The PyroCHEM project partners want to make the chemical industry more sustainable by obtaining and scaling up the chemical recycling of plastic waste and the pyrolysis of other (biomass) residue. In this project, Lectorate Biobased Resource & Energy, Jappe de Best, research group focuses specifically on performing LCAs and laboratory research for the upscaling of Pyrolysis.
There is an urgent and growing demand for circular raw materials. Recycling plays a crucial role in this. Not only are valuable raw materials reused, recycling can also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in production chains. In Europe only a third of plastic waste is recycled today; worldwide only 15%. The rest is incinerated, landfilled or ends up in nature. This has a negative impact on the environment, contributes to climate change, and creates high ecological and economic costs.
High-quality recycling using pyrolysis technology
Plastic waste that is currently unsuitable for recycling is often too polluted, such as agriculture foil, or consists of multiple layers such as bags for potato chips or coffee. In the Netherlands alone, we are talking about 629 ktons of plastic waste annually. At the moment this is incinerated, producing energy; a very low-grade form of waste processing.
There is a technology that can process contaminated plastic – but also other (biomass) waste streams – to a high standard: pyrolysis. By means of heating in the absence of oxygen, these waste streams are processed to circular or bio-based building blocks that the chemical industry can use to make new products. Pyrolysis technology is still under development, but successes have already been achieved, for example in the ‘Pyrolyseproeftuin Moerdijk’. The PyroCHEM project partners will now scale up the technology and further develop the value chain.
Demonstration plant and SME innovation cluster
The PyroCHEM project partners want to make the chemical industry more sustainable by optimising and scaling up the chemical recycling of plastic waste and the pyrolysis of other (biomass) residual flows.
In the PyroCHEM project, Waste4ME will be designing a demonstration plant with a capacity of 35 kilotons. In addition, the project partners create a Waste2Chem open innovation cluster. Here, SMEs can make use of the facilities of the PyroCHEM project partners on favourable terms and use the network in order to optimise their pyrolysis technology and work together on roadmaps towards market introduction. The partners of the PyroCHEM project want to chemically recycle 1 million tons of plastic into valuable raw materials every year from 2030 onwards. This will reduce 1.7 million tons of CO2-eq each year and save 550 kilotons of petroleum.
The partners in the PyroCHEM project are working intensively together to make West Brabant a Waste2Chem hotspot.
Port of Moerdijk is providing a location for the establishment of pyrolysis plants on a commercial scale, Waste4ME is creating a design for the pilot plant and testing five waste streams originating from waste processor Renewi. Van der Kooy is sharing its facilities and knowledge about recycling oils and fats. The Green Chemistry Campus makes the connection with the circular ecosystem in the region and provides a location for pyrolysis activities on a demo scale. The Brabant Development Agency (BOM) is developing the innovation cluster and Avans University of Applied Sciences is providing knowledge in the field of pyrolysis and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), and involves students.
West-Brabant as Waste2Chem hotspot
West Brabant is ideally suited as a location for the PyroCHEM project. Here you will find knowledge, experience and facilities in the field of pyrolysis, excellent logistical connections and a large concentration of companies focusing on chemistry and recycling. This is how we work together in this region to create a resilient circular economy.
The PyroCHEM project has a value of €2.9 million and is made possible by the European Regional Development Fund and the province of North Brabant as part of REACT-EU.