12 Japanese firms for R Plus Japan JV to pursue renewable chemicals, plastics, invests in Anellotech

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From New York and Japan comes news that 12 cross-industry partners within the Japanese plastics supply chain have formed R Plus Japan Ltd., and will invest in the development of Anellotech’s Plas-TCat technology for recycling used plastics.

Member partners include Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert Ltd. (SME, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Ltd.), TOYOBO Co. Ltd., Rengo Co. Ltd., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd., J&T Recycling Corporation, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Iwatani Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., Fuji Seal International Inc., Hokkaican Co. Ltd., Yoshino Kogyosho Co. Ltd..

The plastic recovery backstory

Here was the problem:

Many plastic packaging materials are unable to be recycled and are instead thrown away after a single use, often landfilled, incinerated, or littered, polluting land and oceans. Recycling single-use plastic has become one of the world’s most urgent challenges — among others, the US Department of Energy has a Plastics Challenge on to tackle the problem.

Here was the solution:

Existing multi-step processes have been developed to liquefy plastic waste back into low value “synthetic oil” intermediate products.

Here’s the game-changer:

Anellotech’s Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process to convert single-use plastics directly into basic chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), ethylene, and propylene, which can then be used to make new plastics. The technology’s process efficiency has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

The Suntory-Anellotech backstory

Suntory began collaborating with Anellotech in 2012, to develop the Bio-TCat process for making aromatics (including paraxylene) from non-food biomass (pine wood), required to make 100% plant-based PET bottles. Anellotech is leveraging and adapting its process technology for Plas-TCatTM, which will convert mixed plastic waste feedstocks, including composite films and other difficult-to-recycle materials, at industrial scale into the same basic chemicals (aromatics and olefins) already used to make most virgin plastics, including PET.

In 2019, the Suntory Group established the “Suntory Group Plastic Policy” to promote sustainability globally and further its corporate philosophy, “To create harmony with people and nature,” as part of its promise to stakeholders, “Mizu To Ikiru”, or living with water. According to this Plastic Policy, Suntory Group will aim for 100% sustainable plastic bottles used globally by 2030, by transitioning to recycled materials or plant-based materials in all PET bottles, thus achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials.

The Anellotech backstory

Our most recent multi-slide guide to Anellotech is hereThermal Catalytic Biomass Conversion and Catalytic Pyrolysis: The Digest’s 2020 Multi-Slide Guide to Anellotech’s Plastics Chemical Recycling

Anellotech’s technology converts Lay’s potato chip bag into key chemical required for plastic bottles. More on that story here.

Trash to Cash – New Anellotech Technology Tackles Plastics Pollution by Recycling Plastic Waste Into Chemicals. More on that story here.

Anellotech’s Bio-TCat technology viability confirmed during pilot plant campaign – moving forward with commercialization. More on that story here.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“We believe this initiative by Anellotech and R Plus Japan, combining enabling Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology with the concerted efforts of committed supply chain players, illustrates the best model to aggregate and apply the required resources in amelioration of the problem of plastic waste”, says Anellotech CEO Dave Sudolsky. “Plas-TCat’s unique ability to directly produce basic chemicals (used today to make most virgin plastics) from mixed plastics waste, at large scale, represents an economically viable and impactful solution to the plastic waste problem. We are excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaboration with R Plus Japan in tackling this challenge.”

“The significance of chemical recycling is its ability to transform and convert plastic waste into its original chemical components, to eventually produce new plastics. Turning used plastic into secondary, raw materials enables the sustainable use of resources for various industries across the plastics supply chain,” said Tsunehiko Yokoi, Chief Executive Officer of R Plus Japan. “Through the development of this innovative technology, we hope to contribute to solving the global plastic waste issue, which has long been a challenge due to its difficulties in recycling. We’re very excited to work with our industry partners to move this important work forward.”

With the engagement of various industries throughout the value chain, from raw materials manufacturers, and packaging suppliers to beverages companies, the newly established R Plus Japan, together with Anellotech, will advance the development and commercialization of this eco-efficient plastic recycling technology by 2027.

Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot plant in Silsbee, Texas. Engineering work to design the first commercial plant is underway by Anellotech and its R&D, engineering and licensing partners IFPEN and Axens.

The Bio-TCat platform is now being leveraged for Plas-TCat, a development-stage process technology aiming to convert mixed waste plastics into commodity chemicals such as olefins and aromatics, the primary chemicals used to make plastic packaging and other products.

More at www.anellotech.com.



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