08/04/2020

07/09/2020

Converting single-use plastics into basic chemicals using a one-step thermal-catalytic process



Sustainable technology company Anellotech has announced that R Plus Japan Ltd., a new joint venture company, will invest in the development of Anellotech's cutting-edge Plas-TCatTM technology for recycling used plastics. R Plus Japan was established by 12 cross-industry partners within the Japanese plastics supply chain.

Member partners include Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert Ltd. (SME, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Ltd.), TOYOBO Co. Ltd., Rengo Co. Ltd., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd., J&T Recycling Corporation, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Iwatani Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., Fuji Seal International Inc., Hokkaican Co. Ltd., Yoshino Kogyosho Co. Ltd..

Many plastic packaging materials are unable to be recycled and are instead thrown away after a single use, often landfilled, incinerated, or littered, polluting land and oceans. Unlike the existing multi-step processes which first liquefy plastic waste back into low value "synthetic oil" intermediate products, Anellotech's Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process to convert single-use plastics directly into basic chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), ethylene, and propylene, which can then be used to make new plastics.

The technology's process efficiency has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Once utilized across the industry, this technology will be able to more efficiently recycle single-use plastic, one of the world's most urgent challenges.

Suntory began collaborating with Anellotech in 2012, to develop the Bio-TCat process for making aromatics (including paraxylene) from non-food biomass (pine wood), required to make 100% plant-based PET bottles. Anellotech is leveraging and adapting its process technology for Plas-TCatTM, which will convert mixed plastic waste feedstocks, including composite films and other difficult-to-recycle materials, at industrial scale into the same basic chemicals (aromatics and olefins) already used to make most virgin plastics, including PET.

"We believe this initiative by Anellotech and R Plus Japan, combining enabling Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology with the concerted efforts of committed supply chain players, illustrates the best model to aggregate and apply the required resources in amelioration of the problem of plastic waste", says Anellotech CEO Dave Sudolsky. "Plas-TCat's unique ability to directly produce basic chemicals (used today to make most virgin plastics) from mixed plastics waste, at large scale, represents an economically viable and impactful solution to the plastic waste problem. We are excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaboration with R Plus Japan in tackling this challenge."

"The significance of chemical recycling is its ability to transform and convert plastic waste into its original chemical components, to eventually produce new plastics. Turning used plastic into secondary, raw materials enables the sustainable use of resources for various industries across the plastics supply chain," said Tsunehiko Yokoi, Chief Executive Officer of R Plus Japan. "Through the development of this innovative technology, we hope to contribute to solving the global plastic waste issue, which has long been a challenge due to its difficulties in recycling. We're very excited to work with our industry partners to move this important work forward."

With the engagement of various industries throughout the value chain, from raw materials manufacturers, and packaging suppliers to beverages companies, the newly established R Plus Japan, together with Anellotech, will advance the development and commercialization of this eco-efficient plastic recycling technology by 2027.

About R Plus Japan, Ltd.

R Plus Japan, founded in June 2020 by twelve cross-industry partners in the Japan plastics supply chain, is devoted to expanding development of recycling technology for used plastics. Mr. Tsunehiko Yokoi is the President & CEO, and its corporate headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan.

About Anellotech

Founded in 2008, Anellotech is a sustainable technology company focused on commercializing the innovative production of cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass or waste plastics. Its patented Bio-TCatTM technology is an efficient thermal catalytic process for converting biomass into benzene, toluene and xylene, which are chemically identical to their petroleum-based counterparts. The process has been extensively demonstrated with loblolly pine feedstocks at Anellotech's TCat-8® pilot plant in Silsbee, Texas. Engineering work to design the first commercial plant is underway by Anellotech and its R&D, engineering and licensing partners IFPEN and Axens.

The Bio-TCatTM platform is now being leveraged for Plas-TCatTM, a development-stage process technology aiming to convert mixed waste plastics into commodity chemicals such as olefins and aromatics, the primary chemicals used to make plastic packaging and other products.

Source: Anellotech, Inc.