Canadian plastics recycling company Pyrowave has won first prize in the IQ-CHem International Chemistry Innovation Competition for its use of microwave radiation to depolymerise plastic. The competition was organised by SIBUR, one of the largest chemical groups in Russia.
In total, 251 teams from 27 countries took part in the international IQ-CHEM contest with applications from Russia, India, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. The final presentation took place at the Skolkovo Startup Village 2017 and involved a judging panel comprised of directors and executives from companies such as The Dow Chemical Company, Linde, LG, Honeywell UOP, DuPont, 3M, BASF and Sinopec.
“The jury assessed that the technological solution offered by Pyrowave – of using microwave radiation to depolymerise plastic, using technology that has already been proven in other areas of usage – is an idea with strong market potential,” said Dmitry Stepkin, Director of Corporate R&D at SIBUR.
Using a technology properly known as Catalytic Microwave Depolymerisation (CMD) and small-scale modular units - capable of treating 400-1,200 tons/year on-site – Pyrowave has shown that the commercial de-polymerization of mixed plastics with or without food contamination is possible.
“It's like un-zipping the plastic into their initial constituents with the very targeted action of microwaves so that plastic manufacturers can easily re-zip them into new plastics that can be used in identical applications”, says founder and CEO Jocelyn Doucet.
Pyrowave's process is the first commercial process that can convert polystyrene waste into Recycled Styrene Monomer (RSM) with up to 90% yield and is supported by several actors from the polystyrene value chain including manufacturers, transformers, retailers and recyclers.
The company is ramping up the production of post-consumer polystyrene at its Valleyfield, Quebec facility and is looking for partners interested in supplying waste polystyrene volumes for conversion into RSM, in addition to the agreements already in place with various municipal sorting facilities as well as private retailers, brand owners and recyclers.
“We are basically offering our long-term partners a possibility to recycle all their polystyrene waste including foodservice items, and convert them into commodities traded on a worldwide market”, adds Jocelyn Doucet.
The company is also looking for investors interested to join its current series A. The funds will allow Pyrowave to build and install additional machines to increase the production capacity of Recycled Styrene Monomer.
“We have contracts in place with the largest polystyrene companies and we need additional capacities to be able to match the enormous demand for recycled chemicals”, said Jocelyn Doucet.