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Chemical recycling route for UHMW-PE

Three-stage process turns Endumax waste materials into new industrial feedstocks.

7th January 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Amhem, The Netherlands

Industrial, Sustainable

Having recycled Twaron fibres at its own recycling facilities for over twenty years, Teijin Aramid has now joined forces with Luxembourg-headquartered Clariter to develop a chemical recycling process for Endumax ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE).

Tests of Endumax feedstock were carried out at Clariter’s operational pilot plant in Gliwice, Poland, and the results determined that samples of fishing nets, ropes and air cargo containers are indeed suitable for chemical recycling.

Clariter’s technology transforms potential plastic waste into high-value, pure industrial products with a net negative carbon footprint. The three-stage process involves thermal
cracking, in which the waste is converted into a wide range of hydrocarbons, followed by hydro-refining, in which impurities are removed, and naphthenic and paraffinic hydrocarbons are formed, before distillation and separation, with fractions distilled into three product families to then be blended for diverse applications by partners.

High resistance UHMW-PE, which is problematic to recycle, has now been successfully upcycled into pure, crude-free industrial feedstocks with applications such as cleaning agents, degreasers, paints and speciality wax.

“Working with a partner like Teijin Aramid and proving that chemical recycling is the solution for the plastic waste epidemic has brought us a bit closer to a cleaner and more sustainable future,” said Jasper Munier, Clariter’s business development manager for North-West Europe. “As a next step, we want to process samples of much larger quantities and types at our 15,000 square-metre industrial scale plant in East London, South Africa. We look forward to working with Teijin Aramid’s team of experts and together positioning chemical recycling as an irreplaceable recycling solution.”

“Via this partnership, Endumax enters the same league as our other products,” said Hendrik de Zeeuw, director of marketing and sales Teijin Aramid. “Together with Clariter, we will be able to help customers to take back their Endumax ropes, nets and cables to extend end of life. In the aerospace business, from now on we will comply with end-user requirements, that after use full air cargo containers, including the panels, are recycled.”

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