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Multicycle purifies polymers lost in mixed waste stream

The global automotive carbon fiber market is projected to reach EUR 31 billion by 2026.

The European R&D project ‘MultiCycle’ has delivered an industrial recycling pilot plant for thermoplastic-based multi-materials allowing selective recovery of pure single plastic recyclates and fibres from mixed wastes.

A consortium of recycling stakeholders has been working on the EU’s Horizon 2020 project for over three and a half years. Their progress was presented during a recent live gathering in Ghent, Belgium.

MultiCycle has integrated the patented CreaSolv process, which purifies polymers by physical means via selective dissolution, with advanced digitalisation methods for feedstock identification, process monitoring and control.

MultiCycle recyclates can be used in high-end applications, such as flexible multi-layer packaging as well as fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites in the automotive sector. For example, promising results were witnessed in a blown film process of polyethylene recyclates sourced from co-mingled, printed flexibles from household municipal waste – without special pre-sorting.  

Also, researchers report ‘successful substitution’ of polypropylene and polyamide recyclate-based formulations into sheet laminate and hybrid composite injection molding processes for a reinforced car battery carrier.

The innovation, which has spawned five case studies, ‘shows how international collaboration demonstrates the Circular Economy for plastics in action’.

Companies and organisations backing the project include the Fraunhofer Institute, Gen 2 Carbon, Amcor, ISWA and recycling tech provider Löwi.

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