German Federal Environment Ministry funding ground-breaking recycling project with EUR 1 million
29. Mar. 2012
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A ground-breaking recycling scheme for specialist plastics
Dyneon GmbH, a subsidiary of global diversified technology company 3M, is to receive nearly EUR 1 million from the Federal Environment Ministry to support a unique recycling programme for fluoropolymer plastics.
These specialist plastics, used in a range of industrial applications such as automotive and aerospace engineering and petrochemical processing, are characterised by high resistance to heat and chemicals. Until now, there has not been an effective method for recycling the material or associated fluoropolymer waste.
To address this, Dyneon, in co-operation with technology institute InVerTec and the University of Bayreuth, has developed an innovative method of depolymerising fluoropolymers by pyrolysis.
The process completely disintegrates fluoropolymer waste materials by heating them to temperatures of between 400 °C and 700 °C. The raw materials that remain, known as monomers, can then be fed back into the manufacturing process after cleaning to make new fluoropolymers.
The pilot plant is initially designed to process 500 tonnes of fluoropolymer waste, which originates from the Dyneon plant as well as waste material returned from customers for recycling.
When running at full capacity, the process is estimated to save 10,000 tonnes of waste hydrochloric-acid, 7,500 megawatt hours of energy and therefore 7,500 tonnes of CO² emissions from being released into the atmosphere annually. In addition, the project will help save valuable resources, such as fluorspar.
"As well as providing a method for recycling fluoropolymer plastics, the new process allows us to re-use valuable raw materials, such as TFE, and therefore avoids the creation of large amounts of hydrochloric-acid. This is both protecting the environment and reducing our manufacturing costs." Said Klaus Hintzer, 3M Corporate Scientist.
"We are delighted to have received funding from the Federal Environment Ministry to help us build a bespoke recycling plant to carry out this new method of recycling."
The grant, awarded from the Federal Environment Ministry’s environmental innovation programme, will help fund the building of the new recycling plant. The programme recognises innovative environmental, nature conservation and reactor safety projects and supports the first-time large scale application of a new technology.
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