A sneak peek at what Ioniqa has in store for PRSE

May 29, 2024

Why do you think it’s important to be at PRSE?

PRSE has grown into an event with a big name. It’s now basically in the same line up as the default recycling events, with PRSE having the benefit of being focused only on plastics. For anybody who is actively in the plastic recycling space in Europe, you now need to go to Amsterdam around summer to at least show your face. So for me, it’s about networking, it’s about making an impact, and meeting a lot of customers who will also be there.

What are you going to exhibit at PRSE?

We will be there with our partner Koch Technology Solutions (KTS), [a UK-based technology licencing business with roots in DuPont.] We have a partnership with them since September 2022 and basically together we are fine tuning and scaling up the technology designed by Ioniqa, to enable licencing globally for industrial parties like the big plastic producers but also for plastics recyclers.

Ioniqa has been operating a 10,000 tonnes/year demonstration facility in Geleen, the Netherlands, since summer 2019. Do you plant to expand the plan beyond demo scale?

Our facility in the Netherlands has proven a certain capacity. We believe as a small player producing monomers as starting materials, it will not be beneficial on the long run to expand. There are other companies that are more equipped for doing that. So the main aim of that site is to show that what we want to licence is actually working. We have been testing a different kind of setup for part of the design in Geleen, we have been creating data sets for different situations. Besides gathering data on heat, mass balances, and product quality, it also enables us to tests alternative process steps to improve the scaled up design to become more cost efficient for our licensees. At PRSE we want to showcase our Denua TM technology and present it together with KTS.

Have the tough market conditions faced by European recyclers in the past couple of years influence the decision not to expand the demonstration plant?

Well, it has definitely not become easier. But I think already five, six, seven years back we did not have the anticipation to go much bigger than this. When considering to further scale up production and becoming a chemical producer, you as a company start competing with companies like Ineos, Indorama, and Orlen that currently produce raw materials for PET. These companies fall back on massive scale and operational excellence. And to compete with this as a small or middle sized company in a very expensive geography makes it challenging for us to go down that path.

What are the main benefits of your technology?

What we offer is technology that enables companies to recycle 100% of their PET into monomers, without compromises on quality, without compromises on capacity. What we’ve seen so far is that we can be a cost attractive solution, which I think is essential. Everybody wants the sustainability of recycling, but it needs to happen at an acceptable price.

What levels of demand are you seeing for your technology?

There is growing interest, for multiple reasons. Since the Green Deal, Europe has got a lot of traction on increasing recycling capabilities and capacities. There is a big driver legislation-wise and this has a big pull in brand owners pledging to increase recycled content. We also see other regions outside of Europe announcing more and more legislation to promote sustainability – southeast Asia is a great example. Besides upcoming EPR schemes, some countries consider recycled material now safe for food contact materials, which was not the case a few years go, which could be a big drive for the market.

How do you see the future of chemical recycling in Europe?

With the current PPWR, glycolysis is claimable [towards recycled content targets], because we fall in a novel technology route. So basically, we are in the same box as partial glycolysis or mechanical recycling. If we did processes like hydrolysis or methanolysis, we’d fall out of that scope because you make a monomer that’s already approved when it has the same spec as the virgin material –it is a fine line. At this point our technology and the products that we make are claimable [towards PPWR targets], which of course helps us in our sales. I think in essence you need to be able of stating that you are recycling. Otherwise, people will not invest and pay more for a process which doesn’t have the marketing benefits foreseen with recycled content.

This article is from Sustainable Plastics. You can read the original article in dutch by pressing the button below.

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