From test reactor to industrial facility
When RePlastic launched in January 2020, the goal was to form the basis for a technological solution that could be commercialized within a few years for the benefit of the green transition. The aim was to attract investors for the primary project partner, Waste Plastic Upcycling (WPU), which specializes in converting plastic waste into different types of oil that the industry can use in the production of new products.
Things have been moving really fast since then, because the technology is scalable and there is a demand for new technologies that can handle the different fractions of our plastic waste. Already during the research project, WPU has found investors, built an industrial pyrolysis facility, and hired employees.
“We’re experiencing a lot of interest in robust and financially attractive technologies such as WPU’s, both nationally and internationally. The fact that plastic waste doesn’t have to be treated before the pyrolysis process with us makes a big difference, both financially and in relation to the assessment of potential environmental impacts and resource consumption,” says Niels Bagge, CEO of WPU.
Because the pyrolysis technology minimizes the resource-intensive sorting and purification, the is a great potential for making the process more sustainable. However, exactly what role pyrolysis technology will play in our waste system in the future depends on many factors.
“Pyrolysis technology definitely has potential in terms of recycling some of the more difficult plastic waste. In the future, we need to make sure to take into account both the choice of materials in products, the management and processing of waste in the waste system, and reusing it for new raw materials for industries. Using pyrolysis for mixed plastic fractions can play an important role in the plastic cycle,” says former DTU Professor Thomas Fruergaard Astrup, who assessed the sustainability of plastic recycling and pyrolysis technology in the RePlastic project.