Koch Technology Solutions (KTS), a Koch Engineered Solutions company, and Ioniqa Technologies have announced they have entered into an agreement to scale up and commercialize Ioniqa’s proprietary advanced PET recycling technology.
As part of this collaboration, KTS has committed to investing up to 30 million euros ($29.9 million) in Ioniqa, a clean-tech spinoff from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
The process developed by Ioniqa is based on depolymerization technology. It uses low-grade post-consumer PET to produce a feedstock that can replace virgin raw materials in the production of PET. During the process, the waste PET is submerged in a solution, such as water or glycol. The molecular structure of the polymer, then slowly dissolves after which the raw material is harvested.
The method allows currently non-recyclable PET waste to be turned into a valuable resource to produce materials suitable for high-quality food grade applications such as beverage bottles.
The technology has been successfully demonstrated at Ioniqa’s 10,000 metric tons per year production facility, located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, which went into operation in 2019. KTS’ interest in Ioniqa is rooted in the company’s long history in the polyester industry.
“We recognize the value proposition of this disruptive technology that will fundamentally change how recycling is done," said KTS President Adam Sackett.
Demand for PET today is around 30 million tonnes per year. Good quality recycled PET, however, is in short supply, an issue that is already causing problems in the value chain. And as new legislation requiring recycled content in PET bottles approaches, demand for food-grade recycled PET is set to increase.
Ioniqa's technology has the potential to provide a sustainable economic recycle proposition to conventional manufacturing routes, by driving a circular process that addresses environmental impacts of the current PET industry.
“This KTS partnership is a major stepping stone for Ioniqa in commercializing its technology on a global level,” said Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO and founder of Ioniqa. “Our expertise in breaking down plastic waste into virgin-like monomers matches seamlessly with KTS' track record in designing and licensing PET production processes worldwide. We believe that together we can meet the strong market demand for recycled PET materials by jointly providing licenses and cleaning up the planet".