New chemical recycling DEMETO project launches in Europe

2 November 2017 (Last Updated November 2nd, 2017 11:31)

A new recycling project for the chemical de-polymerisation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at an industrial scale has been launched in Europe.

New chemical recycling DEMETO project launches in Europe
New DEMETO project to recover plastic waste using chemical treatment. Credit: Franck Michel/Flickr.

A new recycling project for the chemical de-polymerisation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at an industrial scale has been launched in Europe.

PET-based waste streams are currently treated using mechanical processes to recover plastic solid waste (PSW) for re-use.

The new De-polymerisation by Microwave Technology (DEMETO) is expected to provide feasible and sustainable industrial application of a scalable chemical treatment for the reuse of PET/polyester waste streams.

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the project will be based on microwave-based process intensification and would initially involve coloured bottles waste.

“DEMETO proposes the industrialisation and demonstration at full-scale of a new industrial process.”

DEMETO will base its business exploration strategy on the collaboration between Swiss recycling firm gr3n, which manufactures reactive units; and EPC contractor Processi Innovativi that constructs full-scale de-polymerisation plants.

gr3n intends to supply all the reactors required by Processi Innovativ to realise the necessary plants to progressively cover the total available market.

gr3n CEO Maurizio Crippa said: “DEMETO proposes the industrialisation and demonstration at full-scale of a new industrial process, which allows to chemically recycle PET bottles, food containers and even textiles in a highly profitable and environmentally sustainable way.”

The DEMETO’s core technology allows effective process intensification of the de-polymerisation reaction (hydrolysis) of plastic from any kind of source such as bottles.

The process would revert to the EG and PTA building blocks to enable complete and direct re-introduction at the virgin-grade production stage.