Tanja Fell

Tanja Fell works in the Research Department Advanced Recycling. She was involved in the optimization of PE recyclate quality, which is so good that high-quality new films can be produced from it.

© Fraunhofer IVV
Tanja Fell

What are you working on at Fraunhofer CCPE? What creative ideas are you currently pursuing in your research area?

Our work at RD3 in the CCPE is focused on increasing the recyclability of plastic waste, as well as the interconnection of different recycling processes. My team and I are pursuing the approach of generating high-quality recyclates from mixed packaging waste through solvent-based recycling. With this technology, recyclates from previously unused resources can be returned to the packaging industry.

Do you have a specific project example respectively why is this interesting for the industry/society?

The EU project Circular FoodPack is very attractive for industry and society as it aims at the circular use of plastic packaging even for the most sensitive product category food. With the approaches of sorting, deodorization and deinking pursued in combination with novel recycling processes mentioned above, the current quality level of recycled polymers is raised and a high degree of purity is achieved, which is necessary for highly demanding and sensitive packaging applications.

What is your highlight from almost (5) years of Fraunhofer CCPE?

Personally, I have only been a part of CCPE for 2.5 years. My highlight is that we have been able to optimize the PE recyclate quality, which is so good that we can produce high-quality new films from it. Another highlight for me is that I was able to co-author a book chapter on material characterization of plastic recyclates with other CCPE scientists.

What makes your work special? / How does your daily work routine look like?

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, I lead a team of 10 people in the Process Development Polymer Recycling department. We deal with recycling processes for packaging and textiles. Our main focus is on the development and process adaptation of solvent-based recycling for various wastes. We develop the individual process steps on a laboratory scale (100-1000ml) and transfer this to our pilot plant (80-100L). In doing so, we face the challenges of impurities like foreign polymers, color, odor while keeping the polymer intact. Furthermore, we have to keep in mind which process steps are also technically feasible and economical on large-scale plants.

What fascinates you about your work at Fraunhofer CCPE?

The interdisciplinary collaboration of different researchers from different institutes pursuing one common goal "Circular Economy".