Clean Cycle investments, the investment company established by former Scholle IPN chairman and owner Laurens Last, and film and packaging manufacturer Südpack see a promising future for chemical recycling. The companies have announced that they have now signed a long-term investment agreement in Carboliq, the chemical recycling technology developed by engineering firm Recenso, specialised in the implementation of systems for resource recovery.
Carboliq technology is based on a process of Catalytic Tribochemical Conversion (CTC) - a one-stage direct liquefaction process, that involves the combined application of thermal, catalytic and mechanochemical mechanisms. CTC is applied at atmospheric pressure and at process temperatures below 400 °C. The process, during which almost no gasses are formed, produces a high ratio of oil, which is collected in a condensing system. Briquets, suitable for roast firing applications, are made from the residues.
Südpack initially started collaborating with Recenso just over a year ago. Materials from Südpack - complex laminated packaging films - have been successfully regenerated into what Recenso describes as a ‘high quality liquid resource suitable for the production of new virgin quality polymers’ at the Carboliq subsidiary at Ennigerloh, near Münster, where Recenso operates an industrial-scale pilot plant.
Now that Clean Cycle has come on board, the three companies propose to pool their expertise in the area of material management, aiming to further expand available chemical recycling capacities for a wide range of plastics, based on Carboliq’s technology. The pilot plant already offers convincing evidence of its potential to convert input materials including mixed and contaminated plastic wastes into a valuable resource. The process is also claimed to offer competitive advantages in terms of energy efficiency and low emissions. The oil recovered is virgin-grade quality and can be used by the plastics industry in the same way as fossil fuels.
The investment by Südpack and Clean Cycle in Carboliq creates a powerful company that will seek to foster and grow its capacities for recycling of a wide variety of plastics.
The aim is to create a closed-loop, high-performance and industrial-standard system that can handle the high-performance flexible packaging materials that can’t be mechanically recycled with current technology. “We aim to make them recyclable and therefore compatible with future needs,” said Christian Haupts, the CEO of Carboliq.
“Carboliq offers a key system component for creating a circular economy in the food packaging industry which can’t be achieved solely with mechanical recycling, also due to existing legislation,” added Dirk Hardow, Business Unit Manager at Südpack.”We see our investment in Carboliq as an opportunity for Südpack to expand the definition of plastic waste recycling beyond just mechanical recycling.” And also as a significant move towards the goal of a zero-waste company, said Johannes Remmele, the owner of the Südpack Group. The aim is zero waste, not only in its own material management but also in that of customers and stakeholders along the entire value creation chain.
For Clean Cycle Investments, a sustainable circular economy is a top priority, explained Laurens Last , which is why ‘we very deliberately incorporated the word ‘Cycle’ into our company’s name’.
“We’re fully confident that chemical recycling will play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable circular economy that even includes high-performance plastic packaging. Therefore, our involvement in Carboliq is not just an investment in a greener future, but also a matter close to our hearts,” he concluded.