A pioneering partnership between Siemens and global chemical recycling experts, Plastic Energy, is helping divert plastic waste from landfill and incineration.
Plastic Energy is innovating the plastic waste landscape with a recycling process that converts end-of-life plastics into recycled oils that can be used to make new plastic products like food packaging.
The patented technology is currently being used in two plants in Spain, where automation and measurement technology from Siemens, including SIMATIC PCS 7 and COMOS MRO, ensure the smooth operation of control systems and master the challenge of a complex mix of materials.
The Plastic Energy plant in Seville. Photo credit: Plastic Energy
To meet the growing demand for plastics recycling, Plastic Energy is now building several larger plants in Europe, Asia and the US, starting with one in the Netherlands with partner SABIC. These plants will be scaled significantly and equipped with end-to-end technology solutions from Siemens, including Distributed Control Systems (DCS), process instrumentation and low-voltage switchgear in the form of SIVACON S8 technology.
The long-term collaboration will enable Plastic Energy to continually advance its technology and process, implement improvements for better efficiency and product quality, and achieve flexibility and scalability for its plant designs.
Plastic Energy is also working with Siemens to unlock further potential with the help of a digital twin. This powerful tool creates a virtual model to provide better insight and closed-loop optimization of both process and plant performance.
Steve Leech, Business Manager for Siemens Process Control Systems said: “From the beginning of our relationship, we have viewed working with Plastic Energy as a long-term partnership that brings together Plastic Energy’s process and industry knowledge with our innovative technology portfolio.
“The result is a process plant that is flexible and, through the use of SIMATIC PCS 7 and our instrumentation platforms, offers the possibility of value-added use of the data provided.
“It’s great to be part of a company that is so focused on sustainability and making a positive impact on the environment through the recycling of plastic waste.”
The durability of plastics creates a serious problem for the environment. About a third of the world’s plastic packaging waste ends up in the oceans or in unmanaged landfills on land.
More than 50 percent of collected plastic now ends up in landfill or is incinerated, meaning valuable resources are being disposed of in an unsustainable manner. Added to this is the challenge of what to do with the plastic waste that cannot be mechanically recycled, such as films and flexible materials.
Plastic Energy has developed a TAC™ recycling process that converts plastic waste into a valuable substance called TACOIL™, which serves as a feedstock for the manufacture of new plastics. TACOIL™ has been incorporated into more than 10 products and packaging on the European market from brands such as Unilever, Tupperware and L’OCCITANE en Provence.
Plastic Energy’s processing turns plastic waste into a resource itself, with dedicated recycling processes that address global disposal challenges and benefit the circular economy.
Plastic Energy’s goal is to recycle five million tons of plastic waste by 2030.
Carlos Monreal, CEO of Plastic Energy, headquartered in London, said: “Through our unique and patented technology and our well-proven process, we achieve two important results: we prevent the depletion of natural resources, while at the same time we keep plastics away from incineration and landfill, thereby protecting the environment from plastic pollution by reducing the volume of contaminated sites . Life plastic waste that could end up as plastic pollution.
“The use of automation and processing software from Siemens is important to ensure that our recycling facilities are operating at their full potential and that we are able to continue to recycle as much plastic waste as possible.”
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