Agilyx, Ineos to join forces in polystyrene pyrolysis project

Agilyx Corp., which is currently constructing a facility to chemically recycle polystyrene, has struck another deal for its eventual output.

The Tigard, Ore.-based company has a joint development agreement with styrenics supplier Ineos Styrolution to take production from its pyrolysis facility.

This deal follows an earlier announcement that Agilyx also has an agreement to supply Americas Styrenics with output from the facility.

Both companies will use what Agilyx is calling styrene oil created by the recycling plant. That styrene can then be blended with production from Ineos and Americas Styrenics and eventually made into PS products.

Part of the recently announced work with Ineos Styrolution will ensure Agilyx creates a final product that meets that company's specifications, Agilyx spokeswoman Kate Stocklin explained.

"We are working with them to make sure what we are producing is going to work within their process," she said.

Agilyx is in the midst of retrofitting its Tigard facility to concentrate on PS recycling through pyrolysis, a technique that uses heat in the absence of oxygen to change the chemical composition of a material. The location previously used pyrolysis to handle mixed plastics, but found that wider stream of materials was not economically viable to handle at this point.

Narrowing its focus, the company also is in the midst of collecting large amounts of used PS as it prepares to begin production.

"We've been building relationships with manufacturers and businesses who have a steady supply of this," Stocklin said, including the agricultural industry.

"There's a tremendous amount of polystyrene that's generated in seedling flats and [other] flats. A lot of that has been stockpiled," she said.

The general public also "has seriously stepped up because they are very keen to be a part of a recycling effort for polystyrene," Stocklin said.

Agilyx's approach will recycle both PS and expanded PS. Because of the amount of space that EPS uses, Agilyx has been densifying the material in preparation for its eventual reprocessing.

"There's no dearth of this stuff. There is tremendous tonnage and part of it is simply making the connections and letting people know that this is available," Stocklin said.

Work also includes helping businesses figure out the logistics of how they can handle their used PS and return it for recycling rather than simply throwing the material away.

News of the collaboration comes at a time when Ineos Styrolution also is receiving grant funding from the German Federal Ministry for research into PS recycling.

"The project entails a technical feasibility study and the development of a holistic recycling concept in collaboration with waste management companies," Ineos Styrolution said on its website. "The project also includes a commercial and an ecological evaluation of the recycling process."

Ineos Styrolution said the company strives for a chemical recycling process where PS is recycled into styrenic polymers. This work is expected to last three years.

Ineos Styrolution has 16 production sites in nine countries.

» Publication Date: 04/10/2017

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