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PuriCycle tackles ‘most challenging’ pyrolysis waste

Chemical company BASF has launched PuriCycle, a new line of advanced high-performance products meant to purify highly complex pyrolysis feeds from waste plastic.

The PuriCycle portfolio includes catalysts and adsorbents developed to remove or convert a wide range of impurities in pyrolysis oils. ‘This allows downstream processing of circular plastics streams,’ BASF explains. The innovation was presented at a recent tradeshow organised by Plastics Recyclers Europe held in Amsterdam. 

PuriCycle purifies pyrolysis oils, a secondary raw material obtained from the chemical recycling of plastic waste, that are fed into the production process for new plastics at the beginning of the value chain. ‘Purification of pyrolysis oils obtained from waste plastics is among the most demanding technical tasks in chemical plastics recycling,’ says BASF process catalyst specialist Detlef Ruff.

He points out that impurities, such as compounds of halogens, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur, complicate downstream use and limit the further processing of such streams in the production of new materials.

‘With our PuriCycle portfolio, we are in a very strong position to make a difference in chemical plastics recycling and to enable plastics circularity,’ Ruff states. ‘The ability of the PuriCycle products to purify the most challenging pyrolysis oil streams is a major contribution to help closing the plastics loop, minimising waste and ultimately opening up new feedstocks for the chemical industry.’

This innovation follows an additive solution, IrgaCycle, which BASF unveiled in 2021. It has been praised for improving the mechanical performance of recycled polymers. The company hopes this will convince producers to use more recycled content in their products.

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