The chemical recycling technology company Plastic Energy has commissioned a pilot plant at its research and development labs at Loughborough University Science & Enterprise Park (LUSEP) in the United Kingdom, the company announced last week.
At the new pilot facility, Plastic Energy plans to test the output of its recycling process, called Tacoil, and to improve the quality of the final product. Another aim is to optimise the efficiency and design of Plastic Energy's large-scale projects going forward.
According to the pyrolysis specialist, the lab will employ the same process on which the company's larger plants are based, during which the input material is heated in the absence of oxygen. The resulting Tacoil may be used in the production of new monomers for plastics production.
"As Plastic Energy continues to expand globally, the pilot plant will be instrumental in helping Plastic Energy to test new feedstocks, further scale up its process and optimise our chemical recycling technology," commented David McNamara, the company's chief technology officer.
Plastic Energy is engaged in a number of projects with high-profile partners. The company has two operational chemical recycling plants in Spain (in Almeria and Seville). In addition, the company is building an advanced recycling unit together with petrochemicals giant Sabic in Geleen, the Netherlands. This project was reported to be "in the final stages of construction" in July. The plant had originally been slated to go online in the second half of 2022.
In France, the technology company is partnering with Total Energies to build a pyrolysis plant in Grandpuits, which is to be supplied with input material by French recycler Paprec. Another future French plant is being built in cooperation with Exxon Mobil at its refinery complex in Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon near Le Havre. When the investment decision was made, the facility was expected to go online sometime this year.
Plastic Energy has further projects and partnerships in various stages of development, including plans for pyrolysis plants with Total in Spain and in the US and with Ineos for an advanced recycling facility at the chemicals company's Cologne site. Other projects in Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia are being explored.