Consortium for Waste Circularity: Achieving “true circularity” for packaging with Eco-Methanol
01 Jun 2022 --- The Consortium for Waste Circularity, together with the Flexible Packaging Association and the Packaging Engineering program at the University of Florida, US, is working with industry stakeholders to arrange for robust gasification testing of their “difficult to recycle” but functionally valuable packaging materials.
The Consortium for Waste Circularity is promoting a transformative vision where mixed complex waste is converted to syngas, and then syngas to “waste-derived” Eco-Methanol. The consortium sees Eco-Methanol as the key to the packaging industry to achieve “true circularity” for all of its carbon-based packaging waste.
Packaging industry stakeholders have been successfully running trials through the University of Florida for several months, and the testing program is being expanded to all packaging industry stakeholders.
To date, multilayer materials, metalized films, barrier films containing polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), cross-linked photopolymer flexographic plates and more have been successfully converted to synthesis gas (“syngas”).
Since methanol is a primary feedstock chemical for subsequent manufacture of many products and plastics, Eco-Methanol represents an opportunity to boost the recovery of waste and “recycled content” in products and packaging. The consortium refers to this circular process as Regenerative robust gasification.
Trials consist of conversion mass balance. Samples are analyzed on receipt (proximate/ultimate analysis). Trial runs go to steady-state and all outputs are measured and analyzed. Furthermore, syngas quality and yield are reported and any processing issues, if any, are reported, explains the consortium.
Data are useful for predicting performance on scale-up where feed is similar or blended with other materials that have also been evaluated in trials. Trials involve the conversion of waste to syngas.
The consortium says subsequent Syngas-to-Methanol and Methanol-to-Plastics have already been demonstrated commercially. Industry stakeholders can arrange for testing of their difficult to recycle materials by contacting Professor Bruce Welt.
In related news, researchers led by LanzaTech, Northwestern University and Oak Ridge National Lab in the US have developed a new process to convert waste gas like emissions from heavy industry or syngas generated from any biomass source into either acetone or isopropanol. These substances can be used as solvents, antiseptics, disinfectants and detergents for commercial plastics.
By Natalie Schwertheim
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