Dyneon has put on stream the world’s first fluoropolymer Up-Cycling facility in Burgkirchen/Germany. Together with its cooperating partners, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the University of Bayreuth and the institute Invertec the company approaches the development goal of closed-loop manufacturing .
Burgkirchen/Germany – The new pilot plant of the 3M subsidiary Dyneon integrates seamlessly onsite into the existing fluoropolymer production lines at Burgkirchen/Germany and employs pyrolysis to decompose perfluorinated polymers, recovering gaseous monomers, which are cleaned prior to feeding them back into the manufacture of new materials.
“The Up-Cycling facility and process will abruptly change the way all of us think and do things. Now, what was once regarded as a useless waste stream or at best a by-product with little utility is a valuable material,” states Dr. Klaus Hintzer, idea owner and Corporate Scientist at 3M and adds “the challenges to build this pilot facility were huge, but the benefits are even greater”. A successful implementation of the process technology is an important step in closing the fluoropolymer loop which is vital to progress and to the environment. And when considering the worlds rapidly increasing appetite for products made using fluorspar and the naturally finite availability of this mineral, especially in Europe, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Waiting to be processed on the facility’s premises right now are End-of-Life fluoropolymer materials from Dyneon and its customers. Initially, the plant will process fully fluorinated polymers such as PTFE, PFA and FEP, but the second phase will target polymer compounds containing fillers. The plant is designed to up-cycle up to 500 tons of fluoropolymer waste annually.
Enormous savings and benefits with less resources
Working backwards to the initial materials, there is the recovered monomer, a valuable resource that fluoropolymer manufacturers no longer have to procure, while less mining, heavy transport and use of hazardous chemicals is good news for the environment. In addition, there are significant savings on energy, which benefits manufacturers and the environment alike. Also not to be overlooked are reduction of waste and emissions e.g. the reduction of CO2 emissions reducing carbon footprint. In recognition of this, the project was funded with a one million Euro grant from the German Bundesministerium für Umwelt.
“We are exceedingly grateful to the University of Bayreuth and the institute InVerTec for contributing the exceptional ideas, skills, teamwork and execution and for the gracious and farsighted funding of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. Without their support, this momentous project would never have been possible nor would it have come to fruition,” stated Burkhard Anders, managing director of Dyneon.