Ioniqa Technologies, a clean-tech spin-off from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, developed an innovative process to recycle all types and colours of PET waste into high quality pure raw materials, suitable for any new PET application. The recycled raw materials compete in both costs and quality with ‘virgin’ raw materials produced from crude oil. With this game changing innovation Ioniqa hopes to unleash no less than an industry transition.
Ioniqa creates value from waste with a profitable cradle-to-cradle solution for all PET Polyester plastics. PET Polyester (PET) is a popular plastic widely used for water and soft drink bottles, food packages, clothing and carpets.
In our current linear model: yearly the world produces about 61 million tons of PET Polyester of which 90 % is incinerated, landfilled or dumped in nature as post-consumer waste.
Current mechanical recycling technologies are not capable of extracting colour and other impurities from PET waste and recreate virgin-quality raw materials for endless new use. But Ioniqa can.
The Ioniqa innovation offers a profitable circular solution for all kinds and colours of PET Polyester waste in the world. Learn about the process:
- Mixed PET waste is shredded into small flakes and then dissolved in an ionic liquid with our Magnetic Smart Materials-catalyst.
- The mixed fluid is heated to a relatively low temperature (< 200 °C) at atmospheric pressure, then the PET waste starts to ‘depolymerize’ to its original building blocks – pure monomers – the raw materials for new PET.
- After this chemical process, the colourants and other contaminants are magnetically separated. What remains is the end-product of Ioniqa: ‘virgin-grade’ PET monomers (individual molecules that can be bonded to other identical molecules to form a polymer).
- The monomers are sold as raw materials to PET producers to create new virgin PET.
This process can be repeated endlessly with no degradation in quality. The catalyst is recovered after each cycle for re-use.
Due to the high quality and cost effective outcome of the Ioniqa’s chemical recycling process, this impactful solution is able to create cradle-to-cradle PET that is disconnected from its primary raw materials: crude oil.
For PET manufacturers and consumer brands this offers the opportunity to be less dependent on volatile oil-prices and replace their fossil PET products for recycled PET in an economic viable way. For consumers, this means a sustainable supply of recycled PET products at the same price and quality as they’re used to.
A new PET circular cycle spares our scarce oil reserves and offers a big incentive to collect more post-consumer PET waste: a valuable secondary resource.
In 2013, Ioniqa proved its circular recycling technology successfully on a laboratory scale. After scaling up, Ioniqa is currently successfully testing its process in the Port of Rotterdam on a scale of 1,000 liters. In 2017 they will start to develop their first production plant of 10 kilotons in the Netherlands, the first country in the world where post-consumer PET waste will be upcycled cost effectively on an industrial level. This innovation can then be reproduced and scaled up globally through licensing.
The Ioniqa process can be applied to other waste materials. Currently, the company researches on other types of plastics and organic materials (e.g.: cotton and paper). Ioniqa is a clear example of how technological innovations can accelerate the shift towards a circular economy when the underlying business model is steady and sound.
Source and contact information:
Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO
Ioniqa Technologies – De Lismortel 31 – 5612 AR Eindhoven – The Netherlands
T: +31.40.751.7630 – M: +31.681.462.963
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ioniqa.com | @IoniqaCircular