PureCycle Technologies Inc. is moving another step closer to startup at the company's polypropylene recycling facility in Ohio.
The Orlando, Fla.-based company, which has experienced a series of delays, is saying the facility's construction is now complete and that it expects production to begin during the current fiscal quarter, which ends June 30.
PureCycle filed paperwork with Leidos Engineering LLC, an independent construction monitor, in an effort to gain certification of completion. That's an important milestone required by project financing, the company said.
As Leidos considers certification, PureCycle will now begin what the company calls "operational pre-startup, safety review processes" within plans to begin making PP pellets.
PP has been held up as the next big market for plastics recycling in recent years, but the needle has not moved that much even as recyclers talk about the potential. Just a small amount of PP is recycled these days. PP recycling estimates vary, but they are typically in the low single digits. That compares with rates of just under 30 percent for both PET and high density polyethylene.
PureCycle's facility has an annual capacity to handle 107 million pounds of PP using a solvent-based technology originally developed by Procter & Gamble Co., the consumer products company. The technology essentially washes away contaminants, colors and odors to create a virgin-like resin.
"This is an important step toward making recycled materials more readily integrated into products and packaging and consistent with P&G's interest in enabling more sustainable solutions for our industry," said Victor Aguilar, chief research, development and innovation officer at P&G.
PureCycle calls output from the process Ultra-Pure Reycled resin, or UPR.
"Now that construction is complete, we can begin our ramp-up plan and start producing UPR pellets," PureCycle CEO Dustin Olson said in a statement. "This is a transformative moment for PureCycle."
A local economic development official estimated the plant will create 80-100 jobs.
PureCycle has always described the company's process in fairly general terms.
"PCT's recycling technology is a purification recycling process that uses a combination of solvent, temperature and pressure. Waste stream polypropylene is returned to near-virgin condition through a novel configuration of commercially available equipment and unit operations," PureCycle said in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The process puts the plastic through a physical extraction process using super critical fluids that both extract and filter out contaminants and purify the color, opacity, and odor of the plastic with minimal controlled alteration of the physical characteristics of the polymer. By not altering the chemical makeup of the polymer, the company is able to use significantly less energy and reduce production costs as compared to virgin resin," the filing said.