Indaver is a supplier of high-quality materials and aims to expand this further. We continuously look for new and more efficient ways of recovering materials.
Today’s global market is facing an increasing demand for sustainable recycling solutions for plastics waste. Some years ago, Indaver invested in a development program named ‘Plastics2chemicals’ (P2C) to find a safe recycling process for postconsumer plastics for which there are no proper recycling possibilities available today. Because of the good progress of this process combined with the urgency in the market, Indaver has decided to speed up its P2C development and investment program.
Expertise in chemistry and sustainable waste management accelerate success of P2C development
With its P2C installation Indaver wants to develop a safe and sustainable solution for postconsumer plastic waste. Years of research and development resulted in a depolymerisation process in which plastics are converted into high-grade recycled resources like styrene, naftha and waxes for the (petro)chemical industry. Indaver’s years of expertise in recycling waste right down to the molecular level, contributed and accelerated the positive outcome of the P2C project.
Test rig at university & permit application ongoing
The depolymerisation and purification process was tested intensively in cooperation with Flemish universities in which Indaver’s own test rig was used. Today the test rig has developed into a chemical mini factory. In parallel, Indaver is planning a demo-installation with a recycling capacity of 15.000 tonnes a year. In close consult with the relevant authorities, a permit application was submitted. The preparations are progressing well. Indaver expects the permit this fall to be operational in the first semester of 2021.
The demo installation will recycle waste from polystyrene as well as mixed polyoleofines. If all goes according to plan, Indaver will invest in a next step: building a dedicated polystyrene- and a dedicated polyolefines plastics recycling installation.
Cooperation with industry is crucial
Because high-quality recycled resources are used to replace the current primary resources, close cooperation with the chemical industry is essential. That is why Indaver works together with preferential partners, including Ineos Styrolution, producer of styrene plastics to secure the offtake of the produced so-called ‘chemical feedstock’, resources for the industry.
Thanks to the efforts of Indaver – among others – recycling has become the standard for waste flows such as glass, paper and plastics. Recovering raw materials from hazardous waste, on the other hand, is only feasible if we can be certain that this is safe for humans and the environment. Indaver meets this challenge.
We constantly look for new and better ways to valorise hazardous waste materials. In the past, the emphasis was on neutralising hazardous waste by breaking down the molecules in the chemical process. We are now studying which components of this waste flow have sufficient value for recovering them in a safe and efficient manner.
We examine the tiniest building-blocks – molecules – to see which ones can be reused safely and effectively. An example of this is the hydrochloric generation by Indaver at Tata Steel in Ijmuiden. We are studying whether and how we can recover chlorine, sulphuric acid, fluorine, iodine and valuable metals.
Precious metals are rare and valuable metals such as platinum, palladium and gold. They are used primarily in the automotive and industrial catalyst industries. Precious metals are very valuable because of their unique chemical properties on the one hand and their rarity on the other. Recovering this type of metal is therefore an attractive solution for European large-scale industry in both ecological and economic terms.
Indaver Metal Processing (IndaMP) has the capability to recover these precious metals from waste streams. The IndaMP installation will precipitate precious metals into residues via an evaporation process. By this means, Indaver will offer its customers a constant and sustainable source of precious metals and thereby reduce their dependency on non-European raw materials.
Indaver manages some 5 million tonnes of waste on an annual basis, including many waste streams containing metals with a high recycling potential. Based on Indaver's positive experience in pilot testing and following a thorough quality assessment with its partner Agfa Labs, the time has come to upscale. IndaMP will be operational in September 2018, with an existing installation at Indaver's Antwerp site being converted for the purpose. IndaMP will focus on the niche of homogeneous catalysts, which are found in complex mixtures. It is precisely the mixed composition of the waste flows that makes recovery difficult. IndaMP offers a unique solution here. Indaver has strong partnerships and, thanks to its large-scale waste portfolio, the knowledge to offer industry a sustainable recovery solution for precious metals.
Indaver examines how residues could be used from thermal treatment using energy recovery (waste-to-energy). This concerns recovery of rare earth metals, phosphorus and copper. This eliminates the need for mining new raw materials and significantly limits the amount of residues that is dumped.