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Innovative carboliq technology at the IFAT 2024

Chemical recycling is increasingly becoming an alternative to incineration. As a part of this development, carboliq will be represented at the IFAT, the world’s leading trade show for environmental technologies, in Munich from May 13 to 17. Visitors will find carboliq at two locations: its own booth in Hall B4, and on the PlasticsEurope joint booth in Hall A1. This shows that carboliq is already an integral part of the plastics industry’s solution to closing plastic material loops. During a discussion round on May 17 (11.30 a.m., Orange Stage), car-boliq’s founder Christian Haupts will be on hand to expertly answer questions on the topic.

Chemical recycling is considered a futureproof solution for closing material loops. It produces virgin-grade recyclates and offers the opportunity to utilize mixed or contaminated plastics which are currently not recyclable. But does chemical recycling really meet these expectations? Can it close the gap in the closed-loop recycling of plastics? What material yield does the process deliver? And what quality of recovered material can it generate?

carboliq – contributing to a circular future

The innovative carboliq technology already answers these questions today.  The method has been used to convert a wide range of input materials into valuable liquid resources.

Other thermo-chemical conversion processes need high shares of polyolefins (PE, PP, PS) in the input materials. But carboliq can also handle materials with significant PA and PET contents as well as mixed and contaminated plastics which currently go into thermal recycling. Due to its combination of thermal, catalytic and mechanical-chemical mechanisms, the carboliq method breaks down the polymers under moderate process conditions. The process runs under atmospheric pressure and at temperatures below 400°C. If the power source is 100% renewable energy, carboliq is even a net-zero process. The small quantities of gases and solid process residues generated are either input into other recycling stages or responsibly disposed of. Depending on the quality of the infeed, the carboliq method delivers a high oil yield of up to 75%. The recovered oil is a fully equivalent substitute for fossil raw materials. It can be used to produce plastics in virgin-grade quality. “We have concrete proof of this, so we can contribute hard data and facts to the debate, which is still conducted on a largely emotional level,” says Christian Haupts.

At the IFAT, the carboliq team led by Christian Haupts and Managing Director Dirk Hardow will present the single-stage carboliq process for liquefaction of solid hydrocarbons at Booth 232 in Hall B4. Furthermore, the experts will talk to potential users about whether and how test campaigns for the oiling of individual waste fractions can be carried out on the carboliq pilot plant. They will also explain the conditions that are required. “The plant has been in continuous operation for years, and meets a degree of maturity that complies with TRL8. Based on the results of test campaigns, we are adapting the process and developing solutions for integration into our customers’ value chains,” explains Christian Haupts.

The carboliq representative, who considers himself a “visionary as well as a realist”, is confident that further investors will develop an interest in carboliq. “We can only achieve our target recycling rates and climate protection goals by building more industrial plants. This will enable the transition from a linear to a circular value chain in the plastics industry.”

Huge potential, not just in packaging

Currently SÜDPACK, a leading manufacturer of high-performance films for the packaging industry, is the most important project partner and the majority shareholder in carboliq. Groundbreaking projects have already succeeded in converting multilayer films and contaminated material which are not suitable for mechanical recycling into oil. This resource was then used in the production of valuable plastics in virgin-grade quality. Also in other industries where products consist of mixed or non-recyclable plastics at the end of their life, carboliq offers a way of closing the material loop, reducing consumption of fossil raw materials, and contributing massively to climate protection. Dirk Hardow sees opportunities above all in the automotive industry. “In auto manufacturing, it’s often not possible to use granules from mechanical recycling for safety reasons. That’s because the process alters the properties of the plastics, for example by reducing their strength.” It is also conceivable that carboliq solutions can be adapted for recycling waste textiles, which often consist of fibers with high polyamide and/or polyester contents. These can be optimally recycled using carboliq technology.

Joint booth at the IFAT with PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V.

carboliq is also represented in Hall A1, Booth 121 at the joint booth of European trade association PlasticsEurope. Plastics manufacturers and disposal companies are increasingly cooperating in efforts to intelligently close plastics loops. At the IFAT, visitors can find out how the interaction of various recycling processes and technologies can generate circular products from plastic waste.

Presentation & discussion round

In what promises to be a fascinating discussion round, visitors can gain in-depth insights into the latest advances in recycling technologies for complex waste streams, as well as new potentials for the regeneration of scarce resources. The title is: “Adjusting to climate change – Creating an innovative and efficient waste and recycling industry”. Experts such as Christian Haupts and other panelists will discuss how mechanical and chemical recycling can be intelligently combined. They will report on the latest progress in the various recycling technologies for plastics and their relevance for the circular economy and climate protection. The discussion will take place on May 17, 2024 from 11.30 to 12.20 on the Orange Stage at the trade show in Riem.

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