Following the conclusion of the conceptual design phase for the planned construction of a PS depolymerization plant in Wingles, France, project partners Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo today announced the selection of UK-based Recycling Technologies as the technology partner for the project.
The companies announced in September 2020 that two technology concepts would be evaluated — from Agilyx and from Recycling Technologies — with regards to quality, efficiency and adaptation to different waste streams.
Following a detailed assessment of technology options, Recycling Technologies’ modular solution was found to provide the highest yields in the conversion of PS to styrene monomer and the most scalable solution, due to the company’s fluidized bed reactor and onsite technical expertise.
The depolymerization technology developed by Recycling Technologies allows contaminated polystyrene packaging waste to be converted directly back into the original liquid monomer, which then can be repolymerized into recycled polystyrene with properties that are identical to virgin PS, making this suitable even for food contact applications. Life cycle assessment calculations show significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions when compared with PS production from naphtha.
In addition to the first installation at Wingles, France — the location being, as Sven Riechers, Vice President, Business Management, Standard Products EMEA at Ineos Styrolution, pointed out at ‘one of our polystyrene plants in Europe’ and therefore ‘perfectly suited for our future recycling facility’ — Trinseo will be building a facility of its own in Tessenderlo, Belgium. Both facilities are expected to be operational in 2023. Both aim to convert 15 kilotonnes per year of PS waste into recycled styrene.
Prior to building the commercial-scale recycling plants, a PS recycling pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022, and the technology will be further developed jointly by the three parties. The pilot plant will provide information and data related to chemical recycling and operations to support the future development of these first two commercial-scale recycling plants.