testing of fully continuous laboratory setups and pilot installations providing a full mass balance closure, including pre-treatment, reaction and product separation).
  5. Product characterization, separation and upgrading (refers to chemical characterization, isolation, purification and post treatment / upgrading of the products from pyrolysis or liquefaction to e.g., remove contaminants/impurities.
  6. Successful demonstration, scale-up and commercialization

The format of the conference will be the “retreat-style Banff-format”. There will be no parallel sessions to allow all participants to be exposed and contribute to all presentations. Apart from 4 plenary lectures of 30 minutes each, the regular contributions will consist of short oral presentations (10~15 minutes + 2 min for change of speaker). Each presentation, however, will also be accompanied by a poster, to be presented normally during the social hour after dinner. The poster session will allow ample time for questions and answers and informal discussion between presenter and interested participants. Additional free-forum poster presentations will also be invited.

Networking time will be allowed during each afternoon. This will allow participants to engage in informal discussions and to spend time together enjoying the many beautiful outdoors activities available in the region.

Keynote Speakers

Katrina Knauer (NREL, USA)

Title: Catalytic Deconstruction & Upcycling of Plastic Waste in the BOTTLE Consortium

Bio: Dr. Katrina Knauer is a polymer chemist who has dedicated her scientific career to solving the plastic waste problem. She completed the BASF PhD Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2018 before taking a Senior Scientist role in BASF’s Plastics Division. Her research efforts focused on advanced recycling technologies which ultimately led her to leading Materials Innovation R&D at Novoloop, a chemical recycling startup. In 2021, Dr. Knauer joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Department of Energy’s BOTTLE Consortium where she is developing sustainable technologies to chemically upcycle today’s existing plastic waste streams and develop new plastics for the future that are recyclable by design.

Patrick Biller, Aarhus University (Denmark)

Title: Chemical recycling of plastics via hydrothermal depolymerisation 

Bio: Patrick Biller is an ERC Starting grant holder and leading the Hydrothermal Processing research group at Aarhus University,  Denmark. His research area lies in thermochemical processing of waste biomass and plastics with applications in biofuels, biorefining, bio-materials, polymer recycling, circular economy and wastewater treatment. Patrick completed his PhD in Processing Engineering at the University of Leeds in the UK in 2013 and has spent the last eight years in Denmark where he now works as an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering.

Geoff Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Itero

Title: Chemical Recycling R&D at scale

Bio: Geoff leads the engineering function, focusing on technology design and development. He has nine years’ experience in pyrolysis plant development and operation, in addition to experience developing novel cleantech solutions. Prior to Itero, Geoff held the position of Research Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory. He holds the CEng, MIChemE designation, as well as an MSci in Physical Natural Sciences from University College London.

About Itero: Since 2010, Itero has developed its expertise in thermal conversion (pyrolysis) technology and its application for turning waste into a resource. Complementing traditional recycling methods, Itero diverts plastics from landfill and incineration, while increasing recycling rates and reducing dependency on crude oil. The process effectively closes the loop in the virgin plastics supply chain. Itero’s proprietary technology is a large-scale, modular, patented technology that converts hard-to- recycle waste plastic back into a chemical feedstock for brand new circular plastics products. While developing its first at-scale demonstration plant in Sittard-Geleen, Itero is carrying out feedstock and product testing at its R&D facility in the UK, located near Heathrow.

Anthony Dufour, CNRS

Title: Effect of a reflux on the composition of liquids from plastic pyrolysis

Bio: I am a research director at CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research, France) working on the thermochemical conversion of biomass and wastes.

My main research interests are: fundamentals of biomass and plastics pyrolysis (by mass spectrometry, in-situ analysis, etc.), reactivity of carbons, catalysis for tar reforming or bio-oil hydrodeoxygenation, development of pyrolysis, liquefaction and gasification reactors, interdisciplinary assessment of bioenergy routes.

I was instrumental in organising the international conferences PYRO2016, ISGA2021 (with G. Mauviel) and PyroLiq2019 and 2023 (with F. Berruti, M. Garcia-Perez and W. Prins). I have collaborated with 100+ researchers. I currently work with various industrial companies on the development of pyrolysis or gasification processes.I served as an editor of Journal of Analytical & Applied Pyrolysis (Elsevier) from 2017 to 2020. I am currently executive editor of Energy & Fuels (American Chemical Society).

Stefanie Eiden, Covestro Deutschland AG

Title: How will Covestro become fully circular?

Bio: Dr. habil. Stefanie Eiden studied chemistry at the University of Hanover and received her diploma in 1990. Then she moved to the University of Konstanz, where she received her doctorate in 1994 in the field of solid-state chemistry. In 2004 she habilitated in the field of inorganic chemistry at the University of Konstanz. From October 2005 to 2015, she worked at Bayer Technology Service GmbH as a project manager in the field of product and process research. In 2015, she moved to Covestro, where she worked for example in process research for electrolysis processes. For 4 years she has been globally responsible in the field of circular economy for all activities related to pyrolysis.


Selected abstracts from this conference will be invited to submit a full paper in a Special Issue on Recent Advances in Thermochemical Recycling of Plastics, in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Energy & Fuels.

Call for Abstracts

Original papers for presentations at the above listed sessions are invited. If you wish to be considered for an oral or poster presentation, please submit a one-page abstract.  All abstracts will be reviewed by the session chairs. 


Abstracts submission for oral presentation: February 10, 2024
Abstract reviews: February 2024

Abstracts submission for poster presentations: February 29, 2024
Call for Free-Forum posters: Ongoing until April 30, 2024

Please prepare your abstract according to this template: docx or doc.

All abstracts should be submitted electronically and submissions must follow the template provided at This Link.

Abstracts of all presentations will be made available to conference participants prior to the start of the conference.

Graduate students and young investigators are particularly encouraged to present posters. An evening poster session will be an integral part of the conference. If an abstract has multiple authors, each of whom wishes an invitation to attend the conference, each author must submit a separate application.


(1) The optional publication of PowerPoint presentations delivered at the Conference in the ECI Digital Archives.

(2) Invitation for full paper submission in a special issue of a suitable internationally recognized refereed journal will be organized.

Venue Information

The conference will be held at the NH Hotel Malaga (Calle San Jacinto 2, 29007 Malaga, Spain).  The hotel is approximately a 15-minute drive from the airport and offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, AC/climate control, and a gym.  Renovated in 2019, it is located on the Riverwalk in the center of Malaga near shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.  It is close to the river with views of Esperanza Church.  It features outward facing rooms and soundproof windows.

The geographical location of Malaga is in the South of Europe.  It is the capital of the Costa del Sol and one of the major cities in Spain.  Its Old Town, with its bustling harbor, has been declared a Historic Artistic Site and Site of Cultural Interest.  The city enjoys a privileged position in what is the leading tourist area in mainland Spain, making it a lively and warm city where art, culture and tradition merge on the shores of the Mediterranean.

 Its three thousand years of history have given it its open, voyager, commercial and hospitable character. It is a cosmopolitan city with an eternal universal aspiration. The city has fantastic natural surroundings, theatres, and museums.  Moreover, there is the varied gastronomic attractions that provide from the most traditional cuisine to the very latest trends, both in the city’s Historical Quarter, or by the waters of the Mediterranean. It is known as Picasso’s City and is now a cultural center in Europe.

The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle


The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle are the main legacy of Malaga’s Arab past. These fortresses, built between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, represent one of the examples of the era’s best-preserved defensive architecture in Spain. There are fabulous views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea from the castle, which dominates the top of the mountain of the same name.

At the foot of both fortifications the Roman Theatre is located. Built in the times of Emperor Augustus, it hosts shows in a unique environment. It also has an innovative interpretation centre to learn about the life and customs of Roman Hispania.

Catedral de Málaga or de la Encarnación

Catedral de Málaga or de la Encarnación

Nearby is the Catedral de Málaga or de la Encarnación that was designed by Diego de Siloé.

Among the jewels of art held in the temple are the tallas del coro [carvings of the choir], the work by Pedro de Mena.


Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta
Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta

Malaga has a wide range of charming nineteenth-century buildings, such as the Teatro Cervantes, the Palacio de la Aduana or the Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta.  The city’s most iconic street culminates in the plaza de la Constitución, presided over by the Renaissance style Fuente de Génova. From here one can admire the picturesque Pasaje de Chinitas, the Casa del Consulado and the Ateneo de Malaga, the old school where Picasso began to draw.

Museo Picasso Málaga 

Museo Picasso Málaga
Museo Picasso Málaga

The most important cultural area of the capital is dedicated to the Malaga genius. Nestled in the Palacio de los Condes de Buenavista, built in 1520, the Museo Picasso Málaga is the answer to the artist’s desire to exhibit some of his work in his hometown. The permanent collection is made up of more than two hundred paintings, sculptures and ceramics.

Casa Natal de Picasso 

Casa Natal de Picasso
Casa Natal de Picasso

Next to the museum is the Casa Natal de Picasso (the artist’s birthplace), on the corner of the Plaza de la Merced, and the Iglesia de Santiago, where Picasso was baptised in 1881. The temple was built on an ancient mosque and has a Moorish tower initially conceived as a minaret.

Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga

Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga

The city also has one of the most valuable painting collections in Spain: the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga. Located in the Palacio de Villalon, there are more than two hundred works in the country’s most representative collection of nineteenth century Andalusian art sample.

Centre Pompidou de Málaga

Centre Pompidou de Málaga
Centre Pompidou de Málaga

Another must for art lovers is the Centre Pompidou de Málaga, the first one built outside of France. This space is dedicated to avant-garde creations, in the same way as the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, housed in an old market near the river Guadalmedina.

General Information About ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a not-for-profit, global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962 that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Poster sessions will be scheduled for evening discussion as well. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

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