Recycling on the uptake in Europe and China
German firm Dyneon, a subsidiary of 3M, is building a pilot plant in Burgkirchen, Germany, with the capacity to recycle 500 tonnes/year of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) scrap, converting it back to full value raw materials. Meanwhile, Japanese firm Teijin is setting up a recycling plant in China to recycle polyester fibre into a chemical DMT (used in PET).
Dyneon says that 20,000 tonnes of waste is created annually during the processing of PTFE, which is currently either incinerated or sent to landfills.
In the new process, PTFE waste materials will be heated in a reactor, split into their raw gaseous components, cleaned and fed back into the production of new PTFE, without any negative impact to product quality. The potential for environmental benefit is enormous.
When running at full capacity, the process is estimated to save 10,000 tonnes waste hydrochloric-acid, 7,500 megawatt hours of energy and subsequently 7,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released annually into the atmosphere. With this pilot plant, Dyneon and 3M are breaking new ground in technology. The German Federal Environment Ministryís Environmental Innovation Program contributed EUR 1 million to financially support the concept.
Fibre manufacturing firm Teijin will be joining forces with the Jinggong Holding Group to establish a 49:51 joint venture firm Zhejiang Jiaren New Materials. This joint venture is made possible by the cooperation agreed by the China Chemical Fibres Association and Teijin early this year, which are both aiming to provide business opportunities in the industry.
The firms will invest around 6 billion yen in the construction of facilities for DMT (dimethyl terephthalate) production, polymerisation and fibre spinning. The construction will begin this November, with operations scheduled to begin by the end of March 2014. The joint venture is targeting annual sales of 10 billion yen in the first year of business. It will be the first time for Teijin to operate polyester chemical recycling outside Japan.
The new plant will chemically recycle polyester fibre scraps and used polyester products into DMT with quality comparable to that derived directly from petroleum. The DMT will be used for the production of polyester resin, as well as value-added polyester fibre, leveraging the Teijin Groupís polymer and fibre-spinning technologies.
The facility will have a DMT production capacity of 20,000-tonne/year in the initial phase. As demand grows, capacity will be expanded an additional 50,000 tonnes/year in the second phase, for a total annual DMT production capacity of 70,000 tonnes. Annual production capacity of recycled polyester fibre will be 19,000 tonnes in the initial phase.