Luxembourg-based Clariter says its plastic recycling method has achieved a net negative carbon footprint, citing the results of a life cycle analysis (LCA) study conducted by Netherlands-based research and consultancy firm CE Delft.
Clariter says it uses a chemical recycling technology that “transforms unwanted plastic waste into high-value, ready-to-use pure industrial products.” The company says its method “complements mechanical recycling by upcycling plastic waste streams that cannot be processed mechanically.”
The firm says its patented three-step chemical process converts collected plastics into “sulphur-free, odorless and pure chemicals: aliphatic solvents, white mineral oils and paraffinic snow-white waxes.” These materials can be used as ingredients in more than 1,000 end products, according to Clariter.
The company says its near-term plan is to build and operate full-scale plants, each of which will recycle 60,000 tons of plastic waste and produce 50,000 tons of chemical products annually. Clariter says its “technology accepts the majority of plastic waste streams,” with the firm’s website putting the figure at “more than 60 percent” of discarded plastics
“The [CE Delft LCA study] results indicate that [Clariter’s] solution looks more attractive than alternative, nonmechanical recycling polyolefin disposal routes and an even stronger CO₂ negative footprint is well within reach,” remarks Geert Bergsma, manager supply chain analysis with CE-Delft. “If fully renewable utilities are used, this statement can be made even more so.”
CE Delft says its LCA results show “the impact and benefits of Clariter’s solution supersede those of the pyrolysis process, which produces intermediates, e.g. energy, fuel or new plastics. The pyrolysis process prolongs the life of plastics, whereas Clariter ends it for good.”
The consultancy says Clariter’s full-scale plants can be expected to show favorable energy generation to that of standard incineration in municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators.
“Being net carbon negative is a unique and strong position,” states Petra Koselka, chief operating officer of Clariter. “With further optimization of our plants and using renewable energy sources and possibly green hydrogen in the future, we expect Clariter’s process to have an even more advantageous carbon footprint. The outcome is not only an important step for us but the entire chemical recycling sector.”