Having already demonstrated that its Plas-TCat technology for the continuous processing of solid, post-consumer plastic waste into light olefins and aromatics works, Anellotech is now planning to start testing a similar solution for textile waste.
Called Tex-TCat, the company says the technology, which makes use of fluid bed catalytic pyrolysis, delivers a direct pathway from mixed textile waste to secondary materials - BTX - rather than producing intermediates like pyrolysis oil.
Why the focus on textiles?
According to Anellotech, the fashion industry produces 100 billion garments each year. And each year, some 92 million tonnes of waste end up in landfills, mainly because of the lack of commercially viable recycling technologies for low-quality and mixed textiles as well as textile blends (existing technologies can recycle 100% cotton or polyester garments).
The Tex-TCat technology recycles synthetic and natural fibres into chemicals - benzene, toluene and xylenes - used today to make virgin synthetics like polyester and nylon — providing a closed-loop, fibre-to-fibre solution to the textile industry’s recycling problems.
“Tex-TCat has the potential to divert large quantities of previously unrecyclable textiles from landfills and provide major brands, through their existing suppliers, with recycled content,” said David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech.
Advanced lab testing and scale-up for the technology will commence in the short term. The development programmes' next steps include optimising the feedstock preparation for efficient reactor feeding as well as additional lab studies that will lead to long-term trials in Anellotech’s fully automated 0.5-tonne-per-day process demonstration plant. The ultimate goal is a full-scale plant able to process some 200,000 tonnes per year, followed by subsequent plants that may be as large as one million tonnes, depending on feedstock availability.