PureCycle Technologies LLC announced in October that it had raised $250 million to build its first recycling plant in Ironton, OH. Koch Modular Process Systems in Paramus, NJ, was awarded the design and construction of Phase II of PureCycle’s plant, where it will recycle polypropylene (PP). The plant is designed to produce over 105 million pounds of ultra-pure recycled PP (UPRP) per year. PureCycle’s recycling process removes color, odor, and other contaminants from recycled feedstock, reportedly resulting in virgin-like PP.
With financing for the first plant completed, PureCycle is able to move forward on its long-term growth strategy, which includes accelerated plant builds and capacity, as well as expansion in the United States to meet demand for a sustainable solution to recycled polypropylene around the world, said PureCycle.
In September 2019, PureCycle announced a “groundbreaking” development in phase one of its project: The Feedstock Evaluation Unit (FEU) had purified waste carpet, transforming discarded carpet into clear, odorless, ultra-pure recycled polypropylene. The FEU was the first of two phases, with Phase II originally planned to come online in the summer of 2021.
The development of the technology began when P&G was looking for more ways to incorporate additional recycled content into its applications, specifically targeting PP. With limited amounts of recycled PP available in the market, P&G set out to develop its own process to purify waste PP. “This technology, which can remove virtually all contaminants and colors from used plastic, has the capacity to revolutionize the plastics recycling industry by enabling P&G and companies around the world to tap into sources of recycled plastics that deliver nearly identical performance and properties as virgin materials in a broad range of applications,” said Kathy Fish, P&G’s Chief Research, Development, and Innovation Officer, in the announcement last year.
Koch Modular has been working with PureCycle for more than three years on the development of this technology, and designed and constructed the Phase I FEU, which last year delivered successful production of UPRP at scale. “We are excited to be part of this project, a truly disruptive technology that directly addresses the global plastics issue,” said George Schlowsky, President, Koch Modular.
“Making polypropylene a valued, recyclable material is particularly relevant during the current health crisis, when it is ever more critical to avoid waste polypropylene washing up on our shores,” said Mike Otworth, PureCycle CEO. “Koch Modular’s guidance, professionalism, and end-to-end expertise in innovative technology scale-ups like this one, plus their modular construction approach, was a critical success factor for our project.”
Construction of the facility is underway, according to Koch Modular, with Phase II now expected to come online in 2022.