DSM Engineering Materials and clean-tech company Clariter have entered a strategic partnership aimed at establishing a new end-of-life solution based on chemical recycling for products made with DSM’s Dyneema, an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber. Together, DSM’s Protective Materials unit and Clariter are currently testing the feasibility of using Dyneema as a feedstock in Clariter’s advanced recycling process.
As a first step, sample products, such as ropes, nets and ballistic materials made with Dyneema, have now been successfully converted at Clariter’s pilot plant in Poland. Next to demonstrating the recyclability potential of Dyneema, the tests confirmed the technical viability of transforming Dyneema-based end-products into industrial grade oils, waxes, and solvents via Clariter’s proprietary and patented three-step chemical recycling process.
As a next step, building on the success of the lab-scale trial, Clariter has scheduled commercial-scale trials at its facility in South Africa for 2021. Ultimately, the aim is to use Dyneema-derived feedstock in its full-scale European plants that will be built in the coming years.
“Looking at the logistics challenge to collect many tons of used marine ropes, nets, and ballistic materials is daunting. However, when an economical route presents itself, suddenly the next horizon seems within reach,” said Petra Koselka, Chief Operations Officer at Clariter.
Clariter was founded in 2004 by Ran Sharon, based on technology developed by a Polish chemistry professor Andrzej Bylicki. Sharon set set up a pilot in Poland and reached proof-of-concept within two years. This was soon followed by a large manufacturing and development facility in South Africa. The plant has been operational since 2018, serving as a model for future facilities worldwide, and demonstrating the technological potential to potential clients.
In addition to the present partnership, with the focus on chemical recycling, DSM will continue to actively explore the possibilities of reducing the environmental impact of its Dyneema material across all product life stages. Next to launching a bio-based Dyneema — using the mass balance approach — DSM Protective Materials is also looking at various reuse and recycling solutions for end-of-life Dyneema-based products.
“Recyclability is key to us, our customers, and society at large and achieving it requires cross-value chain efforts,” said Roeland Polet, President DSM Protective Materials.