Chemical feedstock from plastics waste / Pyrolysis pilot plant planned in Czech Republic
Czech refining and petrochemicals group Unipetrol (Prague; www.unipetrol.cz) is building a pyrolysis unit for plastics waste at its plant in Litvínov / Czech Republic, with an eye to converting mixed post-consumer plastics waste from all over the country and possibly other parts of Central and Eastern Europe into feedstock to produce new polymers within the next three years. For the chemical recycling experiment, Unipetrol is receiving aid from the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade toward the CZK 18m (roughly EUR 700,000) cost of developing and balancing the technology. The “Unipetrol Centre for Research and Education” is participating in the government-backed “Pyrekol” circular economy project in collaboration with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, which is planned to cost altogether CZK 71.7m.

Unipetrol is building a pyrolysis plant for plastics waste in Litvínov (Photo: Unipetrol)
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, more than 400,000 t of plastics waste is generated annually in the Czech Republic, with roughly 37% used for recycling and 18% as energy for heat and/or electricity generation. The circular economy project aims to find a sustainable use for the remaining 45%. Unipetrol’s objective is to develop a functional pyrolysis technology for reusing plastics and rubber from waste tyres. Liquids generated during pyrolysis can subsequently be processed using refining or petrochemical technologies and ultimately be used to manufacture plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, in addition to petrol and diesel fuel, it notes.

Unipetrol’s pilot pyrolysis unit, which will test various types of input materials, including single-type plastics waste and mixed plastics, will use the “Biogreen” process owned by France’s ETIA (Compiègne; www.etia-group.com) that can convert biomass, plastics and waste into energy or renewable products. Unipetrol board member Tomáš Herink said the research will try to resolve several questions, including how to improve the quality of liquid and gaseous pyrolytic byproducts, how to store the liquid to avoid repeat polymerisation and how to transport it over long distances.

Jiří Hájek, director of the Unipetrol Centre for Research and Education, said the Czech petchems producer wants to find out what impact the basic parameters of the input materials have on the utilisation ratio and on the quality of the final product. Hájek said the plant operator will also be looking for a safe mixing ratio of the pyrolysis output into the existing production process, so that the continuity of plastics production is not compromised.
19.03.2020 Plasteurope.com [244737-0]
Published on 19.03.2020
Unipetrol: Pyrolyse-Piloteinheit für das chemische Recycling geplantGerman version of this article...

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