Belgium-headquartered waste management company Indaver has selected technology developed by Swiss fluid engineering company Sulzer Chemtech for its new Plastics2Chemicals (P2C). The demo-scale plant, currently under construction in Antwerp, will use Sulzer’s separation technology to reclaim and purify 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year.
This demo plant is the first of a number of sustainable P2C facilities that Indaver plans to build in strategic locations across Europe. The company aims to realise a total annual recycling capacity of one million tonnes of used plastic.
At the new facility, the plastic waste will undergo a depolymerisation process, during which the long plastic macromolecules -polymers- are broken down into simple monomers. Sulzer Chemtech is supplying the equipment to subsequently recover and purify the monomers, which can then be further processed back into virgin-like resin suitable for use in numerous applications, including packaging materials and electronic devices.
Indaver decided to opt for Sulzer’s technology following a visit to Sulzer Chemtech’s in-house pilot plant at Allschwil, Switzerland, where extensive testing was also carried out.
Sulzer is delivering four units that will run proprietary processes aimed at enhancing the quality of the recovered styrene or oil fractions following depolymerisation, to yield a purer chemical feedstock.
However: “One of the most challenging aspects of our P2C installation is preventing the polymerization of styrene while it is being processed,” explained Paul De Bruycker, CEO of Indaver. To address this issue, we chose to partner with Sulzer Chemtech, which is a leading expert in this field and offers extensive pilot testing capabilities to ensure the process is fully optimised.”
According to Suzanne Thoma, executive president of Sulzer, already about 80% of the global market elects to use Sulzer’s solutions for the conventional production and purification of styrene. “ours has become a de facto standard that the industry relies on,” she said.
Sulzer has been headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, since 1834. The technologies developed by the Swiss company, which employs some 13,800 employees, are contributing to solving some of the challenges currently facing society, and fundamental megatrends will continue to drive strong demand for its technologies. The Chemtech division is the global market leader in innovative mass transfer, static mixing and polymer solutions for chemicals, petrochemicals, refining and LNG. In 2021, Sulzer achieved revenues of CHF 3.2 billion.