The search for the graduate in IngChemical engineering UCBM together with Aeneas

16 October 2020 -  The Master's Degree Course in IngChemical Engineering for Sustainable Development it is a path aimed at creating transversal professionals, equipped with a high capacity for planning and innovation, capable of operating in the sectors of planning, operational management, marketing of industrial systems and services. In fact, the employment rate of graduates (def. Istat Workforce) is 82% reaching 100% after 5 years (Almalaurea data source) with a permanent contract for over 83%. Among these, some choose to dedicate themselves to research, especially in the sector of environmental protection and the circular economy, among which the recycling and recovery of plastic is one of the topics.

According to Corepla (National Consortium for the collection of plastic packaging), in our country in 2017 only 43,5% of the packaging collected was recycled. The rest ended up in waste-to-energy plants (40%) and in landfills (16,5%). Yet the packaging can be totally reused to produce hydrocarbon oil. This is precisely the heart of the research project by Marco Cocchi, graduated in IngChemical Engineering for Sustainable Development and currently a PhD student at theUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma. The young man, who works in the Chemical-Physical Fundamentals Research Unit ofIngChemical engineering directed by teacher. Vincenzo Piemonte, is the first signatory of the publication on Catalyst entitled "Catalytic Plastic Pyrolysis process”. Conducted in collaboration with Aeneas, experimentation, which has already involved Piergianni Nardozzi, now graduated in, through a master's thesis project IngChemical engineering at our university, consists of using a thermal process called catalytic pyrolysis which decomposes organic materials for the production of an oily hydrocarbon liquid to be used for the production of other plastics, but also of fuels and industrial raw materials for fine chemistry. An indispensable element for the catalytic pyrolysis tested in the project is zeolite, a mineral compound obtained at zero cost from the ashes of coal processing and from red mud, a polluting industrial waste generated by the production of aluminium. Present in considerable quantities on the beaches of Portoscuso, in the south of Sardinia, red mud is the symbol of one of the most important environmental problems of the mining industry which is thus recovered, giving life to a clear example of a circular and sustainable system.

The process studied by Cocchi, within an installation of modest dimensions created ad hoc at the Enea laboratories, led by dr. Richard Tuffi, represents an innovative reuse of discarded packaging, helping to reduce the amount of incorrectly recycled plastic. A pilot study which in perspective has the objective of giving life to the creation of systems useful for serving the needs of entire communities.