Clermont-Ferrand, France — Michelin Group and Canadian plastics recycling startup Pyrowave Inc. have joined forces to accelerate time-to-market for a waste recovery technology developed by the Montreal-based company.
The move will aim to fast-track the commercialization of Pyrowave's microwave-based chemical recycling technology that can recover styrene monomer from waste polymers, said Michelin in a Nov. 18 statement.
The joint development agreement will aim to certify and commercially roll out the technology in global markets, and will ultimately lead to an investment of over 20 million euros ($23.7 million).
Combining Pyrowave's platform with Michelin's knowhow, the collaboration aims to develop an industrial demonstrator, funded and operated by Michelin, by 2023.
According to Michelin, Pyrowave's technology, unlike current thermal processes, enables the recycling of polymer waste into high-quality raw materials using electricity, which currently provides the highest decarbonisation potential.
It is also claimed to provide higher yields, while being more accurate than conventional technologies, to replace virgin raw materials from oil and gas.
The recovered styrene monomer can be used in the production of polystyrene and synthetic rubber for tires and a large number of consumer products, Michelin said.
The joint project is intended to result in the creation of new value chains in the circular plastics economy, and will enable the use of recycled polymers in automotive, electronics and tire applications.
Michelin had already made a strategic investment in Pyrowave earlier in May.
The French group said it evaluated Pyrowave's process for a year and has established that the polymer regeneration technology is "fully in line" with its strategic vision and its product sustainability objectives.
"This partnership is an ultimate illustration of the group's sustainable strategy," said Sonia Artinian-Fredou, executive vice president, services & solutions, high tech materials at the Michelin Group.
The purpose, she said is to manufacture tires made of increasingly sustainable materials and to make these technologies available to innovative recycling channels.