Ina Vollmer

Ina Vollmer

Assistant professor
Utrecht University

Ina Vollmer



Contact information

David de Wiedgebouw 4.84

Email address

Key expertises

plastic recycling, chemical recycling, depolymerization, heterogeneous catalysis, spectroscopy

About me

Dr. Vollmer studied process engineering at Hamburg University of Applied Science (BSc., 2013) and chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MSc., 2015). In her PhD, she researched the aromatization reaction of methane over metal on zeolites with Prof. Freek Kapteijn and Prof. Jorge Gascon with a short stay at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (PhD, 2019). After a two-year postdoc Utrecht University and she started a tenure track position in 2021.

About my research

Unfortunately, only 12 % (by weight) of plastic packaging is recycled globally, mainly because the predominantly applied recycling technique of melting and re-extrusion produces a lower quality plastic. Chemical pathways could turn plastic waste into valuable chemical building blocks like aromatics, monomers or surfactants. Ina Vollmer works on such strategies, especially for polyethylene and polypropylene packaging, because of their dominance and the challenges in converting them to high purity products. This involves using catalysts to lower energy demand and improve product purity as well as novel strategies via mechano-catalysis, using mechanical force to break chemical bonds at low temperatures, and photo-assisted routes. The idea to use mechano-catalysis to facilitate low temperature conversion was awarded with a Veni and an ENW XS grant.