This new process, called “Rewind“ PET is involving an optimized – glycolysis based – PET depolymerization combined with specific purification steps aiming at removing all organic and inorganic compounds present in waste PET. The product is a purified BHET (Bis(2-HydroxyEthyl) Terephthalate) monomer, ready to be used in a PET plant and produce again any type of PET, from fibers to food grade resins.
The partners can demonstrate a strong track-record in the field: JEPLAN has operated the first ever industrial PET bottles chemical recycling plant, called Pet Refine Technology (PRT: 22 kTA), in Japan. In 2018 JEPLAN also started-up a 2 kTA demonstration plant, called Kitakyushu Hibikinada Plant (KHP) in Japan, aiming at textile to textile recycling. While in the past 6 years, IFPEN and Axens have developed a process able to recycle and upgrade colored and opaque PET bottles into clear food grade PET.
Now, JEPLAN, Axens and IFPEN are putting together their operating, engineering and technological background and will leverage the 2 kTA demonstration plant of JEPLAN in order to accelerate the development and demonstration of their joint flexible process. With the support of the work at IFPEN facilities in France and the demonstration unit, the partners target to be ready for the worldwide licensing by Axens of the “RewindTM PET” process within the end of 2022.
In the meantime, the 3 partners will continue to closely work with the actors of PET packaging and textile industries to validate the quality of the recycled PET, ensuring that the full process and logistics chain are safe, robust and economically viable, and set up the first industrial projects.