Gr3n technology is New|Innovative|Economically Viable|Circular|Sustainable

Feedstock

The input materials for the process can be post-consumer and/or post-industrial polyesters, both from bottles (colored, coloreless, transparent, opaque) and textile (100% polyester but also with up to 30% of other materials like PU, cotton, polyether-polyurea, etc.).

Energy

We need to power the plant: thanks to our engineering effort, electricity is the most relevant energy source we use. This means that, depending on what is the best option in the area where the plant is built (e.g., wind turbines, solar panels or any other reneawble source) we can further reduce the environmental impact.

Grinding

The material is pre-worked to optimize the reaction condition, as a big part of an industrial process are reaction's time and yield. This can be easily translated in a huge reduction both of the energy consumption and of the CO2 generation.

Depolymerization

Depolymerization is achieved through a microwave-assisted alkaline hydrolysis, which makes our reaction much faster than usual (less than 10 minutes). The process can be then repeated an unlimited number of times, without any degradation or side effects: every time we are depolymerizing, we are practically "erasing" the history of that polymer and of its physical and chemical properties. Furthermore, this approach allows us to remove impurities like dyes and colorants, leading to perfectly clear recycled PET.

Process output

The reaction output is a mixture of building blocks derivatives, which are then isolated and purified. In fact, very often the most critical part in a chemical reaction is not obtaining a product, but obtaining it as pure as possible, to avoid potential side effects in any of its further uses.

Electrolysis

NaCl generated from the reaction work-up is then collected and used to re-obtain NaOH and HCl for the next de-polymerization cycle. Electrolysis, a process by which electric current is passed through a substance to effect a chemical change (i.e., loses or gains an electron, oxidation or reduction), is the enabling technology that make the process circular and profitable.

Polymerization

Monomers can be endlessly re-polymerized to provide brand new virgin PET or any other polymer that is using one of the monomers. As mentioned for the depolymerization step, every time we are running a polymerization we are obtaining a brand new polymer, where the technical features depend on the monomer purity and on the polymerization conditions.

Applications

Polymers obtained using these monomers can be used to produce new bottles/trays and/or new garments without using any material from fossil fuels, as it works as a completely new material. It means we potentially do bottle to textile, textile to textile, or even textile to bottle, moving from a linear to a circular approach.

Some of your Questions:

Process (6)

Why chemical recycling?
Only chemical recycling conforms to the principles of sustainable development because it leads to the formation of the raw materials from which PET is originally made. Chemical recycling utilizes processes such as hydrolysis, methanolysis, glycolysis, ammonolysis, and aminolysis.
Why Polyesters can be chemically recycled?
Polyester's chemical recycle is based on the concept of depolymerizing the condensation polymer through solvolysis chain cleavage into low molecular products which can be purified and reused as raw materials to produce high-quality chemical products.
What is the difference between chemical and mechanical recycling?
In the chemical recycling you obtain the monomers after a chemical reaction (among others hydrolysis, methanolysis, glycolysis), so you can produce new virgin PET without consuming natural sources with the same properties of the one produced using petrol. In the mechanical recycling the material is washed, chopped, melted and re-extruded, modifying at each step the physical-mechanical properties of the polymers itself.
Are chemical and mechanical recycling in contrast?
No, chemical and mechanical recycling should work together to obtain our goal: eliminate plastic waste issues on a global basis.
What is the difference between Gr3n process and other chemical recycling processes?
Our process is a closed loop process. The auxiliary chemicals needed for the reaction and for the work-up steps are in situ produced from the by-products. The production of chemicals is allowed by the ancillary systems/processes .
Is the chemical process environmentally friendly?
Our closed loop process is requiring only water and energy to work.

What is processed (2)

What is the feedstock source?
In our process we can use every kind of polyester bottles (e.g., colored, transparent, opaque) but also textile and mixtures of textiles (e.g., Polycotton, with cotton content up to 50%).
Is Gr3n depolymerizing just PET bottles?
No, we are not depolymerizing just bottles, because our process allowed us to approach also textile and different type of polyester packaging.