Pyrowave Inc., an emerging company that depolymerizes plastics with microwave technology, is receiving a grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition for recycling polystyrene.
The $50,000 grant will allow the company to purchase equipment.
Pyrowave has developed microwave-based equipment to depolymerize recycled plastics and is initially focusing on post-consumer PS. The company's machines can deploymerize PS into a styrene oil with up to 95 percent yield, according to the coalition, which is part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute.
"Our initial polystyrene supply is mostly densified because not many jurisdictions know it can be recycled, so we have to source material from far locations until the movement is engaged," said Jocelyn Doucet, CEO of Pyrowave, in a statement. "With the support of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, we will have the ability to shred the densified material from our partners and reduce our costs of operation at our demonstration facility.
"Our goal is that once we demonstrate recyclability of polystyrene, we can see more collection programs implemented, which will increase demand for our equipment by local recyclers," Doucet continued.
News of the grant comes just a couple of weeks after Pyrowave entered a partnership with Ineos Styrolution America LLC to support work on the company's catalytic microwave depolymerization, or CMD, technology.
"Pyrowave's North American project is a significant component in our efforts to recycle polystyrene taking advantage of innovative technologies," said Ricardo Cuetos, a vice president with Ineos Styrolution, in a statement.
"We believe the future of plastic is circular. Our technology combined with the support of the industry will help improve our world's resource efficiency for the good of future generations," Doucet said in a statement.
Pyrowave is operating one machine producing styrene monomer from post-consumer PS in Montreal.
The company touts the modularity of the technology, which will allow machines to be placed at sorting facilities. The microwave technology produces what the company calls "particularly high yields of monomers with a very low energy consumption."
FPI President Lynn Dyer said providing a grant to Pyrowave helps close the plastics recycling loop.
"Companies like Pyrowave are advancing technologies to create innovative outlets for recycled polystyrene," Dyer said in a statement. "The beauty of the system that we're funding is the ability to design a closed loop, taking recycled foam food-service packaging and turning it back into a building block for future use in food-service packaging."
Pyrowave's said its small-scale modular approach features technology that can reprocess between 400 and 1,200 tons per year. The machine handles between 50 and 100 kilograms per cycle lasting 30 minutes.
"The equipment converts mixed plastics with or without food contamination into predominantly oil containing valuable waxes and monomers. The products are sold to chemical companies that reuse the monomers and waxes for [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] FDA-compliant applications and therefore cost effectively closes the loop of polymers life cycle," the company said.