Styrenics are amongst the most recyclable polymers. INEOS Styrolution has a proven record of investing into basic research on advanced recycling technologies. This includes completing the first lab-scale production of virgin polystyrene from depolymerised material and driving the commercialisation of enhanced recycling of polystyrene forward. Developing expertise on recycling via dissolution contributes to an in-depth understanding of the material’s properties.
The “Remove2Reclaim” project aims at developing innovative solvent-based extraction routes to remove additives, such as titanium dioxide, from different polymer matrices and to reuse both titanium dioxide and polymer in new products. Targeted polymers in the project include polystyrene, HIPS (high impact polystyrene) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). For INEOS Styrolution, this dissolution route complements the existing mechanical and depolymerisation recycling projects, rounding up the understanding of the broad range of recycling technologies available for styrenics.
Michiel Verswyvel, Global R&D, comments: “We are committed to a circular economy for styrenics. Our main thrust is mechanical recycling of materials such as ABS and polystyrene and advanced recycling technologies, primarily depolymerisation of polystyrene. The “Remove2Reclaim” project gives us the opportunity to get a complete picture by exploring additional recycling technologies such as dissolution. In parallel, we are optimising our mechanical recycling efforts and concentrate on commercialising recycled polystyrene via depolymerisation.”
The “Remove2Reclaim” project is funded by the Flemish Agency of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Vlaams Agentschap voor Innovatie en Ondernemen – VLAIO) and organised under the umbrella of the Flemish spearhead cluster Catalisti. Research partners include Ghent University, KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) as well as VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research in Mol) and Centexbel (Kortrijk-Gent). INEOS Styrolution becomes one of five industry partners signed up in this project.