New Recycling System for Post-Consumer Plastics

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, coordinates the project LIFE ECOMETHYLAL, an ambitious European project that, by means of catalytic hydro-gasification with plasma technology will make possible the recovery of a type of plastic wastes that, until now, used to be landfilled. Now, they could be used as solvents or as raw material to produce new plastics.

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In the project, other companies from Valencia take part: BPP, ACTECO and AIRESA, as well as the company MI-PLAST from Croatia. Particularly, BPP will be responsible of implementing at pilot plant level the chemical recycling by means of catalytic hydrogasification
with plasma, what will allow giving value to wastes from the packaging, the automotive and the electric-electronic sectors mainly. «During the project, a small and modular pilot plant is going to be built, which will treat these wastes to obtain methylal.

This process is a chemical recycling that is above energy valorisation in terms of waste hierarchy», explains Eva Verdejo, head of the Sustainability and Industrial Recovery department at AIMPLAS.

The wastes that could be recovered thanks to this technology are mainly mixtures of different plastics that are impossible to be recovered with the existing technologies and whom. In 2014, a total of 7.8 million tonnes of these wastes were thrown out in landfills.

As a result, methylal will be obtained, a substance that can be used as a solvent or as a raw material to produce new plastics.

The forecasts made by the partners of the project involve the assembly at European level of at least 15 industrial plants having this process integrated in the European Union in a period of five years once the project has been finished. This will allow to treat a total of 144,000 tonnes of plastics each year and obtain 91,200 tonnes of methylal from them.

These plants will make also possible to save 74,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and an energy saving of 3,400 million MJ each year.
The project LIFE ECOMETHYLAL is framed within the EU Programme LIFE, with grant agreement no LIFE15 ENV/ES/000208.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N° 690103