Recycler United Resource Recovery Corp. has put on hold plans for its first commercial-scale factory in North America, citing problems raising capital. URRC also is searching for a new engineering partner after talks with Krones AG ended.
URRC, based in Spartanburg, S.C., announced in early 2002 that it wanted to build a large plant that would use its system for recycling containers collected in curbside recycling back into food and beverage containers. At the time, the company said it wanted to have the plant operating by early 2003.
But the firm said it has been harder than anticipated to raise money.
``It's just a difficult time to raise the capital,'' said Gerry Fishbeck, URRC vice president of operations. ``Everyone is facing the same problems.''
Fishbeck said his firm's fund-raising problems mirror those of container maker Graham Packaging Holding Corp. in York, Pa., which delayed plans for an initial public offering last summer.
He said the delay does not reflect any questions about the firm's partial depolymerization technology, which works by cleaning surface contaminants from recycled PET and also deep cleaning the polymer.
The company's current pilot operation in Spartanburg, which processes 10 million pounds a year, is running at full capacity, seven days a week. The new plant would have had four times the capacity.
He declined to say when the firm hopes to build the new plant.
URRC also said talks have ended between the company and equipment supplier Krones. The two companies had hoped to establish a formal partnership that would have made Krones the engineering partner and used URRC technology to build recycling plants for other firms, Fishbeck said.
But Krones, based in Neutraubling, Germany, told URRC it had decided in December it wanted to ``depart from the PET recycling market,'' Fishbeck said.
Krones officials declined to comment, but the company's Web site had mentioned URRC prominently. The site said Krones was the main contractor in building a recycling plant for waste hauler Cleanaway Ltd. in Germany, using URRC technology.
Fishbeck said URRC will seek out other engineering partners.
A second company that uses the technology in Europe, RecyPET, has a plant in Switzerland that can reprocess 30 million pounds annually.
Cleanaway has purchased the patents for much of Western Europe, he said.