A Canadian company using microwaves to convert scrap polystyrene to styrene monomer has been awarded a Clean50 designation by a company promoting sustainability.
Pyrowave Inc. of Montreal garnered the award in the primary resources category for 2018. Clean50 awards were founded in 2011 by Delta Management Group, a Toronto-based sustainability and clean technology search firm.
Pyrowave has developed a new microwave technology better suited to PS-to-styrene production than earlier attempts at using microwaves to depolymerize PS, according to the company's co-founder Jocelyn Doucet. Other researchers in the field have encountered problems with electrical arcs generated when dirty resin is exposed to microwaves.
"We solved the problem with a power coupler," Doucet said in a phone interview. The power coupler prevents electric current jumping between surfaces of the scrap resin, he explained. Pyrowave has taken out patents and is applying for more patents in Canada, the United States and Europe. Doucet said the technology promises applications beyond plastic recycling.