Plastics Recycling Update iconExtruder and optical sorter innovations are celebrated in Europe, and a gasification process is used to recycle mixed plastics into a cellulose-based plastic that can replace ABS.

Optical sorter innovation: An equipment provider’s optical sorting imaging technology has won the company a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Buhler UK was given the award – and the chance to attend a royal reception this summer – for its hyperspectral imaging technology, which, as Recycling International reported, is used to more accurately identify scrap plastics. The Royal Gazette award announcement noted the technology is also used to accurately sort nuts. The U.K. government said winners of the awards have “reported benefiting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale.”

Material advancements: Researchers developed a type of plastic that can be more easily depolymerized. Ars Technica reports a group led by a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used triketones and amines as monomers to make a plastic. The bonds are easily broken by using a strong acid, making it more energy-efficient than other depolymerization processes that use heat. The researchers then used the recovered monomers to make new plastic, which has no loss in properties, according to the publication.

PP-boosting additive: Plastics News reports reclaimer Aaron Industries is using a performance modifier from Milliken & Co. to boost its recycled PP compounds. Aaron Industries launched its Jet-Flo PP, a high-melt-flow material that uses Milliken’s DeltaMax additive. The plastic can be used to make thinner, lighter parts that aren’t too brittle.

Extruder innovation recognized: Two inventors behind equipment supplier Erema’s innovations have been named as finalists for the European Inventor Awards. Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl developed the counter-current technology, where shredded plastic is rotated in the opposite direction of the extruder screw, allowing it to be processed faster and at lower temperatures. “It’s a bit like taking a beaker when you’re sitting by a stream and then filling it either in the direction of flow, then the cup is only partly filled, or against the direction of flow – then the cup is completely full the whole time,” explained Hackl in a video. The Austrian men are among 15 finalists for the awards.

Chemical recycling deal: A scrap plastics conversion company that has installed facilities in Europe has now signed an agreement to install plants in Indonesia, according to Waste Management World. London-based Plastic Energy developed a process to convert difficult-to-recycle plastics into what it calls TACOIL, which can be used to make new plastic. The company recently signed a deal with the governor of West Java, Indonesia to build chemical recycling plants. Plastic Energy has already installed two industrial plants in Spain, and earlier this year it reached a deal with global plastics producer SABIC for a facility in the Netherlands.

From mixed plastics to bioplastic: Plastics Recycling Update recently took a look at Eastman Chemical’s new gasification process, called carbon renewal technology. The process breaks down mixed plastics into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which are then fed into Eastman’s existing systems for producing chemicals. Now, the Kingsport, Tenn.-based company announced that output of the carbon renewal technology will be combined with bio-based materials to create a plastic called Trēva. A cellulose-based plastic for opaque and color-tinted packaging, Trēva can be used as a direct replacement for ABS, according to Eastman. It is expected to be available by the end of this year.

Gasification commercialization: A U.K. company commercializing a technology for converting scrap plastics into hydrogen has signed power and scrap feedstock agreements. PowerHouse Energy Group uses what it calls the DMG technology, modular equipment that converts plastics, tires and other scrap material stream into syngas, from which chemical precursors, hydrogen, electricity and other products can be made.

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