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Issue 07/2022 Special Edition

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Highlights: Advanced Recycling Carbon Capture & Utilisation

Recycling Advanced

Recycling Advanced recycling technologies developing at a fast pace A dvanced A closer look into the technologies and their providers recycling technologies are developing at a fast pace, with new players constantly appearing on the market, from start-ups to giants and everything in between – new plants are being built, new capacities are being achieved, and new partnerships are established. Due to these developments, it is difficult to keep track of everything. The report “Mapping of advanced recycling technologies for plastics waste” aims to clear up this jungle of information providing a structured, in-depth overview and insight. It has an exclusive focus on profiling available technologies and providers of advanced recycling including the addition of new technologies and updated/revised profiles. Advanced recycling technologies to complement mechanical recycling Besides conventional mechanical recycling and in the context of discussions on the improvement of recycling rates, a wide spectrum of advanced recycling technologies is moving into focus. Mechanical recycling has clear limits, its further development will therefore continue to increase in importance in parallel with new advanced technologies. Contaminations are not removed in the process, which is why mechanically recycled plastics are often not approved for food contact. Concerns about contaminants and health issues in recycled products are justified, especially in cases where the human body is exposed to the material. These concerns can therefore not be solved with mechanical recycling alone. The usable raw materials represent an even greater limitation. In the cases of mixed plastic waste or even mixed waste of various plastics and organic waste, mechanical recycling is not possible, or only partially with considerable effort of pretreatment. These waste streams, therefore, mainly end up in landfill or incineration instead of further processing them into a feedstock for other products. This is why advanced recycling technologies will play a crucial role. Overall, 103 advanced recycling technologies were identified that are available on the market today or will soon be. The majority of identified technologies are located in Europe including first and foremost the Netherlands and Germany, followed by North America, Asia, and Australia. This report also features the first identified post-processing and upgrading technology providers which will also play a key role in the conversion of secondary valuable materials into chemicals, materials, and fuels. Different technologies in various scales are covered including pyrolysis, solvolysis, gasification, dissolution, and enzymolysis. All technologies and corresponding companies which include start-ups, SMEs, and large enterprises are presented comprehensively. The technical details, the suitability of available technologies for specific polymers and waste fractions, as well as the implementation of already existing pilot, demonstration or even (semi) commercial plants are described. Furthermore, all developments including partnerships and joint ventures of the last years have been systematically classified and described. Depending on the technology various products can be obtained which can be reintroduced into the cycle at various positions in the value chain of plastics (Figure 1). Different capacities can be reached whereby the largest capacities are currently achieved only via thermochemical methods using gasification or pyrolysis (Figure 2). With pyrolysis, a thermochemical recycling process is available that converts or depolymerises mixed plastic wastes (mainly polyolefins) and biomass into liquids, solids, and gases in presence of heat and absence of oxygen. Obtained products can be for instance different fractions of liquids including oils, diesel, naphtha, and monomers as well as syngas, char, and waxes. Depending on the obtained products new polymers can be produced from these renewable feedstocks. The majority of the 62 identified technology providers are located in Europe followed by North America, Asia, and Australia. With 25 companies most providers are small enterprises followed by micro/start-up-, medium – and large enterprises such as Blue Alp (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), Demont (Millesimo, Italy), INEOS Styrolution (Frankfurt, Germany), Neste (Espoo, Finland), Österreichische Mineralölverwaltung (OMV) (Vienna, Austria), Repsol (Madrid, Spain), Unipetrol (Prague, Czech Republic), VTT (Espoo, Finland), and Chevron Phillips (The Woodlands, TX, USA). With 40,000 tonnes per annum, the second-largest capacity can be reached with pyrolysis. The solvent-based solvolysis is a chemical process based on depolymerisation which can be realised with different solvents. The process breaks down polymers (mainly PET) into their building units (e.g. monomers, dimers, oligomers). After breakdown, the building units need to be cleaned from the other plastic components (e.g. additives, pigments, fillers, non-targeted polymers). After cleaning, the building units need to be polymerised to synthesise new polymers. In contrast to pyrolysis, fewer solvolysis technology providers are on the market also offering smaller capacities of up to 10,800 tonnes per annum. Of 22 identified solvolysis technology providers the majority are located in Europe followed by North America and Asia. With eight companies the majority of providers are mainly small enterprises followed by large-, medium-, and micro/start-up enterprises. Among the large enterprises, there are Aquafil (Arco, Trentino, Italy), Eastman Chemical Company (Kingsport, TN, USA), IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN) (Rueil-Malmaison, France), International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) (Armonk, NY, USA), DuPont Teijin Films (Tokyo, Japan), and Dow (Midland, MI, USA). Gasification represents another thermochemical process that is capable of converting mixed plastics wastes and biomass in presence of heat and oxygen into syngas and CO 2 . Currently, the largest capacities of up to 100,000 tonnes per annum are achieved. The majority of the ten identified gasification technology providers are located in North America followed by Europe. With four companies each, the 52 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17

By Lars Krause & Michael Carus nova-institute Hürth, Germany Recycling majority of providers are mainly small – and medium – enterprises. Eastman was the only identified large enterprise. Dissolution is a solvent-based technology that is based on physical processes. Targeted polymers from mixed plastic wastes can be dissolved in a suitable solvent while the chemical structure of the polymer remains intact. Other plastic components (e.g. additives, pigments, fillers, non-targeted polymers) are not dissolved and can be cleaned from the dissolved target polymer. After cleaning an anti-solvent is added to initiate the precipitation of the target polymer. After the process the polymer can directly be obtained, in contrast to solvolysis, no polymerisation step is needed. Currently, a maximum capacity of 8,000 tonnes per annum can be reached. The majority of the eight identified dissolution technology providers are located in Europe followed by Asia and North America. With four companies the majority of providers are mainly small enterprises followed by micro/start-up-, medium-, and a large enterprise which was represented by Shuye Environmental Technology (Shantou, China). Enzymolysis represents a technology based on biochemical processes utilising different kinds of biocatalysts to depolymerise a polymer into its building units. Being in early development the technology is available only at labscale. Currently, only one enzymolysis technology provider was identified which is a small enterprise located in Europe. The market study “Mapping of advanced recycling technologies for plastics waste” provides an indepth insight into advanced recycling technologies and their providers. More than 100 technologies and their status are presented in detail which also lists the companies, their strategies, and investment and cooperation partners. The study will be available soon in June 2022 for EUR 2,500 at Identified companies [#] Plastics Composites Plastics/ 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Polymers Mechanical Recycling Extrusion Physical-Chemical Recycling 8 Dissolution Physical Recycling Monomers Enzymolysis Biochemical Recycling Identified providers and capacity 22 Plastic Product End of Life Plastic Waste Collection Separation Qualities Solvolysis Chemical Recycling Monomers 62 Dissolution Solvolysis Pyrolysis Gasification Enzymolysis Idenfied companies Depolymerisation 10 Max. capacity Themochemical Recycling Figure 1: Full spectrum of available recycling technologies divided by their basic working principles. (Source: nova Institute, available at Monomers Figure 2: Overview of identified providers (blue bars) and maximum capacity (orange lines) depending on the technology. (Source: nova Institute) Mapping of advanced recycling technologies for plastics waste Authors: Providers, technologies, and partnerships Lars Krause, Michael Carus, Achim Raschka & Nico Plum (all nova-Institute) Diversity of Advanced Recycling Pyrolysis Themochemical Recycling Incineration CO Utilisation (CCU) Gasification Thermochemical Recycling 1 Naphtha 100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 CO Syngas Max. capacity [t a -1 ] June 2022 This and other reports on the bio-and CO2-based economy are available at www.renewable bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17 53

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