The first ever fluoropolymers up-cycling facility has been opened, as part of a partnership formed between 3M subsidiary Dyneon, the University of Bayreuth and the InVerTec institute. The up cycling plant in Burgkirchen was created to reuse waste that had been created from the manufacturing of perfluorinated polymers.
It is hoped that the plant is able to up cycle around 500 tpa of fluoropolymer waste and was made possible by a US$1.1 mln grant from the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). The up cycling facility will become part of the closed loop manufacturing plant at Dyneon, as fluoropolymers that are unnecessarily created will undertake a pyrolysis process, which turns them into gaseous monomers. They are then cleaned and re-entered into the production process, so the total amount of waste is reduced. Dyneon will not only be eliminating waste with the facility, but the company will also save considerable energy as part of this new manufacturing setup.
“The up-cycling facility and process will abruptly change the way all of us think and do things. Now, what was once regarded as a useless waste stream or at best a by-product with little utility is a valuable material,” according to the idea owner and 3M corporate scientist Klaus Hintzer. “The up-cycling possibility means the monomer can be recovered, which in turn aids the environment since less mining activities are required. The process also affords energy savings.”