PureCycle's PP recycling plant 'days away' from launch

PureCycle's PP recycling plant 'days away' from launch

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PureCycle Technologies Inc.'s flagship polypropylene recycling facility in Ironton, Ohio, is "days away" from beginning the start-up phase of commercial pellet production, according to CEO Dustin Olson, said Sustainableplastics.

"As part of our mission to create an 'infinitely sustainable planet,' we are focused on the health and safety of PureCycle team members and the communities in which we operate," Olson said in a May 9 news release. "With that in mind, we are excited to begin safely ramping up commercial operations and the production of UPR [ultra-pure recycled] resin in our state-of-the-art purification facility in Ironton."

Orlando, Fla.-based PureCycle experienced a series of delays on the much-anticipated Ironton plant, which is expected to create 80-100 jobs and could end up costing as much as $361 million. Now, the first delivery of solvent needed for the firm's recycling process has been received. PureCycle next will make pellets from virgin PP resin and then will add post-industrial and post-consumer PP into the purification process to make recycled resin pellets for sale and distribution to customers.

PureCycle's ramp-up strategy is to gradually increase plant capacity utilization, officials said, while scaling in higher volumes of feedstock deliveries and customer offtake shipments.

PP has been held up as the next big market for plastics recycling, but the needle hasn't moved that much even as recyclers talk about its potential. Just a small amount of PP currently is recycled in the U.S., with estimates typically in the low single digits. By comparison, both PET and high density polyethylene have recycling rates of just under 30 percent.

PureCycle's Ironton plant can handle almost 110 million pounds of PP per year using a solvent-based technology originally developed by consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. The technology essentially washes away contaminants, colors and odors to create a virgin-like resin.

PureCycle also recently secured $62 million of debt financing to strengthen its balance sheet. That amount includes a $40 million term loan with an entity controlled by Dan Gibson, chief investment officer of Sylebra Capital, PureCycle's largest shareholder. It also includes equipment financing for up to USD22 million for a planned recycling plant in Augusta, Ga.

PureCycle Chief Financial Officer Larry Somma said in the release that the firm's strategy remains to obtain long-term project financing for the Augusta plant once the Ironton plant is operational.

"We believe that having capital that can 'bridge' the Augusta project until Ironton is operational will allow [PureCycle] to access a longer-term, lower-cost source of funds," he said.

Officials said that site engineering work is progressing in Augusta and that PureCycle has submitted a finance plan to the Development Authority of Augusta for a purification line. They added that the firm is working to close on land rights for the project by June 30. Module preparation for construction also has begun for a proposed plant Beaumont, Texas.

Internationally, PureCycle in Belgium has begun site engineering work at the Port of Antwerp to start the permitting process. The firm's joint venture team in South Korea has "continued to progress" on engineering plans, while in Japan, PureCycle has continued potential JV discussions with industrial firm Mitsui & Co. while starting the feasibility study process on potential sites in Japan.

PureCycle posted a loss of USD25.8 million in the first quarter of 2023 after losing USD25.4 million in the same quarter in 2022. For full-year 2022, the firm lost almost USD85 million.

On Wall Street, PureCycle's per-share stock price closed near USD7.40 on May 9, up more than 17 percent so far in 2023.

We remind, around 3.33 million tonnes of plastic waste were recycled or reused as raw materials in Germany in 2019.
More than 38 per cent of this was polypropylene (PP). Yet recycling this PP comes with its own set of problems, caused by the fact that due to the sometimes very long polymer chains, the melt flow index of PP derived from the mechanical pre-sorting of various material streams is often too low to allow for further processing via either injection moulding or extrusion.


Thyssenkrupp nucera partners with OxyChem to install next-generation chlor-alkali electrolyzers

Thyssenkrupp nucera partners with OxyChem to install next-generation chlor-alkali electrolyzers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA (Dortmund, Germany) is partnering with OxyChem to install the latest generation eBiTAC v7 electrolyzers to support the conversion of its Battleground plant in LaPorte, Texas, from the diaphragm to membrane chlor-alkali technology, said Chemengonline.

“The fact that OxyChem has contracted us for the important retrofit of its large chlor-alkali plant makes us very pleased because it demonstrates the great trust and partnership, we have built with OxyChem through our chlor-alkali technology and service,” says Werner Ponikwar, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA.

Thyssenkrupp nucera offers world-class technologies for highly efficient electrolysis plants and supports the conversion of OxyChem’s Battleground plant diaphragm cells. Production and delivery will take approximately three years, and thyssenkrupp nucera will expand its manufacturing facilities to accommodate this significant supply agreement.

“OxyChem has had a long-standing partnership with thyssenkrupp nucera that supports our production of essential commodity chemicals helping elevate the quality of life across the globe”, says Wade Alleman, OxyChem executive vice president of Technology, Business Development & Support. “This multi-year project will modernize our chlor-alkali manufacturing process and increase our production capacity."

In this project, thyssenkrupp nucera was involved in the early stages of project development and supplied the basic design for the core of the chlor-alkali facility. The transformation of the chlor-alkali plant into membrane technology is scheduled to begin in 2023 and is expected to be finished by 2026.

We remind, Thyssenkrupp Uhde and IDESA INDUSTRIAL PLANTS SLU (IDIP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on developing and fabricating modules for green ammonia projects. The deal will focus on the development of a joint project within the sector for the design, procurement, fabrication and construction of modularised green ammonia plants.


Roehm launches a sustainable product range for the coatings and adhesives industry

Roehm launches a sustainable product range for the coatings and adhesives industry

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Roehm plans to attain zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050, said the company.

To achieve this goal, the company will utilize technological innovation and capital investment to customize its processes to even more environmentally friendly production methods including the use of renewable raw materials and energy, as well as use of recycled materials.

The company's Degalan proTerra product range for the coatings and adhesives industry was made to protect the climate and save resources.

We remind, Roehm announced the opening of its flagship Innovation Center. This “Center of Excellence” is equipped with a state-of-the-art materials development laboratory, featuring advanced processing capabilities for material compounding, injection molding, and extrusion.


UN targets 80% reduction in plastics pollution

UN targets 80% reduction in plastics pollution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ahead of the second round of global plastics treaty talks in Paris later this month, the United Nations Environment Programme on May 16 released a road map that said a well-crafted agreement could reduce plastics pollution by 80 percent by 2040, said Sustainableplastics.

UNEP, which is coordinating the treaty negotiations, called for first eliminating "problematic and unnecessary" plastics and then adopting policies like container deposits, producer responsibility and more reusable packaging, along with better recycling systems and "careful" replacement of items like plastic wrappers, sachets and takeaway items.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen told an online news conference that the report finds that plastic pollution costs the world several hundred billion dollars a year, including from climate impacts of plastics manufacturing, air and water pollution and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

She said the report, "Turning Off the Tap," also suggests steps to help make recycled materials more cost competitive compared with virgin plastics. "As long as virgin plastic is cheaper than recycled, then that becomes an economic dimension that will make us, as a global society, lean back on virgin," she said.

The report looks at levies on virgin materials, which Andersen admits might be a non-starter in some counties, as well as extended producer responsibility programs and container deposits. The U.N. report found that the largest gains could be made toward the 80 percent reduction from policy options like reusables, EPR and bottle deposits. It estimated they could account for a 30 percent drop.

As well, it said building more profitable recycling systems, including removing subsidies for fossil fuels and enforcing design guidelines for recyclability, could account for another 20 percent drop. It estimated those steps could boost the share of economically recyclable plastics from 21 percent to 50 percent.

As well, UNEP estimated that replacing products like plastic wrappers, sachets and takeaway items with alternatives, including paper and compostable packaging, could deliver an additional 17 percent reduction.

Andersen said countries will set their own policies but she hoped the UNEP report can help steer the treaty talks. The second of five negotiating rounds begins May 29 in Paris, with 2,500 diplomats and observers from 170 countries gathering for five days.

"Governments can deliver a strong deal to end plastic pollution," she said. "Businesses [can] ensure innovation and commitment to move away from virgin plastics, starting immediately.

"International financial institutions and other large investors need to move significant investments towards solid waste management and collection systems," Andersen said. "Creative chemical engineers must take a hard look at product design and weed out harmful chemicals and plastics."

The report builds on earlier work by the Pew Charitable Trusts and others. Some environmental groups criticized the U.N. report.

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives said the report appears to support burning plastics in cement kilns, which it said was dangerous because cement production accounts for 8 percent of the world's carbon dioxide. That would also incentivize what it said is continued overproduction of virgin plastics, as fuel for the cement industry.

"Not only does this pose a grave climate and public health threat, it also undermines the primary goal of the global plastic treaty — putting a cap on plastic production," said Neil Tangri, GAIA's science and policy director.

Other environmental groups, including Greenpeace and Oceana, in statements called on UNEP to put more focus on reducing plastic production in the treaty, a position that some consumer product brands and countries are also pushing.

"UNEP's focus on reduction and reuse is the right approach. Recycling and waste management, on the other hand, will continue to be ineffective until producers cut the sheer amount of plastic they are forcing on consumers," said Jackie Savitz, chief policy officer for Oceana.

We remind, around 3.33 million tonnes of plastic waste were recycled or reused as raw materials in Germany in 2019. More than 38 per cent of this was polypropylene (PP). Yet recycling this PP comes with its own set of problems, caused by the fact that due to the sometimes very long polymer chains, the melt flow index of PP derived from the mechanical pre-sorting of various material streams is often too low to allow for further processing via either injection moulding or extrusion.


Blow molding machine builder Bekum diversifies into pultrusion equipment

Blow molding machine builder Bekum diversifies into pultrusion equipment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Berlin-based extrusion blow molding machine builder Bekum Machinenfabriken GmbH has acquired the pultrusion business unit of the financially struggling systems provider ProtTec Polymer Processing GmbH to move into the fiber-reinforced plastics market, said Sustainableplastics.

Bekum officials said in a news release they are setting a course for further growth with the deal, which includes ProTec Polymer Processing Shanghai — a part of the business unit that sells systems to the Chinese market for producing longer fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFT) pellets and compounds.

Pultrusion, or strand drawing, produces LFTs in granulate form for manufacturing lightweight components. Bekum officials said in a news release that the acquisition offers it more opportunities in the auto and electric vehicle markets.

The transaction was completed April 1 but not announced until May 12. No terms were disclosed. The business unit is operating as Bekum Services GmbH with the assembly of new pultrusion lines integrated at the Bekum site in Traismauer, Austria.

"The company was able to retain both the previous technical managing director of ProTec as well as experienced and leading employees from the areas of design, sales and service from ProTec., which was in insolvency," the release said.

The Shanghai site will continue to offer sales and service in China and Asian countries.

We remind, Berry Global Group, Inc., Peel Plastic Products Ltd., and ExxonMobil are working together to integrate International Sustainability and Carbon Certificate (ISCC) PLUS certified-circular plastics into pet food packaging for household brand names. The collaboration leverages ExxonMobil’s ExxtendTM technology for advanced recycling, which processes plastic waste and attributes it to new plastic for food-grade packaging through a mass balance approach.