Dr. Thiele: 9th China International Recycled Polyester Conference - Highlights

The 9th China International Recycled Polyester Conference in September 2013 in Shanghai demonstrated that this meeting is an important constant within the polyester industry meanwhile which is also expressed by over 300 participants and visitors from China and abroad. The external and internal polyester recycling is showing robust growth round the globe besides all locally occurring ups and downs. The concept of combining the conference with a specialized exhibition around all issues of PET-recycling is well accepted by the participants and provides an ideal completion of the business networking.

The chemical polyester recycling of textile waste and of collected PET-bottles was reported by the JV Teijin/Jiaren, Li Ming Sports Goods and Polygenta Technologies Ltd. The approach of Teijin/Li Ming is using the Teijin approved path of methanolysis in a new plant in China where the sorted textile waste is decomposed by applying pressurized methanol to produce pure DMT. This DMT is equivalent to DMT based on pare-xylene and useful for the production of all kind of polyester intermediates.

A completely other approach was reported by Polygenta Nashik (India). Here the raw material is all kind of PET-bottle-waste which is mechanically pre-cleaned, subsequently glycolysed and the resulting intermediate is re-polymerized using an existing continuous polyester line. The PET-melt which contains up to 100% recycling material is processed to filaments by direct-spinning. Another approach of Polygenta is to produce pure BHT which is pelletized and useful as feedstock of any kind of polyester plant.

New technical developments in the field of PET bottle recycling have been reported by companies from Europe. Gneuss as system provider demonstrated its recycling technology with the main topics of high efficient vacuum treatment during melt preparation using its new MRS combined with continuous removal of impurities by automatic filtration and supported by integrated process analysis tools. Erema introduced its B-2-B process based on the Vacurema system where dehumidification and decontamination of the bottle flakes takes place within a separate vacuum unit prior extrusion to maintain the product Intrinsic Viscosity and to remove volatile impurities. S+S as expert in all kind of material sorting introduced a broad variety of sorting machines which allow selecting tailor made solutions for each waste sorting problem starting at bottle input and ending up with final flake sorting. Sorema introduced to the Chines market the first time its modular designed PET bottle flake production lines for food grade flakes providing high process flexibility and customized process design.

PetStar Avangard provided a progress report about the difficult situation of PET bottle collection and recycling in Mexico. Compared to the first report in 2011 PetStar is running the larges B-2-B facility worldwide with a capacity of 50 kt/a meanwhile. Awesome is the social engagement of PetStar for its collectors and their children.

The economic situation of the PET-recycling industry of China was discussed and deeply explained by CCFEI, Tecnon Orbichem and Li Shidong, Secretary General Recycled Fiber Commission of CCFA.

The conference book is possible to order from CCFEI (contact: Justin Shen, justin@cnfiber.com or Dr. Ulrich Thiele, drthiele@polyester-technology.com).

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