Chemical recycling

Chemical recycling is any reprocessing technology that converts plastics back into chemicals, whether for similar purposes or for other purposes, excluding energy recovery. New chemical recycling innovations are coming to market that break down plastics which are more difficult to recycle using conventional methods into their basic constituents, i.e. chemicals needed to produce new goods and packaging. The Pyrowave platform is characterized by its low energy consumption and high yield with a product identical to virgin styrene monomer.

  • From a sustainable perspective, the Pyrowave technology is intended to develop products that can be reused directly, without petrochemical intermediates, in the manufacture of new goods and packaging, rather than producing fuel.
  • Food grade product - Because microwaves can reach very high temperatures, all organic and inorganic contamination is removed in the process, providing a product identical to virgin food contact packaging.
  • Low Carbon Plastics - Because microwaves are powered by electricity, which can be renewable, and because of the selectivity of microwaves, which provide high efficiencies, Pyrowave technology consumes 15 times less energy compared with virgin styrene production.
  • A drop-in solution - the Pyrowave solution allows recycled monomer products to be used directly in end-use applications, without the need for an intermediate petrochemical for conversion or purification.

From dead ends to endless

Pyrowave’s patented microwave catalytic depolymerization technology provides the most advanced high-power microwave technology worldwide, now at the forefront of a new revolution designed to increase resource efficiency.

The PW6 reactor and sublicensed process for the production of recycled styrene is specifically designed for polystyrene (PS) raw materials and can process the full range of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS).

  • 1 The continuous process heats and liquefies the plastic in a preparation vessel equipped with a filter that removes inorganic contaminants such as labels and films, in addition to other impurities. This also helps inject plastics into the reactor more easily.
  • 2

    The processed polystyrene is introduced into the reactor where it is mixed with silicon carbide particles to interact with a high energy microwave field.

  • 3

    Using electrical power and microwaves, the developed process breaks down polymer chains into monomers (depolymerization). At this stage, organic contaminants and colour pigments are removed through the intense microwave heat.

  • 4

    Post-consumer polystyrene is thus converted into a liquid rich in blocks – the monomers – which are then purified and meet the same specifications as the monomers used in the industry.

  • 5

    These purified and recycled blocks are then reprocessed by a manufacturer and restored into virgin resins, to manufacture a variety of products such as polystyrene, synthetic rubber, latex and plastics for electronic products.

    Therefore, new products and packaging can be manufactured from 100% recycled polystyrene.

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5 à 7 times

Any process is energy-consuming. Pyrowave microwaves work with electricity, a source of renewable energy! Therefore, the Pyrowave technology consumes 15 times less energy and emits 5 to 7 times less GHGs compared with the manufacture of virgin polystyrene from petroleum.  

Learn more about
chemical recycling!

Got questions about our technology?
Find answers through this FAQ and learn more about our patented microwave technology.

How effective is the Pyrowave technology?

Pyrowave technology returns polystyrene (PS) to its pristine state. None of its properties are altered, allowing new products to be made with the same quality. Pyrowave microwaves can reach very high temperatures, destroying all contaminants. Pyrowave technology is the most powerful and highest yielding technology on the market, with liquid yields of nearly 98% on a pure PS basis. This means that for every ton of pure polystyrene injected, the PW6 reactor produces 980 kg of liquid containing the styrene monomer.

The amount of styrene in this liquid can reach 70%, which represents the highest styrene production rate in the industry.

Can Pyrowave technology remake food containers?

Microwaves heat can reach a high intensity, destroying all contaminants and returning the plastic to its basic constituents identical to virgin constituents. The qualities of polystyrene are not affected by the chemical recycling of the Pyrowave technology. Food packaging and containers produced with polystyrene recycled with Pyrowave technology therefore meet the same standards and food quality requirement as those made from virgin material.

Is the Pyrowave technology energy consuming?

Any process is energy-consuming. Pyrowave microwaves work with electricity, a source of renewable energy! Therefore, the Pyrowave technology consumes 15 times less energy and emits 5 to 7 times less GHGs compared with the manufacture of virgin polystyrene from petroleum.

The Pyrowave process consumes about 0.5 kWh of electricity per kg of pure material processed.

What is the quality level required for the polystyrene waste recycled by the Pyrowave technology?

The higher the quality of the plastic waste, the higher the efficiency of the Pyrowave technology. However, the microwave technology is very robust and can destroy most contaminants usually found in post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste. Enquire with our team for additional information on the specifications.

Are the costs of recycled plastic with Pyrowave technology higher than those of virgin plastic?

The collection, transportation and sorting costs associated with post-consumer plastic recycling and the scarcity of the material make it expensive. The environmental benefits of recycling are essential to preserve our resources and our health. Governments could adopt mandatory recycled content targets for plastics to increase demand and reduce costs.