Montreal’s Pyrowave partners with Michelin to recycle plastic waste
The collaboration involves Pyrowave producing recycled styrene for use in the making of synthetic rubber for tires.
Montreal-based waste recycling technology supplier Pyrowave and French tire maker Michelin Group are partnering to industrialize a new technology that uses electricity – the energy form currently providing the highest decarbonation potential – to regenerate recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging, insulation panels, and/or household appliances.
The recycled styrene can then be used in the production of polystyrene and synthetic rubber for tires and other consumer products.
Unlike current thermal processes, Pyrowave said in a Nov. 18 statement, this new approach enables the recycling of plastic waste into high-quality raw materials by electrifying the chemical process by low-carbon footprint microwaves that break down internal links in the feedstock to return the feedstock to their component molecules – or monomers – to recreate a resin identical to the virgin resin used.
“[The process] provides higher yields, while being more accurate than conventional technologies, to replace virgin raw materials from oil and gas,” Pyrowave said. “The joint development agreement between Pyrowave and Michelin will result in the implementation of new value chains in the circular plastics economy. Redesigning new packaging or manufacturing new products from recycled plastics in the automotive, electronics or tire sectors will become possible.”
The two companies intend to fast-track the industrialization of the Pyrowave technology fuelled by a more than 20 million euros – CAN$31 million – investment for roll-out in international markets. Michelin’s technical teams will work with their Pyrowave’s counterparts to develop an industrial demonstrator at a Michelin facility outside Paris, funded and operated by the tire maker, by 2023.
“The purpose is to manufacture tires made of increasingly sustainable materials and to make these technologies available to innovative recycling channels,” said Sonia Artinian-Fredou, Michelin’s executive vice-president, services and solutions, high tech materials.