Eindhoven-based company Ioniqa is building its first PET plastic up-cycling plant on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen. The plant is expected to be operational in the summer of 2019 and PET plastic waste will be recycled into pure PET raw material, from which new products for food packaging can be made.

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In April, Ioniqa announced that it was already working with Unilever and PET producer Indorama. According to Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO of Ioniqa, this collaboration has proved to be very important: “Since 2011 we have been working in our lab in Eindhoven on the technology to be able to up-cycle all colours of PET plastic waste and textiles on an infinite basis. Over the past two years, we have carried out many tests at our demonstration plant at Plant One in Rotterdam-Botlek, including for Unilever and Indorama, which has validated our raw material for food packaging. That was very important, because such validation means a lot for the market to embrace a circular solution.”

The plant in Geleen will be able to produce 10,000 tonnes of PET raw material and Hooghoudt believes that the supply of plastic waste and the purchase of raw materials is already assured. Bert Kip, CEO of Brightlands Chemelot Campus, is enthusiastic about the construction of the factory: “Recycling is a crucial element in Brightlands Chemelot Campus’ ambition to stimulate and accelerate innovations in sustainability in the chemical and materials world. Together with Chemelot Industrial Park, we are building a recycling ecosystem. Various organisations at both Chemelot Industrial Park and Brightlands Chemelot Campus are already active in this field. We are, therefore, extremely proud that Ioniqa has chosen Brightlands Chemelot Campus as the site for the pilot plant for polyester recycling. This step by Ioniqa fits perfectly into our strategy.”

Hooghoudt hopes that this first factory will be followed by many more. Most likely, they will not be built by Ioniqa itself. “That’s something for the big global players,” says Ioniqa’s CEO. “We focus on licensing our technology, worldwide. This will also ensure that the technology is implemented more quickly. In the future, Ioniqa will continue to focus on further technology development in order to be able to recycle other types of plastics as well, and in the future also bio-plastics”.

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