Plastics are the most successful material ever made by humankind; they are everywhere, successfully substituting all materials that were there before.
Plastics play a fundamental role in the protection, extension of product life, hygiene and product safety, and after different functionalization, they play active role in many solutions.
Their undisputed success, witnessed by the sheer amount of plastics produces annually – close to 400 million tons mainly determined by their flexibility, weight reduction, low cost, functionalities and last but not least, resistance to degradation.
Many, client demanded functionalities or features, in the design of the material, have become problems in their end-of-life (EOL) because plastics are not readily degradable and due to their diversified structure, are not easy to recycle.
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Chemical recycling is a possible method for recycling plastics in a circular fashion, converting waste plastics into renewable resources – open loop, or plastics to X, P2X- or closed loop, plastics to plastics, P2P.
Thermochemical plastic recycling is either done by pyrolysis or by gasification, these processes differ from combustion, or material incineration, by not forming CO2, while pyrolisis is an anoxic (no oxidants) process, gasification is a partial oxidation with limited amounts of oxidants. Pyrolysis breaks the material statistically into the whole homologue carbon series, from C1 to C30. Gasification, on the other side, will break the organic material into its most simple molecular constituents: carbon and hydrogen.
Note the different temperature and pressure range. Classically, gasification has been caried out at high, above 800°C to extremely high (above 3500°C, plasma) temperatures. We have developed a proprietary low-temperature conversion technology (LTC) that allows us to run the process bellow 450°C under normal pressure. This LTC technology is the game-changer, because it allows for the breaking-even. Besides the economic advantage, it is, contrary to pyrolisis, insensitive to polymer being mixed, contaminated or degraded.
Gasification, has been avoided because it was considered an economically not viable, high-temperature and high-pressure process, difficult to manage. LTC, has made it an economically viable solution for the plastic pollution problem. It converts plastics to syngas, a gas composed essentially of carbon (monoxide) and hydrogen. Two much sought for commodities for the chemical industry, for the production of renewable chemicals (open loop recycling), including the structural units for new plastics (closed loop recycling).
Our chemical recycling technology brings the circular economy paradigm to the waste plastic management, converting the waste into valuable renewable resources.